Development

Comprehension is expected to continually develop over time, in other words,comprehension is a growth construct, not a mastery construct. For example, a mastery construct would be learning the Alphabet. Once a person knows the Alphabet, there is no more growth in that area. One can become always become a better comprehender. Comprehension is developed in a variety of ways, there is not one way in which readers learn to be comprehenders of text. Readers may have various advantages and disadvantages in reading comprehension. For example, if a child is not able to read fluently and reads on a word by word basis, that child is going to struggle more in comprehension than a child that reads fluently. Factors that can influence comprehension are vocabulary knowledge, word recognition and decoding abilities, fluency (automaticity, accuracy, and prosody), a reader’s schema, reading strategies, motivation, short-term memory, and more generally, oral language. The role of fluency in comprehension is important because the more fluent a reader is, the more attention and resources the reader can dedicate to the meaning of the text. Comprehension is developed through instruction such as Think- Alouds, student-generated questions, or explicit instructions. Readers must be taught comprehension strategies in order to develop in this area.

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