Promising Practices for Early Grade Reading Comprehension Instruction in Nigeria
Gabriel B. Egbe
Department of English and Literary Studies, Veritas University, Abuja
Generally, reading comprehension instruction is often delayed in early grade reading instruction with the assumption that other reading skills such as recognition and decoding skills should be mastered before comprehension. Yet, comprehension is critical in reading success and life-long learning. Reading comprehension instruction in early grade in most Nigeria classrooms follow the traditional lesson structure of ‘Initiate Respond—Evaluate ’ pattern which glosses into: ‘read—the-passage-and—answer-the-following—questions’ approach. This approach has no regard for either an explicitly content-based approach or strategies based instruction. This paper, which is theoretical in orientation, submits that there are known research and evidence-based instructional strategies and approaches which hold more promise than others and therefore suggest those to focus on in order to improve learning outcomes in Nigeria. Specifically, the paper identifies the following promising comprehension strategies: summarizing, making predictions (inferencing), questioning, schema-based learning (activating and using prior knowledge), and self-monitoring. Rather than the usual Initiate-Respond—Evaluate pattern, the paper advocates using the Do, I do, We do and You do pattern anchored on the following promising approaches: individualized schema-based learning, conceptual learning and transactional learning. The paper concludes that no one single skill, strategy or comprehension instruction practice or approach holds the magic wand What is desirable is to deploy a set of strategies and content-based approaches which research
has identified as having the potential to enhance comprehension instruction and improve learning outcomes
Keywords: Promising practices, early grade reading, comprehension.