How to Teach Reading: Planning and Execution

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Vocabulary Words & Reading Comprehension: Teaching Strategies

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 The Skill of Reading
  • 1:03 Know the Standards
  • 2:09 What Evidence?
  • 3:14 Instruction
  • 4:33 Assessment
  • 5:57 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Feeling overwhelmed with the immensity of teaching reading comprehension? Watch this video lesson to learn four easy steps to plan and execute reading lessons.

The Skill of Reading

As an English language arts teacher, perhaps the most important aspect is teaching reading comprehension. This is because reading is truly an essential skill for all people in all walks of life. Even in simple everyday tasks, a person relies heavily on reading skills. Street signs, personal emails, social media, the newspaper - reading any of these inaccurately can have dire consequences. In anything a person does in life, reading will be a part of it.

The trick with teaching reading comprehension is that it is so different from the other subjects. There is no one true answer like in a math problem. You can't simply teach one method, do a few practice problems, and then move on. Reading is a skill that constantly adapts and changes. There are so many types of reading materials and types of reading skills needed to comprehend the written word. This lesson will go through a step-by-step process to help you plan and execute reading lessons in the classroom.

Know the Standards

The first step for any reading teacher is to know the standards. Every state has different standards, which are the guidelines for what each student needs to be able to do by the end of the grade level. There are numerous reading standards, each with a different focus. To help us with this video lesson, we will use a standard from the state of Ohio for the 6th to 8th grade band level.

Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

Looking at this example standard, as the teacher, you should immediately see some overall concepts you must teach. The terms 'theme', which is the message or moral of the story, 'setting', which is the time, place and social situation, and 'plot', which are the events in the story, need to be familiar to your students. For whatever piece of literature you decide to use in your class, you need to make sure to address those concepts in various lessons. Overall, you must find the important concepts you need to cover in your state's standards.

What Evidence?

The second step after you analyze your standards is to determine the evidence that will prove the students have learned a particular skill. For our sample standard, you could ask yourself, 'What activity will demonstrate that a student understands the importance of the theme?' Note how this is just one small part of the whole standard.

Also, you must decide on your evidence before planning instruction. This helps to teach with the end in mind. For example, if you decide to focus on your students' learning theme, you can use analysis of fairy tales as evidence. Your students can be required to explain the theme for popular fairy tales. If they can do so accurately, then you have proof they understand theme. Once this is decided, then you will move onto planning your method of teaching theme.

Be creative with your evidence. Evidence can consist of a group activity, worksheet, free response, or even a graphic organizer, which is a visual method of sharing knowledge; anything that can prove student learning. Remember, evidence does not have to cover a whole standard or a whole unit.


Once you have your evidence in mind, you can start to plan your teaching strategies. Break down all your big idea concepts into individual lessons or even multi-day lessons. For example, for teaching plot, you must first spend at least a day teaching each part of a plot diagram. Then, while the class progresses through the novel, the students can complete the diagram with their thoughts and ideas. With this situation, you can bring up the plot structures once a week or so until the end of the novel. Then, a good way to close off the unit might be a cumulative lesson with students debating which part of the novel is which.

Part of planning your instruction needs to be spent on determining the resources and strategies you will use. What websites, videos, books, worksheets, supplies, etc. will you need? Will you use direct instruction, which is a more traditional way of presenting information? Or cooperative learning, which is group work? Or even self-directed learning, which is independent exploration?

You also need to plan for activities that will go along with the strategies you decided upon. For example, if you decide to use cooperative learning for teaching plot, you can create a group challenge where each team has to work with one part of the plot and teach it to the rest of the class.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account