Literacy refers to the ability to read and write effectively, fluently, and with understanding. Reading comprehension worksheets
are essential tools which help students master the literacy skills necessary to become competent readers and writers.
When used as part of a balanced literacy program there are many student benefits to using worksheets in the classroom. They can be used to reinforce previously taught concepts and provide instant remediation when a student is struggling with a specific skill. Worksheets can also be used to compliment lessons targeting specific reading comprehension strategies. After a whole group lesson a reading comprehension worksheet can be used as a quick assessment to see which students have not grasped the concept presented and need more practice. They can also be used during small group time to extend the day’s lesson. The condensed nature of the passages in reading comprehension worksheets allows English language learners and struggling readers to realize success. The Content areas like Science and Social Studies can also be presented in a bite sized manner using worksheets to compliment key information students are learning in the textbooks and reinforce content area vocabulary. Besides valuable practice their format prepares students for standardized testing.
Reading comprehension worksheets are also an excellent communication link between home and school as they provide parents with the opportunity to work with their children to further what they are learning in the classroom or to remediate their child at home. When used as homework teachers can assign one sheet to each student or differentiate based on individual student need and reading level.
Creating worksheets can be quite time consuming. Thankfully, the Internet provides a multitude of free reading comprehension worksheet resources for the busy teacher or parent. Many educational websites allow the user to search based on student grade level and target skill. There are also many unit focused reading comprehension worksheets based around specific themes, picture books and chapter books.
When the reading comprehension worksheets must be teacher created it is best to choose a specific focus skill or reading strategy before writing the passages. The passage is then written around the skill or strategy. A balanced reading comprehension worksheet will include multiple choice, short answer, and extended response questions. Questions should focus on the areas of vocabulary instruction and text comprehension. Older students will benefit from vocabulary questions requiring them to use context clues. Primary students need phonics and word work practice as well to help them obtain their desired literacy objectives. Questions should be carefully scaffolded using key words selected from each of the following Bloom’s Taxonomy categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. It is important to remember reading comprehension worksheets are most effective when they complement whole group instruction and objectives.