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General Reading Comprehension

Download FileLearning the facts surrounding specific topics and issues can sometimes be difficult. The ability to access information and use reading skills to learn more about a specific topic is a skill that people use each day. Whether readers are trying to form fact-based opinions or they are simply seeking to broaden their horizons, the ability to gather main ideas and comprehend written information is essential.

Learning Activity:

1.  The ability for students to read an article or story and comprehend the content is critical for success.  Explain to students that there are several key elements they should be able to identify each time they read an article.  These should include:
  • Main ideas
  • Vocabulary in the content of the article/story
  • Details/facts related to the main ideas
  • Identification of opinions in the article/story
  • Inferences made by the author/speaker
  • Tone expressed by the author/speaker
  • Questions you have about the article or topic
2.  To ensure that students understand the key elements of an article or story, review the key ideas presented above using questions such as:
    • What is a main idea?  What are some ways to identify it in a piece of writing?
    • What do we mean when we talk about vocabulary in the “context” of the story or article?
    • How do we distinguish facts from opinions?
    • How can both facts and opinions be used to support an idea or argument?
    • What is an inference?
    • What are some different examples of tone that can be found in writing?
3.  Practice reading comprehension strategies by printing the transcript of the story of your choice using the “Topic Search” feature from NOW Online available at http://www.pbs.org/now/topic_search/index.html.  Distribute the Comprehend What You Read activity provided with the lesson and complete it as a group using the specified strategies.  NOTE:  Many of the transcripts you can choose from have a video component to accompany them.  Some teachers may choose to provide students with a copy of the transcript and have them follow along on the transcript as they view the video component.  They could then complete the Comprehend What You Read activity as directed.Performance Task:4.  Encourage students to practice their reading comprehension skills by working in pairs or small groups to read content about a specific topic and share what they have learned with classmates by summarizing the piece of writing, discussing the content with them and having an activity that allows all students to demonstrate their learning.  Distribute the You Teach handout to guide students in making their presentation.5.  Provide each pair/group with 10 minutes to present their project to classmates.  Close the lesson by having students comment on questions such as:
  • I can improve my reading comprehension by….
  • My favorite reading strategies are….
  • How can focusing on reading comprehension skills and strategies impact on my learning and study habits in a positive way?





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