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Book Review - Build Comprehension

Building comprehension skills is important in the elementary grades. The Reading Passages That Build Comprehension series by Scholastic offers short fiction and non-fiction passages based on teaching the following comprehension skills:

Identifying and summarizing the main idea is an important skill for elementary grade readers. The ability to read and summarize the main idea, and identify related supporting details, is often listed on state and common core standards as a learning goal. Understanding the concept of main idea and supporting details is also important for students who are learning to write paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting details.

Reading Passages That Build Comprehension: Main Idea and Details provides an introductory mini-lesson, four pages to introduce and practice the concept of main idea, practice pages, assessments, a student record sheet, and an answer key. The practice passages are very short – one paragraph long, fitting on a half page – which provides opportunities for regular progress monitoring or quick daily practice for students who haven’t mastered this skill. The reading level for the passages is listed as second – third grade level, however, the content is interesting enough to keep fourth and fifth graders engaged.

Each teacher resource in the series follows the same format. Some, like Reading Passages That Build Comprehension: Inference, offer two passages per page. These resources are simple to use with a small or large group. Students who master the concept quickly can periodically show that they have retained the information using new passages. Students who have difficulty with comprehension can use the practice passages during small group mini-lessons, independent practice, or homework.

I recommend this series as a way to introduce, practice and review comprehension skills. While the passages are not long or in-depth enough to use effectively to prepare for annual state reading tests, they are just right for quick, daily practice and review.

I purchased these titles with my own funds, and have used them with students for several years.

Main Ideas & Summarizing: 35 Reading Passages for Comprehension is available at Amazon.com.

Inferences & Drawing Conclusions: 35 Reading Passages for Comprehension is available at Amazon.com.

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