Deepening and Extending Reading Comprehension – A Balanced Approach

Too frequently in the past, students spent far too much time completing comprehension activities than they spent on reading. More recently, the reverse is sometimes the case with ample time for reading but little or no time for guided reading comprehension. We should use an appropriate balance of the two.

Students need opportunities to deepen and expand their understanding in involving ways. However, sometimes students spend more time on their responses to a text than on the act of reading. Nevertheless, through carefully designed response activities, we can lead them into different and divergent levels of thinking, feeling, and learning, bringing more meaning to their reading experience. What to look for in responses to reading are instances where students:

  • challenge previous notions they held about issues discussed in the text;
  • gain new learning through interacting with others who have shared the same text;
  • discover new ways of describing a character or an event in the text;
  • check the accuracy of their predictions before and as they read;
  • consider their own questions about the text that were answered, and others that remain unanswered;
  • review the main themes or concepts of the text;
  • think about what they have gained from reading and link it to their existing knowledge;
  • question, compare, evaluate, and draw conclusions from their reading of the text;
  • reflect on the experience of reading the text and incorporate it into their lives;
  • represent their interpretations in a different mode, such as poetry or graphic novel.

We should work towards an appropriate balance of the various reading response formats available to us as well. Open ended short answer response questions should be encouraged and at times use longer response formats. Multiple choice formats can also be appropriate when the questioning is engaging. It is all about a balanced approach.

Learn more about using the balanced approach to deepen and extend reading on a grade-specific level by clicking on the links below.

For Ontario Teachers

Ontario Reading 2

Ontario Reading 3

Ontario Reading 4

Ontario Reading 5

Ontario Reading 6

For Canadian Teachers

Canadian Reading B

Canadian Reading D

Canadian Reading E

Canadian Reading F

August 25, 2015 by Patrick Lashmar
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