an overview of elementary reading comprehension curricula, learn with emily dot com

An Overview of Elementary Level Reading Comprehension Curricula

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Silent Reading Comprehension is the end goal of reading instruction. At the early levels of reading instruction, the focus is on word recognition (either decoding or sight recognition) and then fluent reading. Once a child starts to read well, then the balance of reading instruction may shift to comprehension skills. This article provides an overview of reading comprehension curricula in the elementary grades.

Links to Familiarize Yourself with Reading Comprehension Concepts

CLICK HERE to read about factors that influence silent reading comprehension.

CLICK HERE to read about how to teach reading comprehension strategies.

Curricula that Explicitly Teach Comprehension Skills

Although you could come up with your own reading comprehension activities, a quality open-and-go curriculum will save you time and resources. The products reviewed in this post assume that the child already reads fluently at or above the target grade level for the comprehension activities. The products included specifically teach comprehension skills. Products that include reading comprehension activities, but do not specifically teach reading comprehension skills or strategies are excluded from this article.


Evan-Moor has two products that teach reading comprehension skills.

1) Daily Reading Comprehension


The Daily Reading Comprehension series for grades 1-8 is used to help children focus on and practice specific comprehension strategies. This product can also be used as an evaluation tool to determine the reading comprehension area(s) in which a child needs further instruction. CLICK HERE to read my complete review of the Daily Reading Comprehension Series.

2) Reading Comprehension Fundamentals

The Reading Comprehension Fundamentals books teach specific reading comprehension skills. CLICK HERE to read my complete review of the Reading Comprehension Fundamentals. The Fundamtenals books for grades 1-6 provide high quality instruction on specific comprehension skills. CLICK HERE to read about how I used Reading Comprehension Fundamentals to teach my daughter inference skills.

Use Daily Reading Comprehension with Reading Comprehension Fundamentals

The two books work well together as a quality reading comprehension curriculum. You can easily track and monitor your child’s progress. You can work on all of the strategies taught in the Fundamentals book or just the ones your child needs to be specifically taught.

These books can be purchased separately in both print or e-book formats on Evan-Moor’s website.

Writing with EaseAlthough Writing with Ease is advertised as a writing curriculum, the program also works perfectly in helping a child develop the ability to summarize a written passage into their own words. Summarization is one way to demonstrate reading comprehension. Instruction is systematic and incremental. You can purchase the book that explains the process, or just buy the open-and-go “The Complete Writer” workbooks that do all the preparation for you. CLICK HERE to read my review of Writing with Ease.

Critical Thinking Company

The reading comprehension curriculum published by Critical Thinking Company is called, “Reading Detectives.” This program is for children starting in 3rd grade. It teaches children the reading comprehension skills of making inferences, drawing conclusions, understanding cause and effect, making predictions, and using context clues. Children are asked to reference what part of the story supports their answers. Story elements are also covered. These books are available in print and e-book format. Although I have seen Reading Detectives recommended by others, I have not personally tried the product as their e-book version is only available for Windows computers. I use a mac. I do consider Reading Detectives a product worth considering. They also have an app for apple products.


Linguisystems publishes a reading comprehension curricula that teach specific reading comprehension skills called, “The Basic Reading Comprehension Kit for Hyperlexia and Autism.” Although this curricula is advertised for autistic children, the specific strategy instruction may also be beneficial for any child who needs instruction and practice in reading comprehension. CLICK HERE to read my complete review of level 1. I have also used level 2 and found it to be helpful in teaching my child reading comprehension skills. Once I complete a full review, I will post a link to more information about level 2 here.

Recommendations on Reading Comprehension Curricula

I use and recommend Evan-Moor’s Reading comprehension products. I also use and would recommend The Complete Writer Series to work on summarization skills. Although The Basic Reading Comprehension Kit for Hyperlexia and Autism is a quality product, I would not recommend it for general use due to the price and limited number of stories included. You would get much more product for your money with Evan-Moor’s Reading Comprehension products.


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