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Reading Comprehension: The Key to Academic Achievement Presenter: Amy Benjamin. Today’s Presentation: Reading comprehension in the intermediate grades The relationship between background knowledge and comprehension 3. The comprehension process: Before, During, After

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Reading Comprehension: The Key to Academic Achievement

Presenter: Amy Benjamin

  • Today’s Presentation:
  • Reading comprehension in the intermediate grades
  • The relationship between background knowledge and
  • comprehension
  • 3. The comprehension process: Before, During, After
  • Outlining as a note-taking, reading comprehension strategy
  • The Five Gears of Reading
  • 6. Academic vocabulary development
  • through immersion

You may access today’s visuals at: (Reading Comprehension: 2010)


Science Reading Survey





I understand what

I read for science


I need to read things

again to understand.

I look at the

photographs to help

me understand.

I think the captions

help me understand

the photographs, tables,

and charts.

I read the titles, headings

and subheadings.

I think I have a good

science vocabulary.

focus strategies for all subjects
Focus Strategiesfor All Subjects:

1. Read aloud/think aloud (model your

thinking process as you read)

2. Getting reading and writing to support each

other (writing-to-learn activities)

3. Direct vocabulary instruction


Middle Sch

High Sch




























Main idea

Main idea

Main idea


Boxes & Bullets

the reading process before during after
The Reading Process:BeforeDuringAfter


B:Connect ! (4 connections)

D: Concentrate ! (5 behaviors)

A: Complete ! (3 choices)

Or, 3F’s:

B: Frontload

D: Focus

A: Finish

the reading process before connect
The Reading Process:Before: Connect !

3 C’s

Connection 1: Background knowledge (incl. key


Connection 2: Text type (organizational structure)

Connection 3: Establish a purpose for reading

Connection 4: Overview

before connect
Before: Connect!

3 C’s

“What comes to mind when I say the word______?”

“What do/does ___________remind you of?”

“What do you see in your mind when I say ______?”

“What words are you seeing that you need to know more


before connect1
Before: Connect!

3 C’s

Building Background Knowledge:

Pre-teach new vocab

Present visuals

Connect to personal experience

before connect prepare for the genre how is it organized
Before: Connect!Prepare for the genre How is it organized?

3 C’s

Picture the structure. Set up a “mental closet” to contain

the information. Think about what you expect in this


before connect have a focus for reading
Before: Connect!Have a focus for reading.

3 C’s

Decide what you are looking for. (page 86)

before connect get an overview
Before: Connect! Get an Overview

3 C’s




Introductory paragraph

Every first sentence of every paragraph

Visuals and Vocabulary

End-of-chapter questions


the reading process during concentrate
The Reading Process:During: Concentrate!

3 C’s

Adjust the environment: eliminate all sensory


Visualize: Look for imagery in the text

Visualize the organizational structure

Monitor comprehension: Be prepared to reread and/or

seek outside help

Be an active reader: Anticipate, react, predict, question


the reading process after complete
The Reading Process:After:Complete!

3 C’s

Write, talk, or draw


Five Gears of Reading:

Skim it: Scan it: Sample it: Read it:

(optional) Study it:

Go back, as necessary,

getting a more useful and

permanent understanding.

This may involve working

with a partner, taking

notes, creating graphic

organizers, and other

meaning-making activities.

Now that you’ve let the

text wash over you, read

it thoroughly: every word,

every sentence, every


Glance over it;

(30 secs

per page); get

the gist; be able to

state what it is about

in a complete sentence

Look it over with

an eagle’s eye, scanning

for specific information,

such as information that

has key words to answer


Find a segment that is most interesting to you

and read it carefully.


Sleet, hail, and snow are examples

of water changing into a solid

state when the air temperature

is at the freezing point of water.


The Academic Word List (AWL):

Background:The Academic Word List consists of 570 word families that are not in the most

frequent 2,000 words of English but which occur frequently over a very wide range of academic texts.

These 570 word families are grouped into ten subsets that reflect word frequency.

A word like analyze falls into Subset 1, which contains the most frequent words, while the word

adjacent falls into Subset 10 which includes the least frequent (among this list of high incidence words).

The AWL is not restricted to a specific field of study. That means that the words are useful for learners

studying in disciplines as varied as literature, science, health, business, and law.

This high-utility academic word list does not contain technical words likely to appear in one,

specific field of study such as amortization, petroglyph, onomatopoeia, or cartilage.

Two-thirds of all academic English derive from Latin or Greek.

Understandably, knowledge of the most high-incidence adademic words in English can significantly

boost a student’s comprehension level of school-based reading material. Students who are taught

these high-utility academic words and routinely placed in contexts requiring their usage are likely

to be able to master academic material with more confidence and efficiency, wasting less time and

energy in guessing words or consulting dictionaries than those who are only equipped with the most

basic 2000-3000 words that characterize ordinary conversation.

The following link gives you a two-page version of the list:

Source: Coxhead, Averil. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 213-238.

academic word list subset 1
Academic Word List: Subset 1

analyze approach area assess assume authority available benefit concept consist context constitute contract data define derive distribute economy environment establish estimate evident factor finance formula function income indicate individual interpret involve issue labor legal legislate major method percent period principle proceed process policy require research respond role section sector significant similar source specific structure theory vary

Academic Word List: Subset 2

achieve acquire administrate affect appropriate

aspect assist category chapter commission community

complex compute conclude conduct consequent construct

consume credit culture design distinct equate element

evaluate feature final focus impact injure institute invest item

journal maintain normal obtain participate perceive positive

potential previous primary purchase range region regulate

regulate relevant reside resource restrict secure seek select

site strategy survey tradition transfer

academic word list subset 3
Academic Word List: Subset 3

alternative circumstance comment compensate component consent considerable constant constrain contribute convene coordinate core corporate correspond criteria deduce demonstrate document dominate emphasis ensure exclude

fund framework illustrate immigrate imply initial instance interact justify layer link locate maximize minor negate outcome philosophy physical proportion publish react register rely remove scheme sequence shift specify

sufficient technical technique technology valid volume

Academic Word List: Subset 4

access adequacy annual apparent approximate attitude

attribute civil code commit communicate concentrate

confer contrast cycle debate despite dimension domestic

emerge error ethnic grant hence hypothesis implement

implicate impose integrate internal investigate

mechanism occupy output overall parallel

parameter phase predict prior principal professional project

promote regime resolve retain series statistic status stress

subsequent sum summary undertake

academic word list subset 5
Academic Word List: Subset 5

academy adjust alter amend aware capacity challeng clause compound conflict consult contact decline discrete draft enable energy enforce entity equivalent evolve expand expose external facilitate fundamental generate generation image liberal license logic margin mental medical modify

monitor network notion objective orient perspective precise

prime psychology pursue ratio reject revenue stable style

substitute sustain symbol target transit trend version welfare whereas

Academic Word List: Subset 6

abstract acknowledge accuracy aggregate allocate assign

attach bond brief capable cite cooperate discriminate

display diverse domain edit enhance estate exceed

explicit federal flexible furthermore gender ignorance

interval lecture migrate minimum ministry motive neutral

nevertheless overseas precede presume rational recover

reveal scope subsidy trace transform transport underlie utilize

academic word list subset 7
Academic Word List: Subset 7

adapt adult advocate aid channel chemical classic

comprehensive comprise confirm contrary convert

decade definite deny differentiate dispose dynamic equip

eliminate empirical extract file finite foundation grade

guarantee hierarchy identical ideology infer innovate insert

intervene isolate media mode paradigm phenomenon priority

prohibit publication release reverse simulate sole

submit successor thesis topic transmit ultimate unique

Academic Word List: Subset 8

abandon accompany accumulate ambiguous appendix appreciate

arbitrary automate bias chart clarify commodity complement

conform contemporary contradict crucial currency denote

detect deviate displace eventual exhibit exploit

fluctuate guideline highlight implicit induce inevitable infrastructure

inspect intense manipulate minimize nuclear offset paragraph

practitioner predominant prospect radical random reinforce

restore revise schedule tense terminate theme thereby uniform

vehicle via virtual visual widespread

academic word list subset 9
Academic Word List: Subset 9

accommodate analogy anticipate assure attain behalf cease

coherent coincide commence compatible concurrent confine

controversy converse device devote diminish distort duration

erode ethic format inherent insight integral intermediate

manual mature mediate medium military minimal mutual norm

overlap passive portion preliminary protocol qualitative refine

restrain revolution rigid scenario sphere subordinate

supplement suspend temporary trigger unify violate vision

Academic Word List: Subset 10

adjacent albeit assemble collapse colleague compile conceive

convince depress encounter forthcoming incline integrity intrinsic

invoke levy likewise nonetheless notwithstanding ongoing

panel persist pose reluctance so-called straightforward undergo

whereas whereby


Categories of Word Knowledge:


  • I. Naming a well-known concept:


II. New word for a simple but new concept


Categories of Word Knowledge:



quadratic equation


  • New word/ new, complex concept
  • Concept may be understood on progressively deeper level



Categories of Word Knowledge:





  • IV: Narrowing the meaning of a known word
of limited value
Of Limited Value…

Lists alone

Context alone

Definitions alone

Dictionaries and Glossaries alone

Of Durable Value…

Words in clusters

Multiple exposures in various contexts

Chances to speak, hear, write the words

Manipulation of forms of words

Classify and categorize word lists

Word games

rule of thumb
Rule of Thumb

New learners need SIX (meaningful)

exposures to a new word during the

initial lesson and at least

THIRTY additional exposures

during the ensuing month.