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Dedicated to Teachers

How To Teach Comprehension Responsively At Any Grade Level With Any Text


In this video blog, authors Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis share how The Comprehension Toolkit is a flexible teaching resource that—through the gradual release model—allows teachers to make the lessons their own, at any grade level and with any text.


The Comprehension Toolkit is all about teaching the reader, not merely the reading. The lessons are, in fact, practices to be done many times across a variety of disciplines and grade levels. The lessons change in their level of sophistication and the demands of the text, depending on the experience and background knowledge of each of the students. Asking questions can look very different in third grade from the way it might in sixth grade. But that strategy use is cumulative.

The authors explain that the “Lesson Frame” near the beginning of each lesson is designed to support using the Toolkit lessons (or practices) flexibly with the teacher’s own text, content, and teaching goals. The frames include generic teaching language and teaching moves that can be adapted with any text or content.

Once educators introduce asking questions, making inferences, noticing new learning, etc., students build on their strategic knowledge to address more sophisticated concepts and ideas. So it is suggested to teach all of the lessons each year with every grade level.  The Toolkit shows teachers how to vary the text and content to reflect the appropriate grade level, developmental challenges, and curriculum demands. Ultimately, the goal is always for students to internalize these strategies in a way that they can call them up when needed as they read and research independently.

The Comprehension Toolkit Series from Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis has all of the language, teaching moves, and re-usable resources to build students’ reading comprehension in ways that are visible and audible and helps to show evidence of developing students’ thinking over time. As an active literacy learning framework, The Comprehension Toolkit can be implemented as part of a literacy block or within a curriculum lesson such as science and history.  Additionally, this supplemental resource is designed to support every instructional setting including whole group, ELL support, small group, independent practice, intervention, summer school – as well as resources for PLCs.

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Anne Goudvis and Stephanie Harvey have enjoyed a fifteen-year collaboration in education as authors and staff developers. They are coauthors of Heinemann’s curricular resource series The Comprehension Toolkit.

Topics: Video, Content Lessons, Content Matters, Engagement, Knowledge, Anne Goudvis, Collaboration, Comprehension, Comprehension Toolkit, Content Literacy, Elementary, High School, Middle School, Nonfiction, Social Studies, Stephanie Harvey, Toolkit

Date Published: 02/23/16

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