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Reading comprehension strategies (senior primary years 5–8)

Workshop plan


  • To support students in using comprehension strategies when reading.
  • To alert parents/caregivers to how comprehension strategies might be used with their children at home.
  • For students to share with parents/caregivers and teachers their knowledge, understandings, and uses of comprehension strategies.
  • For teachers to learn what they might do in their own practice to build on parent/caregivers’ reading practices with their children at home.


Download and outline of the generic workshop structure:

Word icon. Generic workshop structure (Word, 32 KB)

Suggested approach

1. Whole group

Talk about the importance of being able to read quickly and easily in today’s world. Comprehension strategies, which we are going to talk about today, help us when we read. Comprehension strategies help us think about the text we read and get its full meaning.

2. Small group

The group discusses what the words comprehension and strategies mean, within the reading context. The lead teacher names some comprehension strategies used in New Zealand (ELP) and explains that comprehension strategies are used in combinations by readers, not just one strategy at a time. The lead parent lists several comprehension strategies. (The lead parent, lead teacher and teachers may have discussed which strategies will be introduced at this meeting). Handout A, with all the comprehension strategies, may be given out to provide a big picture for parents/caregivers, or they may just be given Handout B with the strategy specific to the session. After the handout has been read, the group discusses what this means.

The lead teacher reads a piece of text in the appropriate language (or the parents do this in pairs) and questions or wonderings are posed. The questions or wonderings are posed in such a way that the readers must use the particular strategy that is the focus in order to answer the question. The group then discusses whether and how the strategy helped them to understand the text.

If possible, watch a parent reading with a child in their language and identify when the child uses a particular comprehension strategy in their reading Listen for the questions or prompts the parent gives to the child to help them use the strategy and understand the text in a deeper way. Some parents/caregivers could make notes of what the child says and the information could then be discussed after the viewing.

3. Whole group

This is a sharing session with all parents/caregivers and teachers. The lead parent (if comfortable) or lead teacher can report about what they have learned, what they wondered about, what questions they might have for the teachers and what they may wish to tell the teachers. Notes are made of this part of the session, as appropriate.

When they join in as part of the whole group, teachers may be able to answer some of the questions they have on their sheet (Handout C). If appropriate, a time may be organised for further discussion and demonstrations.

Parents and teachers identify what they might try out over the next week or two and how they could get feedback about it.

Gather data

Refer back to the outline of the generic workshop structure, above.

Farewell and follow-up steps

Refer back to the outline of the generic workshop structure, above.

Resource sheets

Handouts for parents/caregivers

A: Overview of comprehension strategies.

Word icon. Handout A reading comprehension strategies (Senior Primary) (Word, 43 KB)

B: Specific comprehension strategies.

Word icon. Handout B reading comprehension strategies (Senior Primary) (Word, 39 KB)

Handout for teachers

C: Parents and comprehension strategies.

Word icon. Handout C reading comprehension strategies (Senior Primary) (Word, 32 KB)

Published on: 01 Apr 2020