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Are we supposed to teach reading strategies or not? I keep coming across contradictory information. Some writers say the research supports strategy teaching and some say that we should teach background information instead. I respect your opinion. What do you think?
Many studies – hundreds actually – have shown that teaching comprehension strategies can improve reading comprehension (Filderman, Austin, Boucher, O’Donnell, & Swanson, 2022; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). That’s a pretty strong argument for teaching strategies.
That’s why I’ve taught them to students myself.
That’s why I sometimes use them when I’m reading.
The first question to ask ourselves, it seems to me, is why do strategies help? How do they make someone a better reader?
I remember Dick Venezky telling me that one of the big benefits of phonics instruction was that it got kids to look at the words, to look at all the letters in the words. At the time, I thought that was glib. But over time, I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom in that explanation.
My answer for why and how strategies work is as glib as that.
Strategies do two things for readers.