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The Importance of Teaching Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension ranks high on the list of life-altering skills a student can develop. The ability to comprehend and understand the written word is critical to their educational development. That’s why school leaders consider educators with expertise in reading comprehension as valuable teaching staff members.

While it’s a skill that’s especially important for teachers of younger students, it benefits all K-12 teachers. Reading comprehension is the bedrock of education, providing a gateway for students to understand and interpret information across any subject. Proficiency in reading is closely tied to academic achievement at all grade levels.

By learning how to empower students to absorb and critically analyze texts, teachers prepare their students for academic success and provide them with a skill that will bring pleasure throughout their lifetime.

The Importance of Reading Comprehension for Students

Reading comprehension involves more than decoding complicated words; it also means understanding and interpreting the overall meaning of what is written. Eventually, students develop the ability to analyze critically written texts independently.

Educators prioritize reading comprehension because of its powerful connection with overall student success. Students who understand written material are better equipped to excel in various subjects, from literature and history to science and math. They develop the capacity to absorb complex information and engage in critical thinking.

Those critical thinking skills serve students in personal and academic pursuits, as well as in their professions in the years to come. Students skilled in critical thinking learn to engage with texts, ask questions, make connections and draw conclusions. They also become better communicators as reading helps them to articulate their thoughts clearly.

These skills also boost students’ independence. They approach textbooks, research materials and literary works with confidence rather than apprehension. The same applies to social situations and public speaking. Reading gives students a larger vocabulary and the ability to express nuanced and sophisticated ideas.

What happens in its absence also illustrates the significance of cultivating reading comprehension. Recent test scores have led to concerns among educators, according to EdWeek. Both 4th- and 8th-grade students performed on par with students in the 1990s, and about one-third in each grade could not read at the basic achievement level.

Why Teaching Reading Comprehension is Important for Educators

In addition to all these benefits, reading comprehension also plays an essential role in helping to develop lifelong learning in students. Students with high reading comprehension levels tend to develop a strong love of learning and see education as exciting and enriching rather than a chore or obligation.

Teachers also prepare students to become more adaptable in a constantly changing world. Students with solid reading comprehension skills are better equipped to navigate the complexities of modern life and continue learning throughout their lives.

Teachers can employ a variety of strategies to improve their students' reading comprehension. These include having them read aloud, reread difficult texts to build fluency and practice building their vocabulary. It’s also vital for teachers to supply reading material that matches the students' skill level.

Teaching reading comprehension successfully requires developing specific skills. They include high content knowledge about the reading material and pedagogical knowledge on the various instructional methods and strategies to teach reading comprehension.

Fresno Pacific University’s Reading Comprehension Courses for Teachers

Fresno Pacific University has two courses addressing reading comprehension as part of its catalog of online professional development courses for educators. One is the Content Comprehension: Helping Students Read & Understand course, which helps teachers develop strategies for working with struggling student readers. The other is the Close Reading Strategies course, which teaches educators how to create more active, engaged, thoughtful student readers.

In the Content Comprehension course, educators learn how to implement practical strategies that help students succeed with reading comprehension. Teachers can implement these strategies with reading material they already use in their classrooms. Educators taking the course also learn to design activities and create learning opportunities while delivering a standards-based curriculum for their specific discipline.

In the Close Reading Strategies course, educators explore the idea of close reading in the classroom for grades 4-12. Topics include rigor, text-dependent questions and text complexity. Students also examine signposts, anchor questions and reading assessments. Educators also examine and create their own Notice and Note model lesson plans to teach to their students and help students become more active, thoughtful, engaged and independent readers.

Both courses are self-paced and offered 100% online. Students can take up to a year to complete each course after enrolling.

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