Don't overdo it on reading comprehension strategies

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Before requiring students to make a graphic organizer--or other common comprehension strategies--teachers need to think twice, especially middle and high school teachers. Cognitive psychologist (and NCTQ advisory board member) Dan Willingham worries that we may be overdoing reading comprehension strategy instruction. For most students, these common strategies provide a one-time boost that can be had in as little as five to ten half hour sessions--and there is little benefit beyond the 7th grade. 

Beyond these targeted sessions, additional instruction in comprehension strategy may be wasted, better spent on other instructional goals. And repeated instruction in these strategies or reliance on them may make it harder, over the long-term, for students to love reading.

This article is one in Willingham's relatively new blog promising to highlight scientific findings applicable to education (recent topics include intelligence, working memory, and retention). We will be returning regularly. 

--Rob Rickenbrode