Teach thinking strategies. Once students have the vocabulary to be able to make it through a text, they often struggle with the complex thinking or sustained attention required to keep up with all of the important details and to access information that is implied but not directly stated. Teachers can instruct students on cognitive strategies they can use such as annotation, discussing or activating prior knowledge, developing questions while reading, visualizing or picturing what they are reading, and making predictions about what will come next in the text.
Practice of reciprocal teaching. Once taught, cognitive strategies can be consistently practiced and implemented through the use of reciprocal teaching, which encourages students to take a leadership role in their learning and begin to think about their thought process while listening or reading. Teachers can use reciprocal teaching during class discussions, with text that is read aloud, and later with text that is read in groups.
Teach vocabulary. Because students with poor comprehension often have poor vocabulary skills and understand less of what they hear, it’s helpful to teach the meanings of new words through the use of multi-sensory strategies like graphic organizers, pictures, and mnemonics. Improving their overall language skills increases the likelihood that they will understand the words they encounter in written text. Since it is impossible to know every word one might encounter, students should be taught about the different types of context clues and how to use them to determine the meaning of unknown words.