Reflection on “Comprehension at the Core,” but Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudis

Goudvis, Anne, & Harvey, Stephanie. (2013). Comprehension at the core. The Reading Teacher 66 (6), .


Teaching for understanding is where we need to focus on when we plan units, lessons, and activities for our students. I am feeling frustrated watching students leave my grade to go to the next only to go back to tests on comprehension, and all in written form. We see that teaching for understanding is what our jobs are. I believe with the re-designed curriculum our job is cleat,  we need to teach strategies to build on skill in thinking for students.

Goudis and Harvey write, “Comprehension instruction is most effective when students integrate and flexibly use reading and thinking strategies across a wide variety of texts and in context of a challenging, engaging curriculum.”(pg. 3) Our curriculum is engaging and challenging for students and for teachers. I feel that opening up the curriculum to allow more variety in topics may be a huge challenge for teachers who are already overwhelmed. However, in my mind I truly believe as professionals we need to stay with the times and embrace our own learning to benefit our students.

I had a conversation the other day, with a fellow colleague who was giving one of my previous students an “I” on his report card for Socials. I asked her why and the response was he did not complete his written assignment. I was confused, I know that this student’s goal was to show up to school.  He has many demands on him at home and it was a success when he participated in lessons and was present.

When I taught this student, he often shied away from written assignments, as he told me he could not get what was in his head onto the paper fast enough. I began using conversations with him about the topics and, and he was able to demonstrate his comprehension completely often taking his questions and reflections deeper.I spoke to his next year’s teachers and shared with them how he demonstrated his learning.

As I read this article, all I could think about are all the students who embrace deep thinking, who want to learn to understand not to ace a test. If our goal for our students is “to become critical, curious, and strategic readers.” (Goudis and Harvey) why are we not embracing ways to teach understanding? Comprehension is all about thinking, not about the test on a poem or novel. Comprehension is understanding our thinking, our learning, and ourselves as thinkers across the curriculum, isn’t this what teaching is all about to ignite the understanding?


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