Reading comprehension means understanding what we read. It is the most important academic skill we use in everyday life. This includes jobs, families, social life, hobbies—just about everything we do. The more we understand about the world, the more power we have to shape our lives and help other people. And the better we can read, the more we can understand about the world.
There are two main things that make it possible for us to understand what we read. They are like sets of tools. If we use them well, we’ll most likely be very good at understanding what we read. If we don’t use them well, we may struggle to understand what we read.
The first set of tools enables us to understand the components of written language. These components include (1) vocabulary, (2) syntax, (3) textual features and structure, and (4) coherence and cohesion. This unit discusses this first set of tools. The second set of tools incorporates strategies for reading. These tools enable us to read with purpose. This second set of tools is discussed in the next unit.