Reading Comprehension Strategies

Strategies for the Primary Grades

The Relationship between Fluency and Comprehension

Some students who are highly fluent readers are not proficient at comprehending. This creates the connection that reading fluency does not always contribute to reading comprehension. Some schools focus on oral reading characteristics like accuracy and rate without placing any emphasis on comprehension. Various researchers have conflicting views on whether or not fluency and comprehension are related. A study found that many students are identified as strong readers based merely on characteristics of fluency, without the acknowledgement of thoughtful comprehension. A challenge to educators is set forth to examine what kind of reading comprehension strategies are being utilized and taught in the classroom.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Skilled readers are engaged with a text, while poor readers tend to be more passive when reading. Passive readers are unable to describe or understand what the text is trying to communicate to them. This is why a lot of strategies for successful reading comprehension instruction involves students going from a passive process to active participation while reading. Active participation includes asking questions about the text, questioning, and making connections to prior knowledge. Teachers must scaffold and support students as they navigate text. It it vital that teachers utilize direct and explicit instructional strategies like text structure, self-questioning, peer mediated instruction, and vocabulary instruction in order to support struggling readers as they make sense of text.
Asking and Answering Questions for Reading Comprehension
Vocabulary Strategies That Boost Students' Reading Comprehension, Grades 2-6
Introduction to Reading Skills: Making Inferences

Reciprocal Teaching Strategies

Reciprocal teaching is an excellent strategy for teachers to utilize, providing students with explicit comprehension strategy instruction that is not only research based, but is also age appropriate for primary grades. It teaches students how to coordinate and apply strategies like questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting as strategies for the purpose of comprehension.

A comprehension strategy is a conscious, deliberate, and flexible plan that students can use when reading to break down comprehension.

Clarifying: Students need to be taught to pause and clarify unknown words while they read

Questioning: A questioning mind needs to be encouraged during and after reading to check for understanding and comprehension.

Summarizing: Students need to be taught how to summarize what they read to provide a deeper level of understanding.

Predicting: Students need to be taught how to make predictions before reading and then to check their predictions while they read.

Mikeala Elliott

I am a senior Elementary Education and Speech and Hearing Science major with a concentration in reading at East Carolina University.

I hope you learned a few new strategies to help students with reading comprehension in the primary grades.