Reading Comprehension With Read It Up!

As a teacher, I am always looking for areas to improve on.  I always look at data and my students’ work to see where my teaching can serve them better.  I’m also learning through conferences, professional books, webinars, etc.  One area that I’ve focused on for years is reading comprehension!  We always work on comprehension, but it’s been more teacher-directed, oral, or verbal discussions and just skimmed the surface.  I knew my students could do more and deserved the opportunity to do more!

Reading Comprehension And The Science Of Reading

The science of reading is clear: comprehension is a must. It is a part of the reading rope. Without comprehension, we can’t understand what we’re reading.

reading comprehension and the science of reading
science of reading and reading comprehension

Reading Comprehension With Read It Up

Years ago, our district purchased an IFL unit for us to use as an “exemplar” unit for teaching literacy.  The unit was for two books:  Brave Irene and Dr. DeSoto.  These books are complex texts for kindergarten.  The skills being taught within the unit were also challenging and complex.  After reading through the unit and what was expected, I knew immediately that my students COULD be very successful with the skills IF they had the right tools, support, and scaffolding. Because I believe this, my students (and all students) will succeed with the proper support in place.  And thus was born READ IT UP!

teaching reading comprehension

After the success of our IFL unit, I knew that providing READ IT UP creations for our text would improve our reading comprehension skills.  And I was RIGHT!  We use READ IT UP in our classroom to work on comprehension skills, and I have seen a drastic improvement.  The great thing about our Read It Up! resources is that they work with any curriculum or they work on their own. We actually integrate these resources into our required knowledge-building curriculum.

Read It Up! is an all-inclusive resource. Everything is included to make planning and prepping easier. We generally spend one week on a text. However, these resources can be used for a day or more than a week. They are adaptable to meet the needs of your class and district. For example, we have a Creepy Carrots day and spend an entire day doing Creepy Carrots, and we do gingerbread stories for two weeks!

Reading Comprehension: Turn And Talk

My teaching style is to get kids talking more. This helps the students build confidence in their learning and builds language capacity.    As we’re reading the text, we talk.  We turn and talk to share what we notice and make predictions or answer text-dependent questions.  We also do whole group discussions using text-dependent questions.    The key is to get the kids to talk about the story.  Then, they have ideas to share when it’s time to share.  The turn and talk helps remove some of the fear of sharing their thoughts and ideas!

  As we read, we create our graphic organizers. We might fill in a story map, identifying character traits with text evidence. We might also do graphic organizers after we read the story, such as identifying the main idea or problems and solutions in the story.

teaching reading
reading comprehension lessons
reading comprehension lessons and strategies
reading comprehension notice and wonder

The research is clear that when students write about a text, their comprehension improves, so they write and DRAW. Of course, we don’t expect our students to be writing about text, especially early in the year, so we have them draw and talk. They have to share with me after they draw (or write when they’re ready). This allows me to see how they’re doing with comprehension.

reading comprhension and writing

Reading Comprehension: Writing

Writing in response to the text is a big focus for our Read It Up and comprehension instruction.  We want our students to talk about books and also to be able to write about the text.  The thing to remember is that the standards for kindergarten say writing, drawing, and dictating.  So, we make sure our students utilize those options.  Some students write a sentence or two about the story.  Or some draw a picture and write a word or two.  Some draw a picture and dictate to us.  Those are all acceptable and meet the standards.  One thing we do is have students come to our table one at a time and orally tell us about their drawings so we better understand their comprehension level!

writing lessons for kids

The students’ work is scored using rubrics. This gives us a uniform assessment system so we can have data to guide our instruction. The rubrics work whether the student writes, draws pictures, or dictates their work to you. This was important for me because our students are all working at different levels, and it’s important to meet them where they are!

reading comprehension writing lessons

This is also when we teach how to write. We do not have a writing block or writing curriculum, so we use our Read It Up writing to learn how to write. We work on spacing, punctuation, spelling, etc, during this time.

Read It Up: Grammar

Our Read It Up! resources also contain a grammar lesson.  The grammar skill is closely related to the story and allows for the whole group, explicit instruction of the skill, and independent practice.  We might do nouns, singular/plural words, prepositions, etc.

reading comprehension grammar

Read It Up: Graphing

Each Read It Up resource contains a graphing activity to accompany the story. We’re not only working on math skills (counting, graphing, analyzing data, etc.) but also building in language development. When students place their choice or vote on the graph, they have to share their vote and give reasons or details. This helps with higher-order thinking skills and persuasive writing. This sharing is done in turn and talk but can also be done whole group!

Read It Up:  STEM

We also try to incorporate some science and STEM activities into our Read It Up.  Why?  Because I am a HUGE believer in integrating lessons and standards across all subjects.  It makes sense, makes our job a bit easier, and helps students with critical thinking, problem-solving, and higher-order thinking skills!  Students can complete their STEM challenges alone or with a partner.  They talk, discuss, and strategize.  They solve problems and build language!  Then, they write and draw about their challenge. The STEM challenges are an easy way to make that motivation for reading. The science is precise: if kids like reading, their comprehension improves. These STEM challenges bring the stories to life and increase that love of reading!

reading comprehension lessons for STEM

Here is a suggested Scope & Sequence based on when we use the texts in my classroom. Please note that we frequently add new Read It Up! creations to the collection, so this might not be an exhaustive list of all the creations available at any given time.

WE also have a skills alignment document that lists each Read It Up and the comprehension skills included in that resource!

reading comprehension skills

AND CHECK THIS OUT!  ALL OF OUR READ-IT-UP CREATIONS ARE ALWAYS BUY 1, GET 1 50% OFF! And you can get as many as you want!


Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off in the TKS Store using the code BOGO50. Buy as many as you’d like! 

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