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Comprehension Strategies for Middle and Upper Grades (4-12)

Are you concerned about students who read the assigned text or chapter yet have little or no comprehension of the content upon completion? Effective comprehension skills are critical for students in the upper grades, as they are exposed to more difficult content reading. This online course provides teachers with excellent strategies designed to boost both comprehension and retention. Teachers will learn successful comprehension-building strategies such as DRTA, SQ3R, and close reading. Lessons are presented to teach students how to infer, draw conclusions, and summarize. Teachers will receive resources that can be used to teach students about the different text structures and how they can use that information to improve their comprehension. Teachers will also learn how to conduct quick assessments in order to identify struggling readers so that they may offer the necessary support to help those students find success. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The content of this course was wonderful. It covered many aspects of comprehension strategies and gave me so many ideas. It was great to use the material in the classroom as I took this course." - Susan Lowry


Enrollment Options

Register Course Registration Only $199

RegisterCourse Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $429


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading” by Tanny McGregor

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 74AXX

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41476

Unit One

  • Focus on Comprehension: Putting Research into Action
  • Levels of Comprehension
  • Common Core Standards for Reading
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography/Write an article reflection

Unit Two

  • Focus Strategy: DRTA
  • Focus Strategy: SQ3R
  • Focus Strategy: Close Reading
  • Assignment #2: Develop and teach a DRTA lesson

Unit Three

  • Strategies to Teach Inferring
  • Questioning Levels and Techniques
  • How to Summarize Text
  • Assignment #3:Develop comprehension questions

Unit Four

  • Text Structure and Patterns of Organization
  • Focus on Nonfiction Text
  • Note-Taking and Outlining
  • Assignment #4: Choose comprehension strategies to help a struggling reader

Unit Five

  • Comprehension Assessment
  • Working with Struggling Readers
  • Guided Comprehension
  • Assignment #5: Develop a guided reading lesson

Unit Six

  • Effects of Vocabulary on Comprehension
  • Teaching Content Vocabulary
  • Self-Assessment of Comprehension
  • Assignment #6: Design a comprehension checklist
  • Assignment #7: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)