Reading Comprehension Strategies
Because reading comprehension is a skill that can be learned, there are several teaching strategies that allow for helping individuals master this skill. There is, however, some division between those who seek to focus on the understanding of the text, and those who prefer to begin with phonics, and the decoding of words.
Vocabulary is vital to reading comprehension and a major part of reading comprehension strategies. Knowing words is large part of understanding what one is reading, and students with a larger vocabulary will have an easier time comprehending. Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown and Linda Kucan developed the three-tier theory of vocabulary. Tier one consists of very basic words, such as fish or shoe. The second tier are general academic words, such as frequent. Tier three involves content-specific words such as photosynthesis. Beck and her coworkers stress the teaching of Tier Two words in order to increase a student’s general vocabulary, leaving Tier Three words for specific content instruction.
Reciprocal teaching is another strategy for improving reading comprehension. Summarizing after every paragraph has proven to be an effective technique in this strategy for building comprehension. Instructional conversations have also proven effective, creating higher-order thinking through discussion of text and meaning.