The Science of Reading Explained: Comprehension

Oct 24, 2023
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Welcome to our blog and video series, The Science of Reading Explained, where we unpack the five pillars of this important foundational literacy research model. In this post, we will unpack the pillar of comprehension to understand how we make meaning and connections as we read to gain deep comprehension from text, and what exactly effective instruction of this pillar looks like.

What is Comprehension?

Comprehension refers to the ability to understand and make meaning from what we read. This goes beyond decoding words to understanding the structure and meaning of sentences and paragraphs, making connections between texts and one's own knowledge and experiences, and being able to think critically and analyze what is being read. Reading comprehension is the bedrock on which a student’s academic success is built both in secondary and higher education.

To get there, effective comprehension instruction must include explicit teaching of strategies such as predicting, summarizing, and questioning, as well as opportunities for students to engage in meaningful discussions and activities that promote deeper understanding of texts.

According to the National Reading Panel, comprehension can be improved by teaching background knowledge, text vocabulary, comprehension strategies, and by engaging children to read. Exact Path, Edmentum’s K–12 diagnostic-driven, direct-instruction program provides systematic support for comprehension instruction by incorporating these research-based strategies.

Engaging Students

We know that student engagement is a crucial factor in promoting successful learning outcomes. Recognizing the significance of engagement in students' ability to comprehend and retain information, Exact Path has been thoughtfully designed with captivating characters and compelling content to keep students' attention and ignite their passion for learning within a dynamic and stimulating learning environment.

In the K-2 grade levels, Exact Path teaches comprehension strategies through engaging lessons. For example, in the lesson, "Character Search" from the "Characters" skill group, Yolanda and Han model how to find characters in a text.

In the 3-5 grade levels, Exact Path provides students with specific questions and tips to use when looking for the main idea and key details of the text. In the lesson, "What A Great Idea!" from the "Main Idea and Key Details" skill group, Nico and Brin model going back to the text for the answer.

These strategies lead to metacognition and can help students improve their comprehension skills. Consider playing an engaging game like What’s the Story with That? after students read a text to further deepen understanding and promote discussion.

Research-Based Instruction

Exact Path is thoughtfully designed with the latest research on effective reading instruction in mind. This connection to research emphasizes evidence-based practices. By integrating research findings into the program design, Exact Path guarantees that teachers and students alike benefit from high-quality instruction that is firmly rooted in scientific principles. Explore our white paper, Exact Path: Designed with the Science of Reading for a deeper read.

Why Exact Path?

Exact Path provides a systematic path through comprehension instruction with high-quality, engaging, and research-based instruction designed to support students' development of comprehension skills. With Exact Path, educators have the tools to implement evidence-based practices and promote comprehension development in alignment with the science of reading. Learn more about comprehension, and see how Exact Path supports this critical pillar of reading in this accompanying video.

Ready to learn more about the Science of Reading? Check out the rest of the series, The Science of Reading Explained, Phonics, Phonological Awareness, Fluency, and Vocabulary.

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