Review: Complete Comprehension is “everything you need”
Mike Davies from Teach Primary takes a look at our Complete Comprehension books, which are packed full of lesson plans, text passages and teaching notes designed to equip schools with everything they need to develop strong, successful readers.
Teaching reading is one of those things that can be a lot more appealing in anticipation than practical reality. Even book lovers with the most encyclopedic knowledge of children’s literature can spend hours searching for the perfect extract. For teachers more comfortable with other parts of the curriculum, the nitty gritty of reading pedagogy can seem rather overwhelming. Fortunately, Schofield and Sims has created a series of reading resources that are a godsend, regardless of length of teaching experience or depth of love for this subject.
The Complete Comprehension series is a structured programme for teaching reading comprehension skills from Y1 to Y6. The centrepiece of each year group’s resources is a bulging book of instructions, lesson plans, texts and assessments. Sensibly ring-bound to aid photocopying, the book begins with a comprehensive introduction that details precisely how to use the resources. There is also a thorough breakdown in the skills guide of the different elements of reading, from retrieval to summarising. The sections correspond to the SATs content domains.
The texts themselves cover an impressive breadth of genre, subject matter and style, including a range of extracts from popular contemporary authors and an appropriate sprinkling of classics. What’s more, they offer a good balance of challenge and accessibility, fine-tuned for each year group. It was also interesting to see texts with linked themes. For example, in Y2, a unit on a non-fiction text about lions is followed by a humorous fiction text on the same theme. Similarly, in Y6, a non-fiction unit about Shakespeare is followed by an extract from Macbeth.
The teaching element itself is well-structured and authoritative, yet accessible and user-friendly. I like the way each unit starts with a discussion of key vocabulary and ends with ideas for what to do next, such as linked writing tasks. Including a reading list of related texts to explore for each unit is a work of genius. Just as appealing is the way it uses different texts to teach and assess specific skills, while also including a ‘Mix it up’ set of questions to keep a running check of age-appropriate comprehension skills. Furthermore, this is all backed up by free online resources such as modelling slides to show pupils how to approach each type of question.
In short, this resource provides everything you need to ensure your teaching of comprehension is, well, comprehensive.
Republished from Teach Primary magazine, issue 14.6