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Reading Comprehension

A lot of kids hate reading because they've never mastered comprehension. Comprehension, after all, is the purpose of reading—without it, reading is just staring at pages. Which is what a lot of kids do, which is why a lot of kids have trouble learning, which is why a lot of kids hate school, etc. It's a vicious cycle easily avoided by taking enough time to impart a basic skill that lasts all the way into adulthood and "real life."

Reading comprehension begins simply enough with learning to read. Kids learn to comprehend (make sense of) the words on a page in order to get meaning from the text. (This assumes all texts contain meaning, a point postmodernists or anyone who reads Facebook posts would argue.) At this stage, "getting meaning from a text" simply means "understanding the basic story."

Eventually students should be able to read between the lines of a text, understand concepts contained in a text (in other words, go beyond face-value), make connections between ideas within a text, and ultimately make connections between ideas in different texts. This level of reading can never occur, however, unless kids are first taught the basic principles of comprehension, like identifying the narrator, describing events in a story, and remembering characters' names.

There are a number of skills that contribute to proficient reading comprehension. Some of the most important include:

  • word analysis, recognition and meaning (phonemic awareness, decoding, etc.)
  • fluency (automaticity)
  • detecting the sequence of meaning/ideas
  • identifying facts
  • identifying the main idea
  • making inferences

A clear progression of abilities emerges in this list, all of them centered around the meaning of a given text. In some ways, what's really at stake is the development of a child's critical thinking skills, which a program like Reading Detective will particularly address. The critical thinking aspect of reading comprehension also brings to mind the Classical education trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric, in that order.

It's a common misconception that reading comprehension is best taught with a workbook. That may well be true in some cases, but there are plenty of alternatives that are just as effective. Reading comprehension can be as simple as parents discussing reading assignments with their children, and in fact this is often the best option. The Teaching the Classics course operates on this model, and while the focus is more on literary analysis, students are introduced to the fundamentals of comprehension.

Other programs focus on vocabulary expansion (Megawords) or content retention (Beyond the Code) and follow a workbook model. Literature guides often focus primarily on comprehension (as opposed to analysis), and the Progeny Press, Veritas, and Memoria Press guides based on classic children's literature are a great place to start. A Beka Read & Think Worksheets are popular, but only available used from Exodus Books.

Whatever system you choose for teaching your kids reading comprehension, remember that learning and communication are predicated on the student's ability to recall and reiterate information and ideas. The ability to read and understand is really the foundation of any good education, and therefore one you can't afford to neglect in the instruction of your children.

Here is a quick summary of the Reading Comprehension curricula we offer, in alphabetical order:

Beyond the Code Grades 1-4

Meant to work with Explode the Code, these four books are designed to help beginning readers apply their new skills toward greater comprehension, and reinforce key phonics concepts through lighthearted stories. Students read the stories and answer questions that help them remember the content and make deductions not explicitly addressed in the text. Goofy, slightly bizarre line drawings add a fun element to the stories, and the questions are silly enough to keep most kids interested.

Core Skills: Reading Comprehension Grades 1-8

Designed to develop and reinforce reading comprehension skills, these practice pages encourage students to read actively. The passages feature situtations to which students can often relate and the exercises following each selection cover all aspects of reading comprehension, challenging students to apply these skills in context. Also preps students for test-taking. Please note that these are secular options.

EDCON Classics Grades 1-9

These workbooks contain heavily adaptated versions of classics, with comprehension questions, vocabulary words, and various other activities geared for each section, along with built-in answer keys. We are not that impressed with the series, as we think it is far better for students to read the original books when they are ready for them, but they do work as a comprehension course.

Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension Grades K-8

Designed to help students understand what they read and be able to think carefully about it, Evan-Moor's books are intuitive and simple to use for both kids and teachers. Actually several different series with unique emphases, none of these are sufficient (or designed) as a complete reading or comprehension course, but all introduce important aspects of reading comprehension and their attendant skills.

Megawords Grades 4-10

As students begin reading to learn, they start encountering larger, more complicated—and usually multisyllabic—words. As these are the primary sources of content-specific knowledge, students need to be equipped to decode them. This is the premise behind Megawords, a phonics-based spelling and vocabulary course. As students learn to spell larger words properly, they also learn to understand their meaning and thereby improve reading speed and efficiency.

Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Grades 1-11

This is a good group of books, easy to use for both students and teachers, and overall quite effective. These are consumable worktexts, though the written answer questions are to be completed on a separate piece of paper.  Both passages and questions are challenging, preparing students for the harder work of literary analysis later on.

Reading Detective Grades K-8

Instead of asking questions that can easily be answered simply by skimming the text, the questions in these books focus on more challenging reading concepts, helping children learn to draw inferences, make conclusions, determine cause-and-effect, and use context clues to define unknown words. As a result, they are especially effective at developing analysis, synthesis, and vocabulary skills children need for exceptional reading comprehension.

Spectrum Reading Grades K-6

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Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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139 Items found Print
Beginning Reasoning & Reading
by Joane Carlisle
from Educators Publishing Service
for 3rd-4th grade
in EPS Reasoning & Reading (Location: B09-04E)
Beginning Reasoning & Reading - Teacher's Guide / Answer Key
by Joane Carlisle
from Educators Publishing Service
for 3rd-4th grade
in EPS Reasoning & Reading (Location: B09-04E)
Beyond the Code Book 1
by Nancy Hall
from Educators Publishing Service
for 1st-3rd grade
in Explode the Code (Location: B09-01D)
$9.00
Beyond the Code Book 2
by Nancy Hall
from Educators Publishing Service
for 1st-3rd grade
in Explode the Code (Location: B09-01D)
$9.00
Beyond the Code Book 3
by Nancy Hall
from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd-4th grade
in Explode the Code (Location: B09-01D)
$9.00
Beyond the Code Book 4
by Nancy Hall
from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd-4th grade
in Explode the Code (Location: B09-01D)
$9.00
Classics at Home
by Ann Ward
from Noble Publishing
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Clues to Comprehension, Grades 1-2
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 1st-2nd grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$15.39
Clues to Comprehension, Grades 3-4
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 3rd-4th grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$15.39 $10.78 (1 in stock)
Clues to Comprehension, Grades 5-6
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 5th-6th grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
Critical Conditioning
by Kathryn Stout
from Design-A-Study
for All grades
in Design-A-Study (Location: B11-02A)
$4.00 (2 in stock)
Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 1
1st edition from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 1st grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$20.99
Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 2
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 2nd grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$20.99
Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 3
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 3rd grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$20.99
Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 4
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 4th grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$20.99
Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 5
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 5th grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$20.99 $12.60 (1 in stock)
Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 6+
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 6th-8th grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$20.99
Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book A
by Jane Ervin
from Educators Publishing Service
for 1st-2nd grade
$11.90 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book B
by Jane Ervin
from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd-3rd grade
$11.90
Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book C
by Jane Ervin
from Educators Publishing Service
for 3rd-4th grade
$11.90
Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book C - Answer Key
by Jane Ervin
from Educators Publishing Service
for 3rd-4th grade
$3.50
Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book D
by Jane Ervin
from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th grade
$11.90
EDCON: All's Well That Ends Well
EDCON Classics Level 5
by William Shakespeare
Workbook from EDCON Publishing Group
for 6th-9th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
EDCON: As You Like It
EDCON Classics Level 3
by William Shakespeare
from EDCON Publishing Group
for 3rd-7th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
EDCON: King Lear
EDCON Classics Level 5
by William Shakespeare
Workbook from EDCON Publishing Group
for 6th-9th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
EDCON: Macbeth
EDCON Classics Level 4
by William Shakespeare
Workbook from EDCON Publishing Group
for 6th-8th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
EDCON: Merchant of Venice
EDCON Classics Level 3
by William Shakespeare
Workbook from EDCON Publishing Group
for 6th-9th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
EDCON: Much Ado About Nothing
EDCON Classics Level 3
by William Shakespeare
from EDCON Publishing Group
for 3rd-7th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
EDCON: Taming of the Shrew
EDCON Classics Level 5
by William Shakespeare
Workbook from EDCON Publishing Group
for 6th-9th grade
in EDCON Classics (Location: B09-04D)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
High-Frequency Words: Stories and Activities, Level B
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for Kindergarten-1st grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
$13.29 $8.05 (1 in stock)
High-Frequency Words: Stories and Activities, Level C
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 2nd-3rd grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
High-Frequency Words: Stories and Activities, Level D
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 2nd-3rd grade
in Evan-Moor Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04E)
Home Start in Reading
by Ruth Beechick
from Arrow Press
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Practical Home Schooling (Location: B11-01B)
$1.05 (1 in stock)
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading
by Esme Raji Codel
1st edition from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
How to Report on Books Grades 1-2
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 1st-2nd grade
in Evan-Moor Literature & Poetry (Location: B18-08B)
$11.89 $6.30 (1 in stock)
How to Report on Books Grades 3-4
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 3rd-4th grade
in Evan-Moor Literature & Poetry (Location: B18-08B)
$11.89 $6.30 (2 in stock)
How to Report on Books Grades 5-6
by Jill Norris
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 4th-6th grade
in Evan-Moor Literature & Poetry (Location: B18-08B)
$11.89 $7.00 (2 in stock)
Let's Read 1
from Educators Publishing Service
for 1st grade
in EPS Reasoning & Reading (Location: B09-04E)
Let's Read 2
by Leonard Bloomfield, Clarence L. Barnhart, Robert K. Barnhart, et al.
from Educators Publishing Service
for 1st grade
in Miscellaneous Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
Let's Read 3
by Leonard Bloomfield, Clarence L. Barnhart, Robert K. Barnhart, et al.
from Educators Publishing Service
for 1st grade
in Miscellaneous Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
Let's Read 4
by Leonard Bloomfield, Clarence L. Barnhart, Robert K. Barnhart, et al.
Revised from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd grade
in Miscellaneous Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
Let's Read 5
by Leonard Bloomfield
Revised from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd grade
in Miscellaneous Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
Let's Read 6
by Leonard Bloomfield, Clarence L. Barnhart, Robert K. Barnhart, et al.
from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd-3rd grade
in Miscellaneous Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
Let's Read 7
by Leonard Bloomfield, Clarence L. Barnhart, Robert K. Barnhart, et al.
Revised from Educators Publishing Service
for 2nd-3rd grade
in Miscellaneous Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
Leveled Readers' Theater, Grade 1
Tch from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 1st grade
in Evan-Moor Leveled Readers Theater (Location: B09-04E)
$16.79
Leveled Readers' Theater, Grade 2
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 2nd grade
in Evan-Moor Leveled Readers Theater (Location: B09-04E)
$16.79
Leveled Readers' Theater, Grade 3
Tch from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 3rd grade
in Evan-Moor Leveled Readers Theater (Location: B09-04E)
$16.79
Leveled Readers' Theater, Grade 5
Tch from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 5th grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$14.00
Leveled Readers' Theater, Grade 6+
Workbook from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 6th-8th grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$14.00
McCall-Crabbs Book A
by William McCall & Lelah Crabbs
from Riggs Institute
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in McCall-Crabbs Reading Comprehension (Location: B09-04D)
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