Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal
Increasingly, children enter the school system with a home language that differs from the language of the majority. Consequently, classrooms have students with diverse language backgrounds and teachers must develop reading comprehension instruction that meets the needs of all their students. To successfully plan instruction, it is critical for teachers to understand the strengths that second language learners (SLLs) bring to the classroom as well as the potential difficulties they face. Here we review the literature on reading comprehension development and utilize cognitive frameworks to describe the knowledge, skills, and processes involved during reading for meaning. We use these theories to explain why SLLs may have difficulty with reading comprehension and how we might leverage their strengths in domains such as executive control to support their reading comprehension development. We further highlight for educators how strategy instruction aligns directly with cognitive theories of reading comprehension. Ideally, 2 such examples will enable educators to explicitly articulate for their students how effective strategies enable the development of comprehensive mental representations of the text, and ultimately enable good text comprehension.