Johns Hopkins University Secondary Support Initiative (JHUSSI)  

Reading Comprehension



Comprehension is the ability to obtain meaning from a text. A primary goal of reading instruction for students is to help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to read grade-level texts with accurate comprehension (RAND, 2002).  Comprehension is the cornerstone of reading. If a reader can decode the words but is not capable of understanding their meaning, then what is the purpose of reading? A well versed reader is constantly thinking while they read. They are connecting their background knowledge and life experiences to the content they are exposed to through a text. Of equal importance, a good reader will identify when they do not understand the information they are reading and will employ strategies to clarify the meaning of a text (Reading Rockets, 2015).


The following lessons guide students to make connections between their background knowledge and the information contained in a text. The lessons highlight strategies that are taught through mnemonics and can be applied across grade levels and content areas.