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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Comprehension Skills for our Younger Learners

Some might call me the Queen of Picture Books.

Ok-I think only I call myself that. But, I have a point here. My point is that I love, I live for, I thrive off of children's books. I'm just as happy in the children's section of a book store as I am at a nice dinner or the beach.

And I share my love for children's books with my students and my children. There is no doubt that all the kids in my life know of my affinity for children's books.

At home we eat them up like candy. At school, we make time for them every single day. We use them to teach and reinforce concepts like character traits, plot, summarizing, fact and opinion, grammar skills, and inter-disciplinary skills. I love using them to model reading comprehension skills with my youngest learners.

But I like to follow up with something more concrete too. I like to see evidence of their mastery of comprehension skills. That's why, along with picture books, I use reading passages with my students to reinforce comprehension skills.

I started writing my own passages for first graders when I couldn't find what I was looking for on Teachers Pay Teachers. A lot of what I was finding featured passages broken down by phonetic skills only. And while I think that's great and can serve a purpose, it wasn't serving mine.

Little Learners was born when I started writing seasonal, high-interest passages for my own intervention students. The passages were written for first graders, but I find them effective for my struggling second graders as well.

The passages start simple and build in complexity and difficulty as the year goes on. Above is an example of an August passage. The text is simple and repetitive.

Here is a passage from the April Edition of Little Learners Comprehension. Notice how the text got more complex?

Because time is always an issue for teachers, I wanted something that would incorporate grammar and phonetic skills, but I didn't want those types of skills to dictate the whole passage. So, I added a "Find It"section that incorporates phonics, grammar, and extra story elements.

Kids love any chance to use crayons or markers, so I added a drawing component.'s actually a comprehension question in disguise.

And our younger learners need opportunities to respond to questions in writing. There's no circling their answers in different color crayons here. I think it's an awesome strategy for locating information in text and I use it. I even have them do it from time to time with my passages. But they are ALWAYS WRITING in addition to locating information.

And lastly, I want them to connect to the story or look at it deeper. Most of my passages feature a "Write About It" section. Sometimes the heading is called "Infer It" or "Connect It", but it always has students looking deeper into the text.

I love that I get to tackle all of these concepts with a SHORT passage written just for my youngest learners. We get to do all of the above skills on ONE PAGE! And my students are almost always fans of the stories on the passages (there's always one, right? hehehe)

Want to try a free sample of my Little Learners Comprehension Passages? Sign up below to have them emailed to you.

Already know you want them? Click HERE to grab them from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Happy Teaching,


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