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Mastering Reading Comprehension Strategies: Getting Ready For Lifelong Learning

reading comprehension strategies

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In this day and age, the ability to read with comprehension stands as a sign of success. As 5th-grade students continue on their journey through upper elementary language arts, they often encounter and have to deal with more sophisticated texts and concepts. Creating strong reading comprehension skills is essential to their academic growth. I’ve always wanted to ensure my students had the tools they needed to be successful and navigate texts in a way that made sense and helped make reading more enjoyable. But in upper elementary classrooms, the fun worksheets and creative picture books, and reading fluency passages sometimes aren’t enough. Reviewing reading comprehension strategies using engaging short texts that students read independently, in small groups, with partners, or as a whole class has given students the opportunity to learn in an easy and stress-free way.

The Foundation: Prior Knowledge

Every reader brings a unique set of experiences and knowledge to the reading process. This foundation, known as background knowledge, is a huge asset for students. If you feel as though your students will not have background knowledge on a topic. DO NOT move on. Build that background knowledge with some videos, picture books, news articles, photographs, etc. Without background knowledge, students will not be able to understand the reading to the point where they can answer questions correctly. After they have the background knowledge, Encourage them to draw connections between the text and their own life experiences or the readings/videos/ etc. It creates a bridge that helps them understand new information more effectively. 

Most Common Reading Comprehension Strategies

These are some of the most common reading comprehension strategies you’ll come across when teaching upper elementary. All are created equal, although you’ll probably have an easier time teaching some!

Reading Comprehension Strategies: Identifying the Main Idea

When it comes to 5th-grade reading materials, the concept of the main idea shines as a guiding star. It is also sometimes the most difficult for students, no matter the age. The main idea is the central thread that weaves through a text, connecting various elements to create the whole text. Teaching 5th graders how to identify the main idea equips them with a powerful tool. Engaging them in discussions about the core message and its supporting details hones their ability to decipher and articulate the essence of what they read.

Reading Comprehension Strategies: Expository Text

Expository texts or informational texts are often some of the hardest texts for students. I’m not sure if it is the lack of background knowledge, story elements, or just disinterest, but students have notoriously struggled when it comes to reading non-fiction texts. Nonfiction passages are often full of information, making it crucial to ensure students have the ability to use specialized comprehension strategies. By introducing them to various text structures, such as cause and effect, problem and solution, and compare and contrast, teachers provide students with a roadmap to navigate complex concepts. This strategy enables them to extract relevant information efficiently and understand intricate ideas with clarity.

cause and effect

Reading Comprehension Strategies: Questioning For Deeper Understanding

Encouraging students to ask questions before, during, and after reading not only helps with their critical thinking but also helps to active engagement with the text. By asking questions, students predict outcomes, seek clarifications, and reflect on the material. This practice not only enhances vocabulary but also establishes a personal connection with the content, transforming them from passive readers to active participants in the learning process.


Reading Comprehension Strategies: The Power of Visualization

Harnessing students’ imagination through visualization helps breathe life into texts. Encourage 5th graders to create mental images of characters, settings, and events as they read. This multi-sensory approach transforms reading from a passive activity into an immersive experience. By weaving the power of imagination into their reading routine, students deepen their understanding of the text and embark on a journey of exploration.

Reading Aloud as a Collaborative Experience

When using shared read-aloud adventures, students start an adventure that allows them to see the reading from many perspectives. In this collaborative endeavor, each student contributes their voice to the narrative, enhancing their fluency and expressive reading skills. Beyond the mechanics of reading, the shared experience allows students to dissect story elements, explore character development, and unravel plot intricacies. The camaraderie nurtured during these sessions fosters a deeper level of comprehension and a sense of belonging within the classroom community.

Crafting Lifelong Learners

In the realm of reading comprehension strategies, a large number of skills emerge, weaving together to create proficient readers and critical thinkers. Strategies such as activating background knowledge, identifying the main idea, questioning, and leveraging visualization, come together to mold 5th graders into enthusiastic readers. By building and nurturing these skills, teachers can lay the foundation for a lifelong love of reading, a thirst for knowledge, and an ability to comprehend the most intricate texts. As the pages of 5th-grade turn, the lessons and strategies explored here become the stepping stones toward a future where these young learners become confident and informed readers ready for the next step!

Melissa Mazur

Melissa Mazur

My name is Melissa and I am an educator, blogger, and curriculum designer.
I’m here to help offer you teaching tips and low-prep resources to help take some of the burdens off you so you can do what you do best – teach!

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learning lab resources- about

Oh hey there!

My name is Melissa and I am an educator, blogger, and curriculum designer.
I’m here to help offer you teaching tips and low-prep resources to help take some of the burdens off you so you can do what you do best – teach!  

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