Stage 3 ONLiNE Course


Comprehension - What do I teach? How do I teach it?

For readers who have developed some fluency with decoding, now is the time to learn how to dig into text to construct meaning and think critically - the art of comprehension. Rather than tackle the "Comprehension Smorgasbord" with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, we provide you with our tried and proven developmental comprehension progression, Stages 3 through 6, which provides systematic coverage of increasingly complex strategies. You will be amazed at what you learn about the way your readers are processing text.

Stage 3: "Unpacking Sentences" (Constructing Meaning)
The launching pad for Comprehension Strategy Instruction is Stage 3.  Whether your readers are working at text with a reading age of 15+ years or 8 years, this is their starting point. Our simple routine (which we think is quite unique) shifts the locus of control from the teacher to the students, providing them with the opportunity to truly habitualise independent comprehension skills that transfer into everyday reading.

Stage 3 ONLiNE Start-Up Workshops and Webinars

Attending a start-up event always helps kick start new learning. Teachers appreciate the opportunity for face-to-face interaction as we outline the research and the pedagogy behind our approach to reading instruction and then provide modelling and practice of our unique guided reading routines. At the end of the day you should walk away feeling very confident about implementing our routines in your classroom the very next day.

Stage 3 ONLiNE PLUS Start-Up Workshop  (COST:  NZ $195 + GST)
CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming Stage 3 Start-up Workshops.

Stage 3 ONLiNE PLUS Start-Up Webinar  (COST:  NZ $155 + GST)
For those who don't have a workshop scheduled for their area or have a restricted PD budget, we set aside two weeks per term for Start-Up Webinars which allow you to take part in a start-up event from your own school (or home). 
CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming Stage 3 Webinars

Our favourite Michael Pressley quote provides us with our starting point. 

“The goal with comprehension strategy instruction … is to teach students to take over their own reading and thinking.”
After the early stages of comprehension strategies instruction [that is after the teacher is no longer introducing the strategies] the teacher’s role in the conversation is limited to prompting students to be active in deciding how they might process the text at any point.” (Pressley, 2015) 

So, we have a goal … to get our readers to a place where they are doing all the work for themselves, the genuinely active reader whose brain subconsciously, even relentlessly, seeks out understanding of the text in front of them, without our intervention.

WHAT do we Teach to achieve this comprehension goal? 
In Stage 3 we introduce you to Unpacking Sentences, our foundational strategy for developing active readers who are habitualised to construct meaning and think critically WHILE they are reading.
This is also tied in to our developmental progression, why we call this “A Systematic Approach to Comprehension Strategy Instruction”.

HOW do we Teach Comprehension? 
As Pressley suggests,  after the initial teaching of some strategies, the teacher withdraws allowing the reader to assume responsibility for constructing meaning and thinking critical. This is to allow the time and the space to achieve autonomy with these skills. This is a perfect alignment with our SharpReading  teaching and learning methodology, EXPLAIN, MODEL, GUIDED PRACTICE, followed by lots of INDEPENDENT PRACTICE  until the  reader can demonstrate fluency (an automatic mental response to text).

FAQs about Stage 3 ONLiNE Course

When are students ready to start Stage 3?

Students are ready to start Stage 3 when they are 'fluent decoders'.

Decoding and Comprehension compete for available short term memory and decoding will always trump comprehension. Therefore it is important that a certain level of  decoding fluency is achieved (the decoding process is sufficiently automated to leave space in the head for other things) before asking the reader to focus their cognitive energy on some heavy duty constructing of meaning.  

The criteria for moving on to Stage 3 

1. The reader must demonstrate reasonable fluency at a reading age of 7 or above. That means a good flow as they are reading, not hesitant word by word decoding.

2.  The reader must have an efficient word attack strategy so they can sound out and chunk unfamiliar / multisyllabic words which start appearing in the text they are reading at around a reading age of 7 years.

3.  The reader must be monitoring their reading and self correcting miscues especially visual clues ("That doesn't look right!").

4. The reader must be able to hold onto the gist of the sentence - they are using the new found space in their heads to ‘hold onto meaning’ not necessarily construct it for themselves.

Students in Junior Classrooms 

The usual expectation is that students in the first two years of school will be working on Stages 1&2 (Developing Decoding Strategies). Towards the end of the second year some may be meeting the criteria above and could be ready for Comprehension Strategy Instruction.

Students in Middle and Upper Primary Classrooms

In the middle and upper school (7-13 year olds) most students will be reading at or above their chronological age and will meet the criteria above. Whether they have a reading age of 7 or 15+,all students must work their way through Stage 3 as this is the foundation which Stages 4-6 are built upon.

CLICK HERE for our 'SharpReading Scope and Sequence' for schools where SharpReading has been implemented over a number of years.

In every middle and upper primary classroom there will be a number of student who still have decoding issues (1 or 2 years behind their chronological age is a useful marker) and will probably not benefit from the challenges of Stage 3.

For advice on what to do with these students, click on the link to "The Struggling Older Reader".

Stage 4 Start-Up Workshop

Stage 4 is introduced as part of a Stage 4-6 Start Up Workshop. These stages are what we call 'bolt ons' to the Stage 3 routine. No new routine is required. The assumption we make is that with lots of practice, the cognitive energy being expended in Stage 3 reduces as the thinking becomes automatic, just as it does for the decoder in the diagram above approaching readiness for Stage 3. We now add in new complexity - an addition to the 5 Steps routine but not a new routine.

This is very helpful for the learner because it allows them to consolidate the automatic process they have learnt while tackling something new. 

Stage 4 ONLiNE

Of course you do not need to attend a Stages 4-6 start-up workshop. Once you are well embedded in Stage 3 you will understand our processes and thinking and it is very easy to pick up the additional stages by doing the ONLiNE training.

In fact we offer Stages 4&5 ONLiNE as a package. Stage 6 is not yet available ONLiNE.

CLICK HERE for more information about Stage 5.

Stage 4&5 ONLiNE COST: NZ $99+GST for a 1 User Licence


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