What to Teach with Comprehension

Comprehension draws from several other reading components: phonics, vocabulary, and oral language. If you are focusing on helping students improve their comprehension skills, you will also need to provide instructional activities in phonics, vocabulary, and oral language at the same time. The activities for those components should apply to the text you want students to comprehend.

Phonics: Phonics leads to understanding the words in text, which means it leads to understanding the content of a text. This is part of the first step towards comprehension.

Vocabulary: Students have to know what the words mean, not just the dictionary definitions but how they are being used by the author or characters. By studying the vocabulary, students will have a better understanding of the content, which they will need to form an interpretation of the text. Here, the study of vocabulary overlaps with the study of oral language.

Oral Language: How we interpret a text depends, in great part, on whether we understand what the author or characters mean by the words they use. We interpret the way language is used to form an interpretation of the text. Any study of how language is being used will help students form an impression or interpretation.