What is Comprehension?
Comprehension is an active process that incorporates the understanding of spoken and written language.
It involves not just the meanings of words in isolation but the relationships among words within sentences and paragraphs. In Lexia® Core5® Reading, comprehension activities develop the ability to understand information at a concrete level as well as an abstract level through the application of higher-order thinking skills. Activities develop comprehension skills through interaction with increasingly complex texts that include a variety of genres and text types.
What is the role of Comprehension in learning to read?
Reading comprehension is an active process that requires an intentional and thoughtful interaction between the reader and the text. Skilled readers use their prior knowledge and experience, in combination with their understanding of vocabulary and knowledge of language structure, to gain meaning. As they read, skilled readers also think critically and check their understanding, constantly monitoring their comprehension. This analytical approach to reading is often referred to as close or deep reading. Comprehension instruction must support the development of both listening comprehension as well as reading comprehension because underlying language skills are the foundation for reading comprehension.
What is the approach to developing Comprehension in Lexia Core5 Reading?
The goal of the comprehension strand of Lexia Core5 Reading is to develop students’ active reading skills, promote their language and knowledge development, and support their critical engagement with texts. Early comprehension activities aim to build a student’s language comprehension skills and print awareness through listening activities and modeled readings. Students listen to stories as they think about key features, including the title and author, the sequence of events, and the main idea and key details. This teaches developing readers about the structure of text and provides a framework for later reading comprehension. In later levels, they also learn to use context clues by analyzing pictures as they begin to develop imaging skills.
Once word-reading skills emerge, students are asked to associate decodable words and phrases with pictures, reinforcing comprehension at the word level. Students then engage more deeply with the structure of language as they sequence sentences within a story and then words within a sentence. Students are later required to think about the components of a sentence by attending to question words that identify key parts of a sentence (e.g., Who is the sentence about?). These activities encourage an active engagement with language while fostering the application of critical thinking skills. In later levels, the emphasis on understanding language structure is maintained with added complexity. Students learn how words function in sentences and how sentences can be built up to add precision and detail.
As students move through the program, they are required to apply skills to independently read and comprehend multiparagraph texts that represent a wide variety of genres and present a range of thought-provoking topics. Texts are organized around content-area themes and preceded by introductions designed to build disciplinary knowledge, pique interest, and set a purpose for reading. These texts are presented in varied formats, offering different modes of interaction (e.g., hyperlinked diagrams, shared-reading slideshows, and passages organized using genre-specific text features). Each reading is followed by questions and tasks designed to spur deep comprehension and develop higher-order thinking skills. For example, students are expected to interpret an author’s craft, draw on evidence to support conclusions, connect information across texts, and apply growing conceptual knowledge in varied reading contexts. Students must consistently monitor the meaning of what they are reading, as well as revisit and refer back to texts, in order to complete the activities.