The Key Comprehension Routine

Professional Development Offering

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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.

Who Should Participate

Grades 4-5 elementary teachers, grades 6-12 content classroom teachers, educators who provide support to struggling readers, literacy specialists and coaches, and grades 4-12 administrators.

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