The 'simple view of reading', in the Independent review of the teaching of early reading (the Rose Report), identifies two dimensions to reading: word recognition and language comprehension. Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading but this goal cannot be achieved unless children can recognise the words on the page.
There are a range of language skills and cognitive resources that play a part in developing reading comprehension, including the important roles of inference and deduction (reasoning), imagining and predicting. The explicit teaching of certain strategies such as summarising and recognising degrees of importance can support the reader's comprehension.
Reading comprehension is a highly interactive process that takes place between a reader and a text. Individual readers will bring variable levels of skills and experiences to these interactions. These include language skills, cognitive resources and world knowledge. Any act of reading occurs within a particular sociocultural and emotional context. This consists of elements such as the child's home culture, their previous experiences of reading and being read to, their expectations that reading should carry meaning, their motivation, their view of themselves as a reader, the purpose for reading the text, the cultural value placed on reading and the reading environments the reader experiences. While the purpose of this document is to concentrate on looking closely at the development of comprehension skills, this broader context and its influences should be borne in mind.
(From DCSF, 2006, Primary National Strategy)
We want to encourage children to become enthusiastic, autonomous and thoughtful readers who not only decode the text but understand and engage with what they are reading. Teaching is central to this. Literacy lessons provide the context for direct teaching and application of reading comprehension strategies across the primary age range. The strategies can be applied to picture books as well as more complex texts. The wider reading environment in the classroom and school provides further opportunities for extensive reading.
Demonstrate how to use a range of comprehension strategies:
Plan direct instruction so that children can:
Support children as they:
Scaffold opportunities for children to use different reading comprehension strategies, for example using the strategy modelled in the shared reading session and applying it to a new text. Encourage children to explain how they solved a word problem. Encourage personal response and reflection.
Expect children to:
Encourage extensive reading:
(From DfES, 2005, Understanding Reading Comprehension 1)