Teach Comprehension

The Foundational Skills

SharpReading Stage 3 ONLiNE Course

Rationale for this Course

What do your readers need to become GREAT comprehenders?
Most comprehension instruction revolves around teaching a multitude of Comprehension Strategies. Do a Google search for 'Teaching Comprehension' and all you get are the strategy lists. But the research and our own personal experience tell us that strategies are NOT NECESSARILY the starting point.

"Good evidence suggests that important aspects of reading comprehension and inference generation happen automatically .... but readers can also deploy strategies to support comprehension. 
Cook, Anne E., and Edward J. O'Brien. "Passive activation and instantiation of inferences during reading." (2015).

So strategies are important, We call them 'Stop-and-think-about it' metacognitive actions that the reader employs to embellish and enhance comprehension or to problem-solve comprehension difficulties.

BUT, these are preceded by a skill set that generates an automatic level of basic comprehension.

From birth our learners have been building a sophisticated understanding of oral language and how it works. They intuitively use their knowledge of the world, vocabulary, language structure, and inference (Scarborough's Rope) to construct meaning from the oral language that they are exposed to.

NOW that they are being confronted with written language, they must learn to transfer this automatic skill set into written text.

Our Point of Difference
SharpReading Stage 3 addresses this 'in-the-moment' processing that is the foundation for quick accurate comprehension  BEFORE embarking on the metacognitive use of strategies (Stages 4-6).

CLICK HERE for an in-depth look at the theory and research behind "Teaching Reading Comprehension."

Who is this training for?

  • Teachers of Yr 2-Yr 10 teachers, Learning Support, Teacher Aides, Home Schoolers

  • Beginner Teachers: Having a simple comprehensive 'how to teach' and 'what to teach' approach for reading comprehension is a godsend - a great foundation to build upon. 

  • Experienced teachers: This course could be a game changer, something that will totally revitalise your approach to comprehension.


  • Students need to have developed decoding fluency to the point where decoding is no longer using up their available working memory.
    CLICK HERE for more information about the basic criteria for comprehension instruction (Stages 3-6). 

  • For Year 4 and above students still having decoding difficulties, we suggest our  Struggling Older Reader Course.

"Very motivating, the kids LOVE it. Teachers have real clarity and the lesson preparation time is minimal!!!"

What do I get from this Stage 3 Course?

Your professional training - What are the features?

1. Twelve months access to the ONLiNE course

  • Flexible learning - In-your-own-time, at-your-own- pace OR do it all at once.

  • Come back regularly to review and consolidate your understanding

2. A Well-Thought out Training Methodology - We want you to succeed!

Each of the 8 units is around 25 minutes of screen time which you can then take away and practice in your classroom

  • READ /LISTEN TO - Clear explanations of each learning goal

  • WATCH - annotated video modelling of the teaching expectation

  • HAVE A GO - go away and practise what you have learnt on your class


  • A list of FAQs - the answers to most common queries

  • Can't find an answer? - Email support  24/7

3. Clear, Easily Managed Learning Steps for YOU

Each Unit has a single focus with a clear learning goal. Click on the arrows.

UNIT 1: Resource Library - All the downloadable resources for this course

  • We make it easy to find everything you need by storing it in one place.

  • A 24-page Course Book - your at-your-fingertips reference classroom.

  • Teacher Scripts makes it easy to stick with the routine

  • Planning and Assessment Template - no need for lesson plans, one page for a term's worth of data collection

  • Levelled Texts as PDFs for small group instructional lessons

  • Powerpoints for Whole Class lessons

  • PLEASE NOTE: You can use the texts you already have!

UNIT 2: SharpReading Theory - How we align with the Science of Reading

An overview of the thinking behind comprehension instruction.  We explain the need to develop the initial comprehension skill set in the implicit memory before embarking on comprehension strategy instruction in Stages 4-6. We provide references to the research we have accessed in developing this approach.

UNIT 3: Explicit Teaching of Unpacking Sentences

Unpacking Sentences is the methodology we use to train students to 'extract the ideas in sentences and put them all together (construct the meaning the author intended). This is the Implicit Memory that has to be developed to be a skilled comprehender. We use Explain, Model, Guided Practice to teach students what this means and how to do it.

UNIT 4: Independent Practice of Unpacking Sentences

Our '5 Steps' routine is the mainstay of Stage 3.  The small group routine gives students the practice they need to develop active reading muscle memory with quick and accurate processing of sentences.
• Clear instructions and video clips outline this routine in action. 
• Includes a FAQ section that will answer your questions.

UNIT 5: Collecting Data - Identifying and practising data collection

Once you have gained fluency with your delivery of the routines you can start to look and listen more closely at your student's efforts to unpack sentences. Our simple data collection method allows you to quickly summarise the wealth of data that is available to you.

UNIT 6: Improving 'I think that means...' statements - using the data

Use the data you have collected to address ITTM weaknesses.  Now that you have identified how your students are processing sentences you can provide a variety of learning focusses (Specific Learning Outcomes) to meet their needs.

UNIT 7: A Whole Class Routine - 10 mins daily practice (Shared Reading)

A modified Routine to provide 10 minutes daily practice with your whole class. Once you have got your head around the group routines this is an easy way to increase the daily mileage of Unpacking Sentences.

UNIT 8: Student Engagement - Do you have a problem with this?

Fine tune student engagement in the Teaching and Learning. For those who are interested in this, we look more closely at behaviour management issues around engaging your students in their learning.

Certificate of Completion

Download a customised certificate as proof of your participation in this course.

Outcomes for your Classroom - Our Secrets to Success

1. 'Chunking the Learning' - A Developmental Pathway for your Students

This is all about Cognitive Loading. Our Developmental Progression ensures that students can focus on ONE important mental process (unpacking sentences), and habituate that before moving on to additional complexity (Stages 4-6).  

2. Structured Routines

Our routines are the key to SHARPREADING reading success.

  • Repetition builds muscle memory!

  • These routines take care of  'How do I teach it?'

  • Highly predictable routines allow the students to take control of their practice

  • You are free to monitor their processing of text - this is an eye-opener

  • Student engagement is very high - they are doing the work

  • No need for a lesson plan - preparation time is greatly reduced

3. Satisfaction

Teachers get very excited when they see and hear their students digging into text and getting so much more out of the language that the author has used.

How about these Training ADD-ONs?

If you want more than 'on-your-own training' that the BASIC ONlINE Course provides we have the following options


For those who prefer an event to get them going (cover the content in one sitting)

  • Opt-in for a 4-hour Start-Up webinar OR 2 x 2-hour webinars.

  • Webinar(s) cover units 1-4 with lots of in-webinar practice opportunities. 

  • Be ready to make a start in your classroom the next day.


This is the ultimate support package. Get the very best out of this training.

  • Get personalised feedback from one of the writers of the course to check your implementation (when you are ready).

  • We can do this virtually - upload a 10-minute video of your lesson (warts and all).

  • We will arrange a 30-minute Zoom debriefing session

  • Become an Accredited SharpReading Stage 3 teacher

Choose the Training Option that suits you best

Get instant access via credit card payment (BUY NOW) or within 24 hours using our Pay on Invoice form below.


  1. Stage 3 ONLiNE Course
    12 months access
    At-your-own-pace and
    in-your-own-time training


  1. Stage 3 ONLiNE Course
    12 months access

  2. Start-Up Webinar (4-hr)
    OR 2 x 2-hr Webinars
    An event to get you going
    Sign up below
    Choose from our list or Book On-Demand


  1. Stage 3 ONLiNE Course
    12 months access

  2. Start-Up Webinar (4-hr)
    OR 2 x 2-hr Webinars
    Sign up below
    Choose from our list or Book On-Demand

  3. Virtual observation
    To be arranged when
    you are ready

CONDITIONS OF SALE: Each ONLiNE course is purchased as a 1 User Licence with 12 months access via the internet.
GST will be added at checkout for NZ customers. 

Credit Card Purchase

ALL OPTIONS: Click on BUY NOW links. You will get instructions for access to the ONLiNE Course as part of the purchasing process.
  BASIC: That's it! You are done!

BASIC PLUS and PREMIUM: Select a Start-Up Webinar

You need to fill in the form below and select an option from the list of scheduled Stage 3 Start-Up Webinars. 
If the dates and times don't suit then go to BOOK ON-DEMAND.
We will email you to confirm your webinar and provide a Webinar Invitation.

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Want to PAY on INVOICE?

Fill in the form and SUBMIT.
BASIC only - We will email you instructions for accessing the ONLiNE course.
BASIC PLUS & PREMIUM - Remember to select a Start-Up Webinar option.
We will email you access instructions AND a webinar invitation.

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"I love the simplicity of the system...a step by step process. The kids are really into it. They engage really well with it."

Are you looking for a systematic approach to comprehension instruction across the school?
We have tried and proven systems in place for introducing SharpReading school-wide.
Train all your teachers of Year 2-10 OR start with a trial Year group and then extend across the school. We can customise the implementation to suit your needs and your budget.

Teacher Only Day

Run a training event to get off to a good start. This can be a face-to-face workshop or via webinar

ONLiNE Courses  

Access to the ONL:iNE Courses provides the content and the framework for ongoing review and consolidation 

In School Support

We will come on-site and work with each teacher in their classroom with their students to get the implementation RIGHT!

Train a

We will train your own SharpReading experts within the school to maintain the integrity and longevity of SharpReading

Course Writers - Your Tutors

Hilton Ayrey

We are very passionate about teaching reading and we are always looking for ways to make reading programs easier and more enjoyable. It has to work for students AND the teacher.

'Stage 3: Teaching Reading Comprehension' is our longest-running ONLiNE Course. It was the starting point for SharpReading and the result of many many hours of trial and error to come up with a way of teaching comprehension that works and gets great results.

Brian Parker

Although the course is stand-alone training we are always available to discuss your training during your 12 months access to the Stage 3 ONLiNE Course. For face-to-face introductions you can register for our webinars and workshops and also negotiate in-school support.

Do You Need a PREVIEW?

Sign yourself In and have a look NOW!

Put your NAME and EMAIL address into the box opposite and click SUBMIT and you will be taken inside the Guided Reading for Comprehension Course (SharpReading Stage 3 ONLiNE).

This is an opportunity to take a good look at the course and actually see how it is structured, the type of content you will have access to, (including the resources) and get a feel for the training you will be purchasing.

The links to downloads will not be connected but you will easily be able to imagine the value of this course for advancing your teaching career.

Remember when you complete the course you will be sent a personalised certificate.

FAQs about this Stage 3 ONLiNE Course

What is your research basis for this Comprehension course?

As suggested in the rationale, Stage 3 focuses on building up the use of the Language Comprehension strands from Scarborough's Rope. By forcing quick and accurate unpacking of all the ideas in a sentence and combining those ideas to arrive at the meaning that the author intended, we develop the muscle memory that makes this an automatic and increasingly fluent mental process.  Tackling this in isolation before launching into strategy instruction ensures that students are not cognitively overloaded which has a very positive impact on their learning and their motivation as learners.  These underlying principles are closely aligned to the cognitive research that The Science of Reading is built around.  This is spelt out further in Unit 2: SharpReading Theory.

How do I know if my students are ready for this?

The research is quite clear about this ... developing fluency with decoding is a prerequisite. The brain must be freed up from decoding stress to be able to tackle the cognitive requirements. Generally, students need to be reading fluently at a 7-8 year level. There is a detailed section in Stage 3: Unit 1 on this..

Can my older, more able readers skip Stage 3 and go straight to Stages 4 and 5?

Whether your readers have a reading age of 8 or 15+ they all need to start at Stage 3. This is the foundation of comprehension instruction - the development of this skill set that precedes strategy instruction. For your more able readers there will be significant challenges in this for them because of the level of text they will be working on.

How will this help me as a Beginning Teacher?

Most beginning teachers we talk to admit that their training involved some theory but very little practical application and was usually dependent on being with a classroom teacher who knew what they were doing. Because this course provides you with a very clear structure for your instructional reading lessons you will know exactly what to do and your preparation time will be greatly reduced.  That is a great staring point for a beginning teacher.

What are the points of difference for an experienced teacher?

As we have already said, most approaches to comprehension instruction focus on strategy instruction. As an experienced teacher, you will find this initial skill set something that you will have been aware of but have never known what to do about it or how it fits into the teaching and learning process.

How long does the ONLiNE Course take?

There are 8 units. Each unit has a specific learning goal followed by an explanation of the learning being targeted, some video models of the teaching and an obvious classroom application. 
One way to view it is to aim for 1 unit per week. Alternatively, you can complete the whole course in one sitting to get an overview of the entire content before beginning your practical implementation. 
Twelve months access means you have plenty of time to come back and review the learning - one of the big pluses of this type of training.


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