What is Comprehension?

Comprehension is understanding what was just read.  This involves the ability to visualize what is going on in any given text.  Good readers might describe this as ‘making movies’ when they read.  For some people, this comes very naturally and words create images in their minds effortlessly.  For others, the words just move in one ear and out the other. I  had one student describe it to me as a lawn mower that is cutting the grass and there is no bag attached to the mower.  The grass is just mulched and left behind.  The words are like the grass, he can’t hold on to anything he reads and the words just get left behind like mulched grass on the ground…

There are very simple ways to improve comprehension but it can be a tedious process.  Lindamood Bell has a curriculum called Visualizing and Verbalizing.  It can be used with any reading program and will not interfere with any other instruction taught.  It simply enhances it.  This curriculum helps teach students explicitly how to visualize images when reading.   

Beyond visualization, students need to develop other skills, higher level critical thinking skills that help them better understand and relate to text.  Some of these comprehension skills include: identifying fact and opinion, drawing conclusions, summarizing, finding details, making inferences, sequencing.  Certainly, there are more and the stronger the foundation of decoding and fluency skills a student has, the better they can immerse themselves in text that offers more opportunities to think and grow as a learner.