Reading without comprehension is about as much fun as looking at a page of jumbled letters. What’s the point? The reason we read is to gain knowledge, to enrich our lives, and to be entertained. None of these things can happen without comprehension.

As you know, comprehension can be quite difficult to master. In order to comprehend, a reader must be able to read with some proficiency and then analyze, internalize, and apply the text. These skills elude many students. A student may have the ability to decode words but is not yet able to connect those words to derive meaning from text.

The good news is that comprehension can be taught. You may not remember learning to comprehend. You may not even remember a time when you read without comprehension. But somewhere along the way, you learned strategies that enabled you to read with understanding. Teachers can help students develop comprehension skills by providing explicit instruction in these strategies and then offering modeling, practice, and feedback.

So what are the comprehension strategies students should learn? And what are the best practices for providing instruction on these strategies? We’ve described the process in detail here on our website. We explain general strategies for comprehension, strategies for comprehending narrative text, and strategies for comprehending expository text. We even include a couple of free printable forms to use with your students.

Several Read Naturally intervention programs include comprehension strategies as part of the instruction. For example, prediction, retelling, and quiz questions—all research-proven methods for teaching comprehension—are key components of the Read Naturally Strategy. A chart at the bottom of the Comprehension page on our website lists which strategies are used in which programs.

We urge you to check out this information and think about how you will teach these comprehension strategies in the school year ahead. Comprehension is one of the five essential components of reading—and none of the other components matter without it. Your students’ academic future hinges on their ability to understand what they read, and you have the power to teach it!

The Read Naturally team is here to support you in any way we can, and we would love to partner with you this coming school year. Click here to get in touch.