Unlock the Magic of Reading

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Teacher: Michelle
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Monitoring Comprehension

0 Course Introduction 05:55

This video describes the topics covered in the course.

1 Thinking About Texts Part 1 09:10

It's important to help children become aware of the inner dialogue that all proficient thinkers engage in when they view, listen, or read.  With such awareness, children can steer their thinking and enter texts, whether viewing, listening, or reading and expect to interact with the pictures, the words, and the author.

2 Thinking About Texts, Part 1 Review lesson 02:14

This lesson will review how readers leave tracks of their thinking as they read a text.

3 Thinking About Texts Part 2 10:29

Children are already having inner conversations about what they hear, see, and read. They are noticing, wondering, making connections, and judgements all the time.

4 Thinking About Texts, Part 2 Review Lesson 02:06

While reading texts, good readers often evoke memories from their own lives, have questions about the events or characters, generate interesting ideas and make connections to the texts they are reading.  This review lesson demonstrates examples of each type of thinking.

5 Fact vs. Fiction 12:46

Using paired texts (paired fiction and non-fiction text on a similar topic) will help children notice the difference in text structures.  Also point out the differences in the author's purpose for creating the text (to entertain vs. to inform, explain, or instruct).

6 Fact vs. Fiction Review lesson 02:12

Good readers understand that their are different types of texts.  This lesson shows examples of features of each type of text (nonfiction and fiction).

7 Nonfiction Features, Part 1 08:50

In this lesson, five different types of features will be introduced.  In addition, the purpose of each feature will be explained.  In the attached documents, the child will be able to review the features presented and match them to their purposed.

Features included: photographs, captions, headings, bold print and diagrams.

8 Nonfiction Features, Part 1 Review lesson 02:32

This lesson reviews five different features found in nonfiction texts.

9 Nonfiction Features, Part 2 08:44

In this lesson, five different types of features will be introduced.  In addition, the purpose of each feature will be explained.  In the attached documents, the child will be able to review the features presented and match them to their purposed.

Features included: Table of Contents, index, map, glossary, and table.

10 Nonfiction Features, Part 2 Review lesson 02:29

This lesson reviews five additional features found in nonfiction texts.

Activating Schema

11 Discover Your Passion 12:20

The background knowledge we bring to our learning colors every aspect of our understanding.  Whether we are connecting, questioning, or inferring, our background knowledge is the foundation of our thinking.  We can't understand what we hear, read, or view without thinking about what we already know. This lesson encourages young learners to think about what they already know and care about and explore those topics.

12 Discover Your Passion Review lesson 01:43

This lesson will review the concept of schema. It also describes specialists and prompts the viewer to think about three topics they know a lot about and could teach others about.

13 Think About What You Know 12:30

Nonfiction texts, with their print and visual features, are a wonderful model for writing teaching books.  In this lesson, children will come to understand that nonfiction writing is about writing to inform or to teach.  After viewing a model of how to write this type of text, children will choose a topic from their Specialist Topic List (created in the last lesson).  They will create nonfiction teaching books with text, illustrations (or photographs), and features.  They will use their nonfiction features worksheets to support them as they create a range of print and visual features in their teaching books.

14 Think About What You Know Review lesson 02:09

This lesson reviews key decisions writers of nonfiction texts consider and think about.

15 Merging Thinking with New Learning 09:37

When we stop, think about, and react to information, we learn, understand, and remember it.  This video will help children pay attention to their "inner voice," when they notice something new or interesting.  This lesson models how to use a nonfiction text with great photographs and "wow facts."

16 Merge Thinking With New Learning Review lesson 01:49

This lesson reviews the ways that good readers stop and think about information as they are reading nonfiction texts.

Making Connections

17 Making Text to Self Connections 11:26

Children learn by relating their understanding of something new to what they already know.  The need to process what they are reading, to talk about it, write about it, and ponder it.  This is how they make connections that will allow them to remember what they read.

18 Making Text to Self Connections Review lesson 02:04

This lesson reviews how good readers use their personal experiences to help them understand the texts they read.

19 Making Text to Text Connections 11:18

With text to text connections, what you read reminds you of something else you have read or seen on television or the movies.

20 Making Text to Text Connections Review lesson 02:11

This lesson reviews listening to your inner voice and making connections to both personal experiences and other texts.

21 Making Text to World Connections 12:47

As you read with your child, you model different types of connections by reading a page or paragraph.  Take the opportunity to discuss newspaper articles or something that was on the news.  What you are doing is showing your child that reading goes far beyond the words on the page.  It goes into your past and out in the world.

22 Making Text to World Connections Review lesson 02:08

This lesson reviews how good readers can use texts to help them understand real world events.

23 Making Connections Review Lesson 10:24

This lesson will review all three types of connections modeled in previous lessons.

24 Making Connections Review--All Types 02:40

This lesson review the three types of connections good readers can make while reading texts--text to self, text to text, text to world.

Asking Questions

25 Wonder about New Learning 16:43

This video lesson will demonstrate how curiosity can fuel new learning.  As the text is read aloud, thinking will be modeled to share both new learning and questions that arise from the content.

26 Wonder about New Learning Review lesson 02:16

This lesson reviews how good readers think and wonder as they read nonfiction texts. They record their thinking as they read.

27 Ask Questions As You Read 11:04

Good readers wonder and ask questions as they read.  This video lesson focuses on helping kids identify their questions and use them to better understand the text.  Sometimes questions are not answered and lead to further exploration.

28 Ask Questions As You Read Review lesson 01:55

In this lesson, being curious and searching for answers to questions while reading a nonfiction text is reviewed.

29 Ask Questions As You Read, Part 2 18:31

To be able to ask questions, children must be actively thinking about and working with the text.

In this follow-up lesson, using questions both before and while reading a text to fuel learning are featured. A new "think sheet" is introduced to prompt children to reread the text searching for answers and investigate other sources of information, such as the Internet.

30 Ask Questions As You Read, Part 2 Review lesson 03:00

This lesson reviews how good readers ask questions both before and while they are reading. Sometimes they have questions that they need to search other sources of information to locate answers.

31 Use Strategies to Find Answers, Part 1 15:32

This lesson will focus on visual literacy, learning to "read" pictures to gain meaning.  Using all sources of information from a text will lead to deeper understanding of the content presented.

32 Use Strategies to Find Answers, Part 1 Review lesson 02:17

This lesson reviews how good readers find information in both texts and images when searching for answers.

33 Use Strategies To Find Answers, Part 2 17:41


The lesson goal is to help kids see how they can use the navigational features of a text to help them read productively with a question in mind.  Instead of looking through a whole book, this lesson models how to use the Table of Contents and Index to locate information which helps readers when they have a specific question in mind.

34 Use Strategies To Find Answers, Part 2 Review lesson 02:44

This lesson reviews two text features previously introduced, Table of Contents and the index. These features were used as a strategy to find answers to questions presented in the lesson.


35 Learn to Visualize 10:55

As you read a poem or pause are you delve into a novel, a picture forms in your mind.  Certain sights and feelings emerge, depending on what you're reading and what life experiences you bring to it.  Information come to you through your senses.  This is called visualizing or creating mental images and can trigger a wide range of memories and feelings.  Sensory images make reading three-dimensional.  They are critically important to children, because they make reading vivid and fun.

This lesson will focus on using short texts (poems) to help your child create mental images.  The poems utilized in this lesson lend themselves to strong visuals about common childhood experiences.

36 Learn to Visualize Review lesson 02:27

This lesson review the key words from selected poems and explains the images created.

37 Making Movies in Your MInd 09:56

Children need to be taught that the words read, and the words read to them, have the power to create a movie in their minds.  Sensory images play a valuable monitoring role.  Once a child understands that there should be a movie running in her mind, she realizes that something isn't right when the movie stops or gets fuzzy.  

This lesson introduces the concept of movies in your mind, through the use of wordless picture books.  The reader has to interpret what is going on in the illustrations and fills in the missing pieces between the scenes of the book to create meaning.

38 Movies In Your Mind Review lesson 02:21

This lesson reviews how good readers connect scenes in a text to understand the story.

39 Thinking Like an Illustrator 11:04

Research suggests that there are two advantages to creating and using mental images when reading: images provide a framework for organizing and remembering information from texts; and mental images help integrate information across texts.

This lesson helps children visualize the different components of a good story.  A graphic organizer (Storyboard) is used to help children remember/retell the story.

40 Thinking Like an Illustrator Review lesson 02:12

This lesson reviews what good readers do as they visualize using both their background knowledge and the words the author wrote to get pictures in their mind.

41 How Writers Create Images 08:47

This lesson focuses on the use of figurative language.  Figurative language uses words or expressions to convey a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation.  Figurative language is to a writer what a paintbrush is to an artist.  It has the ability to be more impactful than literal writing; it can expande a reader's interpretations and broaden their imaginings.

42 How Writers Create Images Review lesson 01:53

This lesson reviews how authors use figurative language to enhance the meaning of their texts.

Making Inferences

43 Infer With Background Knowledge and Text Clues 14:31

Inferring is at the heart of reading and thinking. It involves merging what you know, your background knowledge, with clues in the text to come up with the information that isn't explicitly stated.  Inferring is introduced by looking at a photograph and thinking about what we know, then explaining what we think based on the information in the "text".  A graphic organizer is used to record thinking.  An attached document lists other book titles for use with this concept, as making inferences is a skill that develops over time and with experience.

44 Infer With Background Knowledge and Text Clues Review lesson 02:18

During this review lesson, inferences are explained based on the clues the author wrote in the text.

45 Making Predictions 20:19

Good readers use predicting as a way to connect their existing knowledge to new information from a text to get meaning from what they read.  Directed Reading Thinking Activity is a comprehension strategy that will be modeled in this lesson.

46 Making Predictions Review lesson 02:15

In this review lesson, making predictions based on the book cover, title, book jacket text and schema are modeled and explained.

47 Make Sense of New Information 11:29

During this lesson, children will use the language of inferring to describe their inner conversation.  They will combine their background knowledge with clues from the text (words, images, features) to make reasonable inferences.  They will be able to talk about and record their inferences, providing evidence from the text to support their thinking.

48 Make Sense of New Information Review lesson 02:26

In this lesson, I review and explain how the nonfiction features were used to infer meaning of new information.

49 Infer With Narrative Nonfiction 08:02

Narrative nonfiction is a genre that introduces factual information in a familiar story format.  During this lesson, a model of how to infer new vocabulary will be introduced.  Children will learn to use both clues in the illustrartions as well as context clues.

50 Infer With Narrative Nonfiction Review lesson 02:23

In this review lesson, I explain how to infer meaning of unknown words using both the pictures and text.

51 Inferring Big Ideas 09:42

Readers use their prior knowledge and textual clues to draw conclusions and form unique interpretations of texts.  The theme or "big idea" can be applied to life and is not explicitly stated, it must be inferred.  In this lesson, thinking about key events and what can be inferred will be modeled.

52 Inferring Big Ideas Review lesson 02:28

In this review lesson, I explain how to infer meaning using quotes from the text to understand key events in the story.

Determining Importance

53 Listening for Importance 09:04

Close reading is an interaction that involves observation and interpretation between a reader and a text.  In this lesson, song lyrics provide the text.  Children listen to a song a few times to determine what is most important and deepen their understanding of the message the songwriter is conveying.

54 Listening for Importance Review lesson 02:19

In this lesson I review key events from the text/song and explain the meaning I inferred.

55 Identifying Important Ideas--Fictional Texts 10:33

Determining importance has to do with knowing why you're reading and then making decisions about which information or ideas are most critical to understanding the overall meaning of the piece.  Knowing your purpose for reading a text helps determine what you deem important.  Additionally, text structure also aids in determining importance.

56 Identifying Important Ideas--Fictional Texts Review lesson 02:27

In this lesson, I review story elements that were important to understanding the text. I identify details that made the story more interesting to read.

57 Identifying Important Information--Nonfiction Texts 16:05

Young children tend to think that everything is important.  We can help children determine what is important by pointing out nonfiction text features and asking questions to guide their thinking. This lesson models how to read a nonfiction text and think about what is just an interesting detail and distinguish it from main ideas that support understanding of the topic.

58 Identifying Important Information--Nonfiction Texts Review lesson 02:36

In this lesson, I review how to distinguish important information from interesting details using a nonfiction text. What is the big idea of the text? What are facts that are interesting, but that aren't necessary to remember?

59 Paraphrase Information 11:34

Paraphrasing nonfiction texts takes time and practice.  As your child becomes more familiar with paraphrasing, choose short texts with nonfiction features to use.  Expand on your child's comments as they react and respond to the new information.  Show them how to merge their thinking with the new information.  When children shape their learning into a new thought, they are much more likely to understand and remember it.

60 Paraphrase Information Review lesson 03:09

This lesson reviews how to paraphrase a nonfiction text. Readers paraphrase a text by reacting and responding to new information while merging what they know about the topic.

61 Organize Your Thinking 12:14

This lesson will teach your child what annotation means. A model will be presented using a simple coding system.  As you or your child reads a short text, they will learn to write simple notes and organize their thinking as facts, questions, or reactions to the text.  In this way, they will be able keep track of their thinking and have a deeper understanding of the concepts developed from the text.

62 Organize Your Thinking Review lesson 02:16

In this lesson, annotating a nonfiction text is modeled using a code to sort notes into three categories: facts, questions and responses.

Summarizing and Synthesizing

63 Summarizing Fictional Texts 14:01

Sequencing is one of many skills that contributes to students’ ability to comprehend what they read.  Sequencing refers to the identification of the components of a story—the beginning, middle, and end–-and also to the ability to retell the events within a given text in the order in which they occurred.  In this lesson, as the child listens to a text read aloud, the teacher will model how to identify important events happening in the story and record them by drawing an image and writing a short description. In this way, they will learn to summarize a fictional text.

64 Summarizing Fictional Texts Review Lesson 02:47

This lesson reviews how good readers summarize stories by retelling the main idea and details from the beginning, middle and end of the text.

65 Summarizing Informational Texts 10:25

During this lesson, your child will learn how to record notes onto a graphic organizer while they are reading informational texts.  Next, using the completed graphic organizer they will learn how to transfer that information to create a written summary of the text.

66 Summarizing Informational Texts Part 1 Review lesson 02:29

This lesson reviews how good readers record key details from an informational text in order to summarize what the text was about.

67 Summarizing Informational Texts, Part 2 12:33

Text structure refers to how the author has organized the information in the text. Teaching your child to identify the text structure will help them prepare to read the information,  retell or summarize the information, and can help organize their writing.  A graphic organizer is provided to assist your child when note taking key events.  This will help them understand relationships between events and determine their significance.

68 Summarizing Informational Texts, Part 2 Review lesson 03:05

In this second lesson, summarizing an informational text with a time order or sequence of events structure is explained. This lesson reviews how to record key events in order to summarize the big idea.

69 Synthesize Big Ideas from Fiction 09:33

When we synthesize, we pull together the most important points from our reading, but we move beyond what’s stated by the author. We focus on the insights that we gained from reading. We notice how our thinking changes as we read, so that when we finish, we can put our thinking and learning together in new ways.  We learn big ideas from the character's words and actions in the story.

70 Synthesize Big Ideas from Fiction Review lesson 02:31

This lesson reviews how good readers merge their thinking with the text to create new meaning from the text. They use the character's words and actions to determine the big idea of the text.

71 Explore and Investigate Nonfiction 18:08

When we synthesize, we pull together the most important points from our reading, but we move beyond what's stated by the author.  We put our thinking and learning together in new ways--the essence of synthesis.

72 Explore and Investigate Nonfiction Review lesson 03:03

This lesson review how good readers use comprehension strategies to merge what they know with new information to create meaning. Their thinking grows and gets bigger when they synthesize texts.

Course Overview

This resource is designed to help children understand what they view, hear, and read.  Research has conclusively shown that proficient readers use specific thinking strategies to unlock meaning and provide understanding (Pearson and Duke, 2002). Children are eager to find out what's in the world and how it works.  We can draw on their curiosity and eagerness while helping them understand, remember, and apply what they read.  Parents are in an ideal position to inspire a passion for reading and help their children become avid readers.

This course provides model lessons for each comprehension strategy being developed.

Course Includes

  • Over 8.5 hours of video lessons
  • 36 lessons, highlighting 8 comprehension strategies
  • 36 review videos to accompany each lesson
  • 92 documents provided in this course, these include documents for your child to use while practicing the strategy
  • Support documents for parents and caregivers which explains the lesson, extends the lesson beyond the text used in the model and builds on the lessons provided, utilizing different recommended texts.

Course Outline

Monitoring Comprehension: 5 lessons, 5 review videos, 12 documents

Activating Schema: 3 lessons, 3 review videos, 7 documents

Making Connections: 4 lessons, 4 review videos, 11 documents

Asking Questions: 5 lessons, 5 review videos, 12 documents

Visualizing: 4 lessons, 4 review videos, 9 documents

Making Inferences: 5 lessons, 5 review videos, 15 documents

Determining Importances: 5 lessons, 5 review videos, 12 documents

Summarizing and Synthesizing: 5 lessons, 5 review videos, 14 documents

Course Goals

  • Comprehend content and information that is viewed, heard and read
  • Develop strategies to unlock meaning and provide understanding of any text

Target Audience

Children in grades K-3

Course Requirements

The lessons should be used in sequence.  Each lesson builds on prior lesson content and knowledge.

There is no prerequisite knowledge needed prior to beginning the course.

  • Teacher: Michelle
  • Areas of expertise: Elementary Grades, Kindergarten Reading Specialist
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, National Board Certification, Early Childhood Generalist
  • Interests: Reading, travel, photography
  • Skills: Mentor to National Board Teacher Candidates, Supervisor to Student Teaching Interns/Residents, Assessor for TAP (The System for Teacher and Student Advancement)
  • Associations: National Board Certified Teacher International Literacy Association International Baccalaureate Organization 30 years experience teaching in both public and private schools
  • Issues I care about: Children's Literacy Global Citizenship

I am intensely passionate about teaching. I love seeing the sparks in children's eyes as they learn new things and grow in their confidence. I am a true lifelong learner, always seeking ways to improve and refine my teaching practices. I discovered the comprehension strategies I currently use about 13 years ago. It has definitely changed how I teach my students to read!

Fact vs. Fiction Sorting worksheet answer key

Answer key for the Fact vs. Fiction sorting worksheet

Nonfiction Features

Answer key for Determining Importance sorting sheet

This document is part of Determining Importance strategy, lesson Identifying Important Information--Fictional Texts.

Answer key for What's Important? Nonfiction texts

Provides the answers to student sorting worksheet
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