The Key Comprehension Routine teaches students a foundational set of research-based comprehension strategies that support listening and reading comprehension in any subject area. Teachers learn how to teach strategies using existing content reading and instructional materials. When used across multiple grade levels, students benefit from a consistent approach to comprehension instruction as they move from grade to grade and subject to subject.

The Key Comprehension Routine addresses these topics, strategies and skills:

  • Critical thinking: for close, analytic reading of both narrative and expository text
  • Main idea skills: categorizing information and vocabulary, identifying main ideas at the paragraph level, and identifying central ideas in lengthier text
  • Text structure knowledge: at the sentence, paragraph, and longer text levels
  • Top-down topic webs: a graphic organizer that represents the major topics and big ideas of any content that is read, said, or done
  • Two-column notes: a note taking format that supports active reading and listening
  • Summarizing: students comprehend and synthesize the main ideas from any content that is read, said, or done
  • Generating questions: students create and answer questions along a continuum of thinking using Bloom’s Taxonomy based on content that is read, said, or done
  • I, We, You instruction: strategies are taught explicitly through modeling and think aloud, guided practice is provided, and scaffolds are gradually released as students become independent users of the strategies
  • Cooperative learning: students learn and practice comprehension strategies by working in cooperative pairs or small groups

These strategies and instructional practices have been identified consistently in the research literature as most effective for improving student comprehension, and are highly aligned with Common Core literacy standards.

There are multiple formats for participating in this professional development, listed below.

Option 1: Live Training 

Participate in live training delivered by Keys to Literacy trainers using a virtual-live format (using Zoom meeting software) or onsite at your school district. We will develop a customized professional development plan to meet your scheduling needs.

Option 2: Online Course 

A companion Key Comprehension Routine online course is available that takes approximately 16 hours to complete. It covers the same content as live training and is aligned to the Key Comprehension Routine training manual. It is an asynchronous course, which means users can log on and off multiple times to complete the course assignments at their own pace. Individual educators can register to take the course, or schools can register groups. The course registration fee includes a free copy of the training manual. Contact us to learn more, or register for the course at the Keys to Literacy store.

Option 3: Facilitated-Online Course

This facilitated online option is for educators who would like to complete the online course and also participate in live, debrief sessions facilitated by a Keys to Literacy trainer. These sessions provide a collaborative opportunity to debrief activities completed during the online course, share ideas for connecting course content to classroom instruction, and have the facilitator answer questions and clarify online course content. In addition to the time spent taking the 16 hour asynchronous course, there are two, half-day facilitated meetings that are scheduled following a flexible schedule that meets the needs of your school district. Click here for a flyer about the facilitated-online option. Contact us to learn more.

Train-the-Facilitator Option

If your school district or educational organization is interested in training staff educators to become certified facilitators for The Key Comprehension Routine facilitated online course, please contact us for details.

Contact Keys to Literacy today to learn more about Letterland!

Contact Us to Get Started


We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and the impact on our employees and the schools where we provide professional development.

During this time period when onsite, face-to-face training and coaching is not possible, we offer multiple options for accessing our literacy PD content and instructional practices.

If you are a current or new partner, explore our website or contact us to learn more about: