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Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading is a complex process! Humans develop the ability to speak through a natural process of mimicry and – almost – all humans have the ability to speak. However, this is not the case for reading; it is not a natural process, and it is a complex one that must be taught through explicit instruction.

The Junior School teachers are clear about this complexity and their instruction caters to the many different ‘strands’ of becoming a proficient reader. Frequently, beginning readers focus on ‘Word Recognition’ strands of reading, but as can be seen in the model of ‘Scarborough’s Reading Rope’, this is far from the only aspect of reading. Often, adults refer to the term ‘Comprehension’ as a reference for understanding the text; but this one word over-simplifies the complex processes involved in developing an understanding of the text.


Over the last year, Junior School teachers have redefined pedagogical practice to focus on the complex ‘strands’ of ‘Language Comprehension’ so that students build a depth of understanding that can be drawn upon when reading.

Part of this redefinition is the introduction of ‘Reading Comprehension Strategies’ model in the Junior School. The 8 clear strategies outlined below have been curated through a deep interrogation into the most current educational research along with a deep understanding of the needs of our students. The model clearly indicates that Oral Language and a focus on Vocabulary are at the centre of developing reading comprehension. Teachers are clear of the importance of these – for both reading and writing – and constantly engaging your son in conversation and exposing him to sophisticated language is a way that you can support him at home.

You will see these strategies referred to in your son’s books and this language will become increasingly commonplace for him. If you would like to support his understanding of these terms and practice them at home, we have outlined them in the linked document below.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

The strategies in this model have been designed to support your son’s increasingly strategic development of the processes that are involved in developing ‘Comprehension’ of a text. They support the explicit teaching of these processes and create a common understanding and language for teachers, students, and parents. I look forward to hearing from you about your son’s development in his comprehension over the coming terms and remember that I am always here to discuss any aspect of teacher and learning.

Mr Jon Gelsthorpe
Deputy Head of Junior School – Teaching and Learning