Perhaps the most sweeping changes in reading instruction in the last 15 years are in the area of comprehension.
In response to Durkin's findings, much research in the 1980s was devoted to discovering how to teach comprehension strategies directly.
In the typical study of this type, readers were directly taught how to perform a strategy that skilled readers used during reading.
The specific characteristics of various MRC corpus are listed and compared.
The main ideas of some typical MRC techniques are also described.
Teachers can increase the likelihood that more time for contextual reading will translate into improved comprehension skills in the following ways.
Research from the 1980s indicated that in traditional reading classrooms, time for comprehension instruction was as rare as time for actual text reading. It depends heavily on knowledge—both about the world at large and the worlds of language and print. Comprehension inherently involves inferential and evaluative thinking, not just literal reproduction of the author's words. Two years ago we reviewed the most recent research about comprehension instruction (Pearson and Fielding 1991). In one of the biggest success stories of the time period, research showed repeatedly that comprehension can in fact be taught. Many strategies have been taught successfully: One of the most exciting results of this body of research was that comprehension strategy instruction is especially effective for students who began the study as poor comprehenders—probably because they are less likely to invent effective strategies on their own. Research of the late 1970s and early '80s consistently revealed a strong reciprocal relationship between prior knowledge and reading comprehension ability. “Effectiveness of a Direct Instruction Paradigm for Teaching Main Idea Comprehension.” Reading Research Quarterly 20: 93–108. The more one already knows, the more one comprehends; and the more one comprehends, the more one learns new knowledge to enable comprehension of an even greater and broader array of topics and texts. Then, their abilities both in strategy use and text comprehension were compared either to their own performance before instruction or to the performance of similar readers who were not taught the strategy directly. Explicit instruction, the name given to one such widely researched model, involves four phases: teacher modeling and explanation of a strategy, guided practice during which teachers gradually give students more responsibility for task completion, independent practice accompanied by feedback, and application of the strategy in real reading situations (Pearson and Dole 1987). Here, we revisit that research, supplementing it with current thinking about reading instruction, and transform the most consistent findings into practical guidelines for teachers. A program with these components will set the stage for students to be interested in and to succeed at reading—providing them the intrinsic motivation for continual learning.