Building Comprehension in Adolescents: Powerful Strategies for Improving Reading and Writing in Content Areas

Authors: Linda H. Mason Ph.D., Robert Reid Ph.D., Jessica L. Hagaman Ph.D.

Format: Layflat, 272 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598572100
Price: $36.95

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Comprehension problems have become an epidemic: One out of every four secondary school students is unable to read and comprehend the material in textbooks.* Start addressing the root of the problem today with this practical guidebook, designed to strengthen adolescents' reading comprehension and written expression so they can master academic content.

Developed for middle and high school teachers, this book helps educators improve students' reading and writing through Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD), an evidence-based instructional approach that shows students how to apply proven strategies independently to boost their school success. Teachers will get complete lesson plans for teaching strategies that

  • Use proven, validated SRSD methods that are based on sound instructional theory and have had documented positive effects.
  • Build a foundation for higher achievement. Teachers will discover ways to embed reading, writing, and organization strategies into science and social studies lessons, so students can sharpen their understanding of complex academic content.
  • Are classroom-ready and easy-to-use, with helpful lesson overviews and objectives, suggested teacher scripts, explicit step-by-step instructions, and detailed vignettes.
  • Help a wide range of struggling learners, from students with disabilities to learners who simply need extra supports (great for the whole class or with individual students!).
  • Free up teacher time. When students learn self-regulation strategies, teachers have much more flexibility—they can assist one group while other students engage in productive independent work.

Practical, photocopiable worksheets and other instructional materials make the lessons easy to implement in any classroom. Teachers will help students develop new skills with a variety of self-monitoring checklists, goal charts, self-instruction sheets, graphic organizers, and more.

With the highly effective strategies in this research-backed guide, educators will help build a stronger foundation for academic success and ensure that all of their students are reading and writing to learn.

*The Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006

Improve skills critical to higher achievement:

  • vocabulary development
  • essay writing
  • story writing
  • biography writing
  • identifying the main idea of a paragraph
  • summarizing content
  • quick writing
  • sustaining attention
  • goal setting
  • note organization
  • classroom preparation
  • homework completion


Review by: Martha Hougen, The University of Texas at Austin
"Transforming scientific research results into student-friendly strategies is a challenging task. This book does this well by sharing explicit evidence-based strategies that support the development of reading and writing skills of adolescents."
Review by: Charles MacArthur, University of Delaware
"This book will be a valuable resource for teachers working with adolescents and for professional development."
Review by: Joanna Williams, Professor of Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
"An important evidence-based approach to improving the comprehension of struggling adolescent learners. Powerful self-regulation strategies are presented in clear and complete lesson plans that involve content relevant to the classroom and beyond. This is sure to be a valuable resource."
Review by: Dolores Perin, Reading Specialist Program, Teachers College, Columbia University
"Invaluable in providing step-by-step instructions for explicit instruction of reading comprehension and writing, using authentic examples . . . an ideal resource for any middle or high school content-area teacher."
Review by: Joan Sedita, Founder of Keys to Literacy
"Translates the research on instruction for reading and writing to learn into practical application in the classroom . . . I especially like the emphasis on the importance of having students become active learners."
Review by: Janette Klingner, University of Colorado Boulder
"An outstanding book that should be very useful for educators . . . presents strategies for improving students' reading and writing all in one well-written, easy to understand book."

Table of Contents

About the Authors


I. Developing Strategy Acquisition and Self-Regulation

  1. Introduction
  2. Effective Instruction for Strategy Instruction
  3. Teaching Self-Regulation

II. Reading to Learn

  1. Reading to Learn in Content Text
  2. TRAP for Reading Comprehension
  3. TRAP IDEAS for Summarizing
  4. Thinking about Reading with TWA
    Learning to Read Appendix

III. Writing to Learn

  1. Writing to Learn
  2. C-SPACE for Narrative Writing
  3. STOP & DARE for Persuasive Writing
  4. TWA + PLANS for Informative Writing
  5. Quick Writers

IV. Homework

  1. Homework Strategies


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