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Reading Comprehension Strategies and the Instructional Coach

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

A student's ability to read and understand complex texts is a goal that schools constantly seek to improve. Reading comprehension doesn't begin when students enter a classroom. It starts when parents or caregivers read to children and show them pictures. As the child listens, they begin to develop the foundation of reading comprehension by making connections to sounds, images, and the concepts they represent. As children progress through school, reading comprehension becomes more complex and may require the use of strategies to help extract meaning from the text.

Teachers use various strategies to help students get meaning from what they read. They tap into prior knowledge to help making connections, ask students to use images to make predictions, use questioning strategies and encourage students to draw inferences as they read to promote basic understanding. Teachers model how to effective implement strategies for reading comprehension based on the genre and text type. Students can use visualization when reading texts without illustrations and pictures. Graphic organizers such as story maps and thinking map are helpful tools that promote reading comprehension along with strategies such as summarizing and retelling. Annotating the text for main ideas and supporting details, determining text structure, and identifying text features also help students get a deeper understanding of texts on their reading comprehension journey.

Instructional coaches are a valuable resource to educators in all content areas as they strive to implement practices that promote reading comprehension. Because reading happens in every classroom, instructional coaches can model practices that are transferable to any content or specialty area and help teachers understand how to apply the strategy with students. Music classes such as band, chorus, and orchestra require students to read notes and symbols on a page and produce sound at a certain tempo and volume. In mathematics, students must use numbers, symbols, and short passage to correctly solve problems. In science, students must read measurements and correctly add various substances together when completing experiments during a lab. The instructional coach can show teachers how to use graphic organizers, illustrations, text features and questioning in each of these areas to promote reading comprehension for students. Because coaches work with students, teachers, leaders, and other coaches using best practices to promote comprehension during teaching, professional learning, and coaching conversations, they can serve as a guide for all in effective reading comprehension practices.

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