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Stage 3 ONLiNE Course

"Guided Reading for Comprehension"

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. 

OUR POINT of DIFFERENCE:  "A Systematic Approach to 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.

Get a feel for the delivery of the training and the content. Find out whether this is going to work for you!

This Course Gives You ...


All of our courses include a downloadable course book - an indispensable classroom teaching resource with teaching scripts, teaching charts and printable planning and data collection templates. 


Real time classroom footage allows you to put yourself in the teacher seat as you view the delivery of our routines.  The teacher script plus the annotated video samples with subtitles and important notes on what to do make it very easy for you to process and adopt our step by step approach.


Studying where and when you like is a big part of our 12 month access to online training. Come back many times and deepen your understanding of what to do. 

For those that want to get ahead and learn at a faster pace then our start-up workshops and webinars will sling shot you through the first four units of our online course in one sitting. Check out the upcoming dates here.


Quickly identify where each of your students fit. We have a chart that clearly shows you the development of a reader from a beginner right through to an advanced reader. This allows you to work methodically, a step at a time, developing your students reading ability in a manageable way.

A picture of a person running up stairs to show that there are steps to getting better

And the Outcomes...


SharpReading routines generate noticeable changes in student focus, as much as 40% more engagement!


80% of SharpReading Schools report significant improvement in reading ability and achievement.


50% reduction in planning and assessment workloads means lots of smiling teachers.

Rationale: Teaching Comprehension Strategies

SharpReading Stage 3: "Unpacking Sentences" (Constructing Meaning)
Our experience and research tells us that comprehension instruction should revolve around habituating an active reading habit in your readers. This can only be achieved by the gradual introduction of increasingly more complex ways of processing information and allowing practice to fluency ... not the strategy dump! 

Stage 3 provides the foundation for this - a simple '5 Steps' routine that trains the brain to be awake and aware, accurate and flexible, actively constructing meaning while the reader is reading. Whether your readers are working at text with a reading age of 15+ years or 8 years, this is their starting point.

HOW do we Teach Comprehension? 
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) 

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.

A Great Fit With SharpReading
This is a perfect alignment with our SharpReading routine (which we think is quite unique) which shifts the locus of control from the teacher to the students, providing them with the opportunity to truly habituate independent comprehension skills that transfer into everyday reading. 

It also supports our 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).

For many teachers, all of this may require a profound change in teaching style, a move away from  lots of teacher talk and much cueing and prompting of students into strategies use, which we think leads to student dependance rather than a sense of autonomy and SUCCESS. 

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.

Stage 3 Start-Up Workshops and Webinars

While the ONLiNE Course will provide you with everything you need to become a fluent Stage 3 SharpReading teacher, 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 Course PLUS Start-Up Workshop  (COST:  NZ $195 + GST)
CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming Stage 3 Start-up Workshops.

Stage 3 ONLiNE Course 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.

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 

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

Stages 4&5 ONLiNE Course

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.

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.

CLICK HERE for more information about Stages 4& 5. Stage 6 is not yet available ONLiNE.


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