The "RAP" on Reading Comprehension

By Hagaman, Jessica L.; Luschen, Kati et al. | Teaching Exceptional Children, September/October 2010 | Go to article overview

The "RAP" on Reading Comprehension

Hagaman, Jessica L., Luschen, Kati, Reid, Robert, Teaching Exceptional Children

Mrs. Brown is the special education teacher for the third-grade team at Casey Elementary School. Recently, the team realized that some of their students had problems with reading comprehension. As a part of their response to intervention (RTI) program, the team assesses students' reading fluency every 2 months using Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS; Good & Kaminski, 2002) to ensure students are improving and meeting district benchmarks. The team noticed that the majority of the third graders were meeting their fluency benchmarks and could decode at grade level, thus meeting their instructional goals. However, they also noticed that a few students were well behind their peers in reading comprehension skills despite the fact that their fluency was at or above district benchmarks. This came as a surprise to the team because they had always thought comprehension of text automatically followed fluent reading. They knew they had to address this issue immediately so these students wouldn't fall behind their peers; however, they weren't sure how to improve the comprehension skills of these students. Mrs. Brown suggested teaching the students a reading comprehension strategy. She suggested that they look for a simple and flexible comprehension strategy. They needed a strategy that could be taught individually or in small groups in the general education classroom or resource room. The strategy should also be one that students can master quickly. In addition, Mrs. Brown suggested teaching the strategy using the self-regulated strategy development (SRSD; Harris & Graham, 1996) model because she knew that how a strategy is taught is a critical factor in its success or failure (Reid & Lienemann, 2006).

Many teachers have encountered similar issues with reading comprehension in their classrooms. In fact, reading problems aie one of the most frequent reasons students are referred for special education services (Miller, 1993) and the disparity between students with reading difficulties and those who read successfully appears to be increasing (U.S. Department of Education, 2003). As a result, there is now an emphasis on early intervention programs such as RTl. In many cases, early intervention in reading instruction focuses primarily on foundational reading skills, such as decoding. These foundational skills allow the reader to read fluently (i.e., with speed and accuracy; National Reading Panel, 2000). However, with much of the focus on fluency, reading comprehension may be overlooked. It's true that reading fluency is necessary for comprehension. Students who are able to decode and recognize words effortlessly are able to devote more of their cognitive resources to reading comprehension. As a result, readers who are fluent are more likely to have better comprehension skills (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001). This link between fluency and comprehension can lead teachers to assume that if students can read fluently they should also be able to comprehend what they read.

For many students, this assumption is correct; however, there are students who are fluent readers who experience difficulties with reading comprehension. Up to 10% of students are fluent readers who struggle to understand what they read (Meisinger, Bradley, Schwanenflugel, Kuhn, & Morris, 2009; Shankweiler, Lundquist, Dreyer, & Dickinson, 1996). These students are able to successfully decode text in specific content areas, such as sciences and social studies, but are unable to process and comprehend what they read (Caccamise & Snyder, 2005). One way to improve these students' comprehension skills is by teaching them effective comprehension strategies. Research shows that explicit instruction of reading comprehension strategies can significantly improve students' comprehension skills (Gajria, Jitendra, Sood, & Sacks. 2007; Pressley, Brown, El-Dinary, & Allferbach, 1995). Unfortunately, research also shows that comprehension instruction is often rudimentary and instruction in actual comprehension strategies (i.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

The "RAP" on Reading Comprehension


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.