Developing A Reading Road Map for Teaching Comprehension

Students at every level need explicit, ongoing instruction that builds their comprehension skills. This type of standards-driven teaching is intended to equip students with the ability to analyze and understand all types of texts. In this powerful course, you'll learn to layer skills to develop readers who can track and summarize key details, visualize and question author craft, and connect and synthesize bigger ideas.



  • Introduce the various scenarios readers will encounter—familiar v. unique formats, short v. long texts, easy v. hard reading, collaborative v. independent experiences, etc.
  • Dissect the College and Career-Ready Reading Standards to identify the six core comprehension strategies readers must employ.
  • Recognize a scaffold of mini-lessons subskills that must be explicitly taught.
  • Study a yearlong calendar that begins with initial learning from simple texts and gives way to independent deep thinking of more complex texts.
  • Select texts/passages best suited for comprehension instruction.
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of traditional curriculum assessments.

When you complete the course, you'll be able to:

  • Effectively introduce the concepts of inferential thinking, text annotation, close reading, and on-screen reading in kid-friendly ways.
  • Weave on-screen and paper-based reading experiences into the curriculum.
  • Focus classroom time on strategy/skill instruction, rather than passage/novel understanding.
  • Pair appropriate texts with whole-class comprehension instruction.
  • Identify assessments that truly measure students' level of mastery of a particular comprehension skill/strategy.

Top Questions Teachers Ask About Comprehension Mini-Lessons:

  • How do I honor my curriculum map or reading textbook series and still be responsive to student needs relative to comprehension?
  • How do I prioritize my comprehension mini-lessons over the course of the year?
  • How can I scaffold my comprehension mini-lessons so that the skills taught build on prior knowledge?
  • What kinds of texts and materials can I use to enhance my comprehension mini-lessons?
  • What principles should I use to guide my planning of comprehension mini-lessons?
  • How can I make my comprehension mini-lessons more effective?
  • What kinds of reading tasks should I have students do following the mini-lessons?

Kristina provides the answers to these questions and many more!


Your Instructor

Kristina Smekens
Kristina Smekens

A full-time literacy consultant, Kristina has built a reputation for using enthusiasm, humor, and common sense to equip K-12 educators with practical, demystifying strategies for teaching reading and writing.

As president and lead consultant for Smekens Education, Kristina is constantly developing new strategies to help teachers meet the demands of today’s College and Career-Ready Standards. She shares those strategies with teachers across the United States and beyond through on-site school trainings, regional seminars, and an always-growing pool of print, digital, and video resources.

Kristina has a gift for making the complex seem simple— for showing teachers how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and classroom-tested strategies that work. Well known for offering innovative ideas, Kristina has created more than 50 “Smekens Originals,” a compilation of books, guides, and classroom tools designed to help teachers implement best-practice literacy strategies. Among the most popular of these resources are her best-selling books, Launching the Writer’s Workshop: Grades K-2, and Launching the Writer’s Workshop: Grades 3-12.

You are welcome to contact Kristina directly: kristina@smekenseducation.com.



Contact Smekens Education toll free:

(888) 376-0448

What teachers say about this course

"Kristina just takes the guess work out of everything to make it ALL make sense!" Nicki King Teacher, Union Furnace Elementary, Logan, OH

"I love how you made it abundantly clear the why and how to hone in with intentionality on the issues my kids are having rather than giving skimpy instruction on a plethora of topics just to say 'we covered that.' Now I feel like I can create a road map that will make sense because it will be specifically tailored to their needs." Priscilla Peterson Teacher, Westfield Middle School, Westfield, IN

"I love the way Kristina presents the information with so much enthusiasm. I love how she builds on what she's taught before." Kristen Smith Teacher, Gilmer County High School, Glenville, WV

"After 33 years of teaching, I still am drawn back into Kristina's workshops because they are research-based, standards-focused, and very interactive." Katie Cadle Teacher, Paoli Community Schools, Paoli, IN

"What a refreshing way to spend my day! I always leave a Smekens (training) revived and excited for the next school day." Brianne Hannah Teacher, Richard Allen Academy III, Hamilton, OH


Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course can begin at any time.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrollment, students have access to the content for 30 days. You determine how fast or slow you want to progress through the course during this time.
Can I share my course with colleagues?
Sorry, course sharing is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.
Can I get continuing education credits?
Most likely! With prior approval from your school district, participants may receive credit for up to 5 hours of professional development for each course. A Certificate of Completion is provided to participants when they complete all aspects of the course.
Can I earn graduate credit?
Thanks to a partnership with the Midwest Teachers Institute, educators who enroll in two eligible webAcademy courses simultaneously can earn three hours of nationally-accredited graduate credit for just $375. These are non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. Contact Brady Smekens, Director of Professional Development, for details, (888) 376-0448.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are not satisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 10 days, and we will give you a full refund.
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