Code Crackers and Meaning Makers: An Exploration of Comprehension Strategy Instruction in Kindergarten

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Stan Steiner, Ph.D.


Anne Gregory, Ph.D.


If the question "What is reading?" is examined, we would find that reading is more than the sum of its parts. Reading is not attaching sounds to letters; this is decoding. Reading is making meaning of text (Rosenblatt, 1938). Making meaning from text requires a social structure- a posing and testing of hypotheses (Duckworth, 1996). Simply teaching children to crack the code will enable them to become proficient word callers without the requisite skill of comprehending the text. Learning comprehension strategies are important to readers in that they allow access to knowledge that is outside the realm of personal experience (Stahl, 2004). Children who actively engage and interact with text using particular cognitive strategies (activating prior knowledge, predicting, organizing, questioning, summarizing, and creating mental images) are more likely to understand and remember more of what they have read (Duffy, 1993). These cognitive strategies have historically been taught successfully to older primary students (third grade and up) (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000), but little research exists examining the efficacy of teaching comprehension strategies and facilitating their use with emergent readers (Stahl, 2004; Duke & Pearson, 2002).

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