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Developing Reading Comprehension

Effective Instruction for All Students in PreK-2

Katherine A. Dougherty Stahl and Georgia Earnest García

Paperbacke-bookprint + e-book
February 18, 2015
ISBN 9781462519767
Price: $32.00
224 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
March 13, 2015
Price: $28.00
224 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (PDF) ?
Price: $60.00 $35.20
224 Pages
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Early literacy instruction typically emphasizes foundational skills—often at the expense of engaging young children in reading and supporting their comprehension of different types of texts. This book explains the essential elements of comprehension and shares a wealth of classroom-tested instructional practices. It presents developmentally informed strategies for scaffolding comprehension skills, using content to promote engagement, and implementing high-level discussions and writing tasks. Ways to teach and assess English learners and other diverse students are highlighted throughout. The book features explicit links to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as well as helpful reproducible forms. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

See also the authors' related book on the intermediate grades: Expanding Reading Comprehension in Grades 3-6.

This title is part of The Essential Library of PreK-2 Literacy Series, edited by Sharon Walpole and Michael C. McKenna.

“Be prepared to experience a compelling journey! In this readable and engaging book, Stahl and García have achieved the ambitious objective of describing the instruction that children need to help them transition from learning from their own experiences to learning from text, and from listening comprehension to reading comprehension. This is a book that will find a welcome home on every classroom teacher's and teacher educator's bookshelf.”

—Patricia A. Edwards, PhD, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University; past president, International Literacy Association

Developing Reading Comprehension is a very valuable resource that will improve your reading instruction. Every classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach should read this book. The authors explain effective reading instruction in basic terms that will increase the literacy achievement of all students, including English learners and students who struggle with the reading process. Stahl and García's work is a gift to the education field.”

—Lea Danon, MA, reading specialist, Mount Vernon (New York) City School District

“I wanted to jump out of my chair and exclaim 'Finally!' as I read this book. I'd like to give a copy to every elementary teacher I know! For too long, conventional wisdom held that teachers of young children must first focus instruction on foundational skills before working to develop reading comprehension and vocabulary. This book provides unequivocal evidence that young children—including English learners and children who speak a different dialect—are absolutely capable of critical thinking and thoughtful exploration and discussion of text. The authors explore a range of highly relevant issues, from comprehension strategy instruction to talk in the classroom and comprehension assessment, all critical topics in the CCSS context. Stahl and García provide dozens of practical teaching tactics to engage young children in new worlds and ideas.”

—Ellin O. Keene, MA, education consultant and author, Denver, Colorado

“This book is on the top of my list of 'must reads.' It is clear, comprehensible, highly readable, and a go-to source for all issues related to reading comprehension. The authors have on-the-ground experience in classrooms which, they weave together brilliantly with research.”

—Susan B. Neuman, EdD, Teaching and Learning Department, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University

“Stahl and García present practical, developmentally appropriate, research-validated strategies for PreK-2 classrooms. The book provides effective strategies and tools for successfully implementing critical components of a balanced literacy program, including read-alouds, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading.”

—Lisa Krueger, EdD, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Pupil Services, Orchard Park (New York) Central School District

“Stahl and García offer ways to bring young children into deeper meaning, stronger connections with, and wider understanding of stories and text. Teachers will benefit from this book in many ways. The anchoring message is that 'difficulties' in today's classrooms do not reside in the students, but in teachers' unexamined assumptions about them, alongside limited knowledge of strategies for those children in multiple-discourse communities. I can't put this book down—I will use it and use it and use it!”

—Karen Hale Hankins, PhD, Department of Education Theory and Practice, University of Georgia, and veteran primary classroom teacher of 30 years

Table of Contents

1. Unifying Theory, Research, and Practice

2. Comprehension Considerations for Students from Diverse Linguistic and Cultural Backgrounds

3. It's All About Scaffolding

4. Using Content to Create Engagement

5. Comprehension Strategy Instruction and Self-Regulation

6. Let's Talk About It: High-Level Discussions

7. Written Responses to Texts and Writing Projects

8. Assessing Reading Comprehension in the Early Grades

9. Beyond the Classroom: Intervening to Provide Additional Comprehension Support

About the Authors

Katherine A. Dougherty Stahl, EdD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Reading at New York University (NYU), where she serves as Director of the Literacy Program and teaches graduate courses. In addition to teaching in public elementary school classrooms for over 25 years, she has extensive experience working with struggling readers in clinical settings. Her research focuses on reading acquisition, struggling readers, and comprehension. Dr. Stahl is the author or editor of several books, and her articles have appeared in leading journals of research and practice. She is a recipient of the Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher Award from Harvard University and the Teaching Excellence Award from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Georgia Earnest García, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She served on the National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth and the RAND Reading Study Group on Skillful Reading and was Associate Editor for the American Educational Research Journal. Her work has been published in leading academic journals. Dr. García was previously a bilingual/ESL/English teacher at the elementary, middle school, high school, and community college levels. Although retired, she continues to work with teachers and schools and conduct research on the literacy development, instruction, and assessment of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.


PreK–2 classroom teachers; ELL/ESL teachers; literacy coaches; teacher educators and graduate students.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.

Developing Reading Comprehension: Effective Instruction for All Students in PreK-2 and Expanding Reading Comprehension in Grades 3–6: Effective Instruction for All StudentsSpecial package offer: Together, Developing Reading Comprehension (grades PreK–2) and Expanding Reading Comprehension in Grades 3–6 provide a blueprint for high-quality comprehension instruction across the elementary grades.

Order both items for $43.95, instead of $64.00 if bought separately!

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