Comprehension is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading.
To be able to accurately understand written material, children need to be able to:
1. decode what they read.
2. make connections between what they read and what they already know.
3. think deeply about what they have read.
One big part of comprehension is having a sufficient vocabulary, or knowing the meanings of enough words.
˘ Good readers are purposeful. Good readers have a purpose for reading. For example, they may read to find out how to play a game or read a menu from a restaurant.
˘ Good readers are active. Good readers think actively as they read. To make sense of what they read, good readers engage in a complicated process. Using their experiences and knowledge of the world, their knowledge of vocabulary and language structure, and their knowledge of reading strategies (or plans), good readers make sense of the text and know how to get the most out of it. They know when they have problems with understanding and how to resolve these problems as they occur.
Comprehension strategies are conscious plans or sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of text. Comprehension strategy instruction helps students become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension.
Effective comprehension strategy instruction is explicit, or direct. Research shows that explicit teaching techniques are particularly effective for comprehension strategy instruction. In explicit instruction, teachers tell readers why and when they should use strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them.
The steps of explicit instruction are
" Direct explanation. The teacher explains to students why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy.
" Modeling. The teacher models, or demonstrates, how to apply the strategy, usually by "thinking aloud" while reading the text that the students are using.
" Guided practice. The teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy.
" Application. The teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.
Teachers should emphasize text comprehension from the beginning, rather than waiting until students have mastered "the basics" of reading. Instruction at all grade levels can benefit from showing students how reading is a process of making sense out of text, or constructing meaning. Beginning readers, as well as more advanced readers, must understand that the ultimate goal of reading is comprehension.
You can highlight meaning in all interactions with text. Talk about the content, whether reading aloud to students or guiding them in reading on their own. Model, or "think aloud," about your own thinking and understanding as you read. Lead students in a discussion about the meaning of what they are reading. Help students relate the content to their experience and to other texts they have read. Encourage students to ask questions about the text.
Reading: Slow learners.
The Emperor’s New Clothes (and I’m the little boy).
Preamble: Initial consonants.
There are those that do, and those that don’t. Blend, that is.
Continuants do, Plosives don’t.
Continuants continue as long as you have breath: c in Cecil, s, z; f, v; l; m; n; r; th. Special guests: initial w, y.
Plosives don’t: b, p; d, t; hard g (as in goat), c (cat), k; ch, j; h.
We can guide the child into blending th and aw to get thaw.
But to get car, we must:
Have the child say ar in front of a mirror, paying attention to mouth shape.
Then: “Start with c [the k sound] but make sure you end up with ar!” (And demonstrate it.)
Recommended: Flash cards of car, tar, bar, jar; tar, too, tea.
Now go ahead and shoot me down in flames — insist that the Emperor IS wearing clothes!
RainStorm has given you a wealth of info from someone who gained it from years of experience. I think what you are looking for is an introduction. To gain a very simple understanding of the way in which we teach students to read you should pick up The Threads of Reading: Strategies for Literacy Development by Karen Tankersly. It is based on K-3 and step by step explains literacy development in about 100 very readable pages, some of which are just strategies to teach the theory. This is not a textbook so it is not a boring book that you will have to force yourself to read. It is also only around 10 bucks. Trust me, it is what you are looking for. Once you gain a basic understanding you can start to comprehend the more detailed info.
The best book purchase I ever made.
PS, make sure you make notes in the margins because you will want to refer to this book regularly and the notes will come in handy.
Thanks for the heads up JustMe - was about to respond with thoughts! Would be interesting if the OP was still active on the forum, how things have gone - what processes s/he learned to teach, and how things are now.