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RESOURCES TO HELP TEACHERS HELP
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Boushey, G. & Mosher, J. (2006). the daily 5:
fostering literacy independence in the
elementary grades. Portland, ME:
Daily 5 Stenhouse Publishers.
Although the purpose of Daily 5 is not to
help you teach comprehension strategies to
your students, it does provide a framework
that will allow you to better work with
students on comprehension strategies. The
best part about Daily 5 is that it allows
teachers to support independence with
their students. Students are taught to make
choices about their education and monitor
whether texts are appropriate for them.
There is also an emphasis on checking for
understanding when independent reading
and buddy reading. A great book to use in
conjunction with The Café Book when
setting up your literacy block.
Boushey, G. & Mosher, J. (2009). The café book:
engaging all students in daily literacy assessment &
instruction. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Café Book Daily 5 provides educators with the big picture of how
their literacy blocks could be meaningfully organized.
The Café Book provides teachers with the details to
make it work. Essentially it is a way of assessing
readers. The framework is built on conferencing with
individual students. The teacher and student
determine if a student’s literacy goal needs to be
Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, or Expanding
Vocabulary. Their goal shapes what individual
conferencing and small group lessons look like. The
teacher also does whole group lessons based on the
need. The great thing about this book is that it
provides the teacher with a menu of strategies that
they can teach for each of these areas, and this menu
is placed in the classroom for students to reference.
The book includes instructional advice for each
strategy, and the value of this book far outweighs its
cost of $22.00.
Ellery, V. (2009). Creating strategic readers:
Creating techniques for developing competency in
Strategic phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency,
vocabulary, and comprehension (2nd ed.).
Readers Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
This is a broad book that covers five areas that
readers need instruction in: phonemic
awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and
comprehension. Her section on comprehension
has some great strategies. One strategy is called
a ripple effect. You start by demonstrating in a
children’s pool, a fish tank, or anything else that
holds adequate water how throwing pebbles in
causes ripples. You talk about how thinking
while reading is similar to the ripples in the
water. After this, you do a read aloud. While
reading, share questions and throw a pebble
into the water. Let the question ripple through
the classroom as students discuss it.
Fountas, I.C. & Pinell, G.S. (2001).
Guiding Guiding readers and writers grades 3-
Readers and 6: teaching comprehension, genre, and
Writers content literacy. Portsmouth, NH:
This book is the bible of literacy
instruction. It contains information
about almost every area of literacy
(excluding digital literacy) you can
think of. It is a treasure trove of
resources, and it is an essential read if
you are setting up a reading, writing, or
word study workshop. It also is a great
book to look up information about
teaching comprehension or any other
questions you might have.
Harvey, S., & Daniels, H. (2009). Comprehension
& collaboration: inquiry circles in action.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Warning! If you are super concerned with
covering everything on the curriculum map, and
you follow a strict timeline so that you can cram
all your content in, this book is not for you.
However if you are interested in a cross
disciplinary approach that allows students to
collaborate with each other to develop
comprehension skills and a deeper
understanding of a portion of your content,
Comprehension & Collaboration is a great book
for your bookshelf. The book offers teachers
lessons on comprehension that will help
students deal with information about their topic,
hints and lessons on how to set up inquiry
groups, and examples of inquiry groups at all
levels (K-12). This is a well organized and
engaging book that is essential for teachers
using inquiry groups.
Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2007). Strategies
that work: teaching comprehension for
Strategies that understanding and engagement (2nd ed.).
Work Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
A great reference book when planning
comprehension mini-lessons. The authors
start by discussing the importance of
comprehension, strategy instruction and
practice, and the benefits of short text. It
breaks comprehension up into connections,
questioning, visualizing, inferring,
determining importance, and synthesizing.
Each strategy has several strategy lessons
with texts that can be used to accompany
the lesson. The authors also offer advice
and discuss troubleshooting. The chapter
on assessing comprehension is also a
beneficial resource when thinking about
how to structure your reading time.
Keene, E.O. & Zimmermann, S. (2001).
Mosaic of thought: teaching
Mosaic of comprehension s in a reader’s
Thought workshop. Portsmouth, NH:
This book is great for teachers who
want more than just lessons. Like the
title implies, the book is the authors’
thoughts and information about
different components of
comprehension. It is heavily anecdotal,
and you join the authors as they help
other teachers support their students. It
is a wealth of scholarly information, and
this book helps teachers better
understand why they are doing what
Lindquist, T. (2002). Seeing the whole through social studies
Seeing the (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Whole through An inspiring book for helping students better understand
social studies. This book focuses on activities that help
Social Studies students get actively involved in social studies, and Lindquist
emphasizes making social studies relevant for students. This
is a text that is great to revisit when things feel dry because
the author’s enthusiasm is contagious. One idea in the book
is to have students read a historical fiction novel or
biography. The students will write sequential letters about
the main character. If they are reading about George
Washington, their first letter would be about a character that
reflects on George Washington in a historically accurate way
(parchment, language, and a quill or fountain pen). The
second letter would be from George Washington to another
character in the book talking about what he has seen and
learned. The third letter would be to George Washington
from the student today. The student would share the lessons
learned and reactions to his life. To enhance this project,
students can create their own stamps, stationary, and
artifacts. The activities in this book could easily be adapted to
help students better comprehend other texts and subject
McGregor, T. (2007). Comprehension connections.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Comprehension This book belongs in the bookshelf of every
Connections elementary teacher. McGregor devotes her book to
six components of comprehension: metacognition,
schema, inferring, questioning, determining
importance, visualizing, and synthesizing. She argues
that students need concrete lessons that help them
connect with more abstract areas of comprehension,
and each chapter gives concrete lessons, text
suggestions (including song lyrics), quotes to promote
discussion, thinking stems, and other great strategies
for each component of comprehension. An example of
a concrete lesson is having a pot full of spaghetti and
water. This represents the text. The teacher pours the
contents of the pot (which represents the brain sifting
through information), and the unimportant
information (the water) is released. The important
information (the spaghetti) is kept in the brain, and
the students then discuss how good reading is similar
to cooking spaghetti. It is surprising how simple
lessons like this help students grasp comprehension
Oczkus, L. (2004). Super 6 comprehension strategies.
Super 6 Norwood, MA: Christopher- Gordon Publisher, Inc.
Comprehension Although the layout of this book is bland and it has a
Strategies reliance on worksheet type activities, the Super 6
Comprehension Strategies has a lot to offer teachers.
The author focuses on the following comprehension
strategies: building background knowledge and
making connections, predicting and inferring,
questioning, monitoring comprehension,
summarizing and synthesizing, and evaluating. Each
strategy has classroom vignettes, general information
about teaching that strategy, and teaching advice for
each strategy. One plus to this book is that it includes
evaluating as a comprehension strategy, and this
higher level thinking skill gets students thinking about
the quality of the text and what it has to offer. This is
not featured in many other comprehension books, so
it will be helpful for teachers to read this chapter. It
also includes assessment resources for these
comprehension areas and a disc with reproducibles of
Tompkins, G.E. (2009). 50 literacy strategies:
step-by-step (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn &
50 Literacy Bacon.
Like the name implies, this book gives
information about literacy strategies that can be
used in the classroom. It has 35 strategies that
can be specifically used for comprehension, and
each strategy may include appropriate grade
level, a description of the strategy, why the
strategy should be used, how to use it, when to
use it, and examples of student work. This is a
fantastic book to flip through every once in a
while to get ideas for enhancing classroom
instruction. One strategy is called “Sketch-to-
Stretch.” It is a way for students to respond to
longer texts. After reading and discussing the
themes of the book, students draw sketches to
reflect what the story means to them—focusing
on meaning not their favorite part. They then
share their sketches with students who try to
guess what the artist is trying to say.
Wilhelm, Dr. J. D. (2001). Improving
comprehension with think-aloud strategies.
New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Wilhelm’s book offers teachers of intermediate,
middle school, or high school students more
than just lessons on how to think aloud using a
few selected texts. He identifies many great
strategies for teachers (fishbowl for example)
that involve teachers and students thinking
aloud while making sense of text. He calls one of
his strategies, “Making the teacher sweat.” The
students bring in texts that they know the
teacher will have a hard time with (rap songs),
and he shares his thinking about how he would
approach this new text (reactions, sampling).
Although this book is somewhat dry, the author
does show his readers helpful strategies to
model thinking about reading.