Teaching Comprehension Strategies

Reading comprehension lesson plans can help students develop the right strategies.

By Lesley Roberts


Teaching Reading Comprehension

As students read, they should use strategies to break down the text into manageable, understandable chunks. They should be completing tasks before, during, and after reading. This process allows students to build their understanding, and knowledge. Before students begin reading a text, they should take time to preview it. They should skim the words, and check their understanding before moving on. Skimming the text involves reading the first two sentences at the beginning, middle, and end of each paragraph on each page of text. This strategy can also be modified to the beginning, and ending sentences of each page if the passage is short.  They should jot down their predictions of the story plot, as well. Students can also clarify their purpose for reading. This simple strategy consists of students asking themselves why the author wrote the story: to entertain them as a reader, to inform them of something, or to persuade the reader to do something.

While students are reading, they should be constantly checking their understanding of the passage. This will involve asking themselves questions, such as “who?” and “did what?” These two questions will lead students to build an understanding of the main characters (who) and the important action (did what) of the story. Students should also jot down this information, in order to review their understanding of the story when they are done. While reading, students should also monitor their reading fluency. They should be reading with enough speed, but should still be able to focus on the plot of the passage.

After they read a text, students should review it for unfamiliar words, and include them in any notes they may have made while reading. Helping students to master these strategies will give them control over what they read, as well as encourage them to process other content in the same manner.

Reading Comprehension Lesson Plans:


Questioning Through Literacy: This lesson plan was written to demonstrate the use of questioing strategies to build understanding of story elements and vocabulary. Written for use with first, third and fourth grade students.

Pre-reading Worksheet: This lesson plan incorporates the use of a worksheet in building reading comprehension through making predictions, setting purposes for reading, and identifying information that is already known about a topic. Written for use with first through third grade students. 

So What's Your Purpose?: This lesson teaches students how to identify the purposes for reading, and how to gather information. Targets students in fourth through fifth grades.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Pre- and Post-Reading Activity: This lesson use pre and post reading activities to assist in building comprehension with higher level texts. For use with third through eighth grade.