Classroom Environment Lesson Structure Assessment Sample Comprehension Lessons



These are general resources, applicable to learning about a strategic approach to reading comprehension overall.

Book chapters and articles specific to a particular reading strategy are noted in Suggested Readings in each Comprehension Sample Lesson. Some of the articles below are also suggested in specific lessons.


Websites and Blogs




Guiding principles, excerpts, and supporting information on The Comprehension Toolkit andPrimary Comprehension Toolkit Articles and other resources relevant to teaching reading comprehension


A variety of podcasts by Debbie Miller and excerpts from her books


Using social media and other technology resources to enhance reading and writing instruction






These articles include descriptions and analysis of some of the major research leading to current approaches to teaching comprehension.

Harvey, S. and Goudvis, A. (2013) Comprehension at the Core. The Reading Teacher 66(6), 432-439.


Steph Harvey and Anne Goudvis sum up their current thinking about comprehension strategy instruction, including a helpful Comprehension Continuum and pitfalls to avoid.  (This article is also recommended for reading during the Monitoring Module.)


Keene, E.O. & Zimmermann, S. (May 2013). Years Later, Comprehension Strategies Still at Work.The Reading Teacher, 66(8), 601–606.

(available online with subscription to The Reading Teacher)

The authors of Mosaic of Thought discuss the impact that reading comprehension strategy instruction has had over the past 15 years, and how their own thinking has evolved.


Duke, N.K., Pearson, P.D., Strachan, S.L., and Billman, A.K (2011).  Essential Elements of Fostering and Teaching Reading Comprehension,  in A.E. Farstup & S.J. Samuels (eds.), What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction, 4th Ed.,” International Reading Association, Newark, Delaware. Duke and her colleagues put strategy instruction in a broad context, presenting ten elements that make for successful teachers of reading comprehension.  They provide rationale and examples of instruction that supports each of these elements.


Keene, E.O. (2010). New Horizons in Comprehension. Educational Leadership 67(6), 69-73.


Short, accessible article by Ellin Keene illustrating the difference between teaching strategies for their own sake and meaningful instruction in using them purposefully.


Fielding, L.G. and Pearson, and P.D.  (1994). Synthesis of Research/Reading Comprehension: What Works, Educational Leadership, 51(5), 62-68.[at]-What-Works.aspx



Analysis of important factors surrounding how comprehension is taught in the classroom: ample time for reading, direct teaching of strategies through gradual release, and collaboration among children for learning and talk about their reading.


Pearson, P.D., Roehler, L.R., Dole, J.A., Duffy, G.G. (1992). Developing Expertise in Reading Comprehension.  In Samuels, S.J. and Farstrup, A.E. (Eds.), What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction, 2nd Ed., International Reading Association This article summarizes the research that led to the use of what are considered the basic reading comprehension strategies.


Duffy, G.G., Roehler, L.R., & Herman, B. (1988, April). Modeling Mental Processes Helps Poor Readers Become Strategic Readers.  The Reading Teacher, 41, 762-767.



Very helpful article explaining the basis of modeling, and giving important tips on effective modeling practices.  (Also recommended for the Monitoring Module.)


Pearson, P.D., & Gallagher, M.C. (1983). The Instruction of Reading Comprehension.  Contemporary Educational Psychology 8, 317-344.


Article that originally explained the connection of the gradual release of responsibility to reading comprehension instruction.







The Primary Comprehension Toolkit by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis, Heinemann First Hand, 2008. The Toolkit provides a comprehensive guide to teaching primary students to become strategic readers, focused on nonfiction text.  It includes a booklet with 3-5 detailed lessons for each of the six major strategies, including examples and analysis of students’ work.  A DVD provides a slide show about the elements of an active literacy classroom, and three lesson videos.


Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades, 2nd ed., by Debbie Miller, Stenhouse, 2012 Based on her extensive experience teaching in the primary grades, Debbie Miller explains how to develop comprehension instruction across the school year.  She gives vivid and detailed examples, including student work, of her approaches to each of the comprehension strategies, and how she embeds them in units of study including both fiction and nonfiction.  She also provides many ideas for texts to use in teaching each strategy.


Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement, 2nd ed., by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis, Stenhouse, 2007. This book gives short (approximately one page) descriptions of a variety of lessons supporting each of the major reading comprehension strategies in both fiction and nonfiction texts.  Each lesson description is accompanied by examples of how the lesson was taught in a specific classroom. An analysis of student responses at the end of the chapter aids teachers in assessing student work and planning further instruction.


Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction,  2nd Ed. by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmermann, Heinemann, 2007. The first edition of this book related how the members of the Public Education and Business Coalition in Denver, Colorado, studied comprehension strategies through applying them to their own reading as adults, and then interpreting what that meant for teaching children.  The second edition continues to include passages giving teachers the opportunity to think about how adult readers use strategies, which greatly informs our modeling, guiding, conferring and planning.  It also includes samples of how the strategies have been taught in various classrooms, including some primary classes.


To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension by Ellin Oliver Keene. Heinemann, 2008. Ellin Keene continues to explore how what we mean by comprehension, or understanding, influences how we teach children.  She offers outcomes and dimensions of understanding to place our instruction in a more meaningful context.   She also shares how she has worked with teachers and children, including in some of the poorest school districts in the US, in implementing these ideas.


Weaving Through Words: Using the Arts to Teach Reading Comprehension Strategies by Roberta D. Mantione and Sabine Smead, International Reading Association, 2003 This book provides wonderful ideas for introducing and expanding children’s understanding of the basic reading comprehension strategies through the use of the arts: music, visual arts, drama, movement, etc. Short, specific examples are given for lessons at a variety of grade levels.


Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning,2004, and Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives,2012, by Peter H. Johnston, Stenhouse. These books by Peter Johnston are extremely relevant to teaching reading comprehension because they help us focus on the language we use as teachers and its impact on our students. Johnston explores the types of teacher language that support students in learning and those, including nonspecific praise, that inhibit it.