Science of Reading: Comprehension

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The National Reading Panel reviewed studies of three areas regarded as essential to developing reading comprehension: vocabulary development, text comprehension instruction, and teacher preparation and comprehension strategies instruction.

Vocabulary ; this should be taught both directly — apart from a larger narrative or text — and indirectly — as words are encountered in a larger text. Repetition and multiple exposure to vocabulary words will also assist vocabulary development, as will the use of computer technology. 

So although programs must teach vocabulary a range of approaches must be used. 

Reading comprehension of text is best facilitated by teaching students a variety of techniques and systematic strategies to assist in recall of information, question generation, and summarising of information.
The Panel also found that teachers must be provided with appropriate and intensive training to ensure that they know when and how to teach specific strategies.

So programs must include a variety of strategies to teach reading comprehension, along with adequate training with regards to how to use these strategies.

The Panel examined the use of computer technology to teach reading. The Panel noted that the available information suggests that it is possible to use computer technology to improve reading instruction. For example, the use of computers may help students learn to read, as reading instruction is most effective when combined with writing instruction.

So programs must combine reading instruction with writing instruction, and this may include technology.   

Teachers must know how children learn to read, why some children have difficulty learning to read, and how to identify and implement instructional approaches of proven efficacy for different children.


Does the program offer support in order to help teachers understand  how to judge the quality of the reading research literature.

Literacy instruction can and should be provided to all children beginning in kindergarten, and integrated with the entire kindergarten experience in order to optimise their students' social and emotional development.

Does the program help to optimise social and emotional development? Is it engaging, meaningful and relevant to those students, wherever they may live?