Practice Guide iconPractice Guide
Released: September 2010
PDF (5.1 MB)
Students who read with understanding at an early age gain access to a broader range of texts, knowledge, and educational opportunities, making early reading comprehension instruction particularly critical. This guide recommends five specific steps that teachers, reading coaches, and principals can take to successfully improve reading comprehension for young readers.

Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies.

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Teach students to identify and use the text’s organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content.

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Guide students through focused, high-quality discussion on the meaning of text.

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Select texts purposefully to support comprehension development.

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Establish an engaging and motivating context in which to teach reading comprehension.

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  • Administrators
  • Policymakers
  • Researchers
  • School Specialist
  • Teacher

This practice guide was prepared for the WWC by Mathematica under contract ED-07-CO-0062.

The following research staff contributed to the guide: Virginia Knechtel, Emily Sama-Miller, Samina Sattar, and Sarah Wissel.

These videos were prepared by WestEd under the Doing What Works Contract (ED-PEP-11-C-0068).
All videos are based on recommendations from the WWC practice guides and are designed to complement the guides.

  • Timothy Shanahan (Chair)
    University of Chicago

    Play an interview of Panel Chair, Timothy Shanahan: Reading for Meaning (5:34 minutes)
  • Kim Callison
    Anne Arundel County Public Schools
  • Christine Carriere
    Chicago Public Schools
  • Nell K. Duke
    Michigan State University
  • P. David Pearson
    University of California-Berkeley
  • Christopher Schatschneider
    The Florida State University and Florida Center for Reading Research
  • Joseph Torgesen
    The Florida State University and Florida Center for Reading Research

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