Comprehension is the Key: Unlocking Deep Comprehension in the Primary Classroom
Teaching reading comprehension is vitally important to students understanding that reading is a meaning making process. Unfortunately, a review of many teachers' reading comprehension instruction shows that no instruction actually occurs. Instead, a continual assessment of student reading comprehension is always evident. Durkin's seminal study in 1978-1979 first brought this concern to light. In the past three decades, some has changed in the instruction of comprehension, but not enough. Although multiple theorists, academics, and educational researchers have published a vast array of research supporting the use of strategy instruction, not all teachers or schools have embraced the concept. In an attempt to further expand the implementation of effective comprehension strategy instruction, quality teacher inservices must be provided with direct application to teacher instruction. This professional development must provide teachers with information on why comprehension strategy instruction is important, on the learning environments that best promote comprehension strategy instruction, on how learners best learn reading comprehension, on how teachers best teach reading comprehension, and on how to best assess students' use of reading comprehension strategies. Teachers who teach for meaning using explicit reading comprehension instruction are teaching a concept which the National Reading Panel found to be "highly effective," (Report of the National Reading Panel, 2000). Additionally the National Reading Panel determined that reading comprehension is the "essence of reading," (Report of the National Reading Panel, 2000). If reading comprehension is the essence of reading and instruction in reading comprehension has proven to be highly effective then it must become a standard part of every reading teacher's instruction.