Please ensure you read the Guide to Using Teaching Strategies and Resources prior to using the materials found below.
The strategies presented below have been mapped against the Progression of Reading Development created by the Assessment Research Centre. The developmental progression is empirically based, meaning it was created by analysing large-scale student data taking into account evidence about the usual pathways students take when developing skills.
Advice regarding teaching strategies for reading comprehension
The strategies presented are a means of promoting professional discourse: discourse about student developmental reading levels, discourse about the elements of comprehension, discourse about teacher content knowledge, and discourse about teacher pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers are advised to use the strategies as starting points for discussions during professional learning team meetings.
Sample reading comprehension strategies
Strategies are provided in the form of a sample professional learning team log for each level on the Progression of Reading Development from Level A to Level L on the Narrative Poetry Strand.
AusVELS and developmental progression levels for reading comprehension and teaching strategies
AusVELS is a single coherent curriculum framework for Victorian schools for years Foundation-10 which incorporates the Australian Curriculum within a framework that reflects Victorian priorities and approaches to teaching and learning.
The teaching strategies in the PLT logs are linked to the twelve reading comprehension developmental levels (A-L) on the Progression of Reading Development and as such there is not a direct correspondence to the Mode Scope and Sequence Chart for AusVELS English. Whilst the Mode Scope and Sequence Chart for AusVELS English provides the sequence of content descriptions across year levels rather than across developmental progression levels, it was not overlooked when the teaching strategies and PLT logs were being developed.
Teachers are advised to view the Mode Scope and Sequence Chart for AusVELS English (from year level 3 through to year level 9) holistically in relation to using this resource and are reminded to look at content descriptions beyond the specific year level they are teaching.
A matrix or taxonomy has been created for the levels on the Progression of Reading Development and is to be used as a prompt for teachers to critically evaluate the appropriateness of using a particular strategy to achieve the desired learning intention.
Key elements of teaching strategies: Questioning and discussion
Questioning is one element of many of the teaching strategies listed within the professional learning team logs. The method of questioning used by a teacher is important. It is not a matter of just asking students questions during or after reading – indeed "heavy handed prompting can actually interfere with the development of smooth, largely unconscious processing of text … (and) it would be a mistake to think that we are teaching processing strategies merely by asking questions." (Fountas & Pinnell 2006, p13). Given this, teachers are advised that their questioning should be delivered as part of "a productive and dynamic interchange which will show students ways of thinking about texts before, during, and after reading." (Fountas & Pinnell 2006, p13). To this end, teachers should "plan a few (but not too many) pauses during the reading, but not always to ask questions ... (and) work to make the interchange more like a conversation than questioning." (Fountas & Pinnell 2006, p13).
Conversation then is similarly a critical component of the teaching strategies listed within the PLT logs. Further commentary around the importance of talk about text can be found in a video featuring Professor Peter Freebody. In the video 'Talk Around Text', Freebody discusses how teachers can better support children in reading. He suggests that the kind of talk that takes place around texts is critical and that teachers can support students gain a deeper understanding of material by having extended conversations about texts and by modelling. Teachers could watch this video as part of a PLT meeting before exploring and discussing the strategies. Similarly the video 'Rich Talk About Text' featuring Professor P. David Pearson provides insightful commentary related to reading instruction and teachers may find it a useful resource for professional learning.
Fountas, I. C. & G.S. Pinnell. 2006. Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading, K–8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
Videos related to talking about texts
Talk Around Text
Rich Talk About Text
ReadWriteThink, created by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, provides instructional practices and digital resources that support effective reading and language arts instruction for all learners. It includes strategy guides that define and provide examples of effective literacy teaching and learning strategies and offer a wealth of related resources related to instruction.
MyRead - Strategies for teaching reading in the middle years, Department of Education, Science and Training, Australia
Learning and Teaching Structure for the Three Phases of Reading, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria
Literacy Professional Learning Resource, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria
Fountas, I. C. & Pinnell, G.S. 2006. Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading, K–8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann