What is comprehension?

“Comprehension is a process in which the reader constructs meaning by interacting with text” (Harris and Hodges, 1995).  Comprehension is purposeful, active, and can be developed by teaching comprehension strategies.  Comprehension strategies are plans or procedures that readers use and apply when they hear text read aloud, when they read text with a teacher, and when they read independently (Every Child Reads).

Why teach comprehension?

Comprehension is the reason for reading.  If readers can decode the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading (Every Child Reads).  When readers are given cognitive-strategies instruction, they make significant gains on measures of reading comprehension over students trained with conventional instruction (National Reading Panel).