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The authors review five major findings in reading comprehension and their implications for
educational practice. First, research suggests that comprehension skills are separable from decoding
processes and important at early ages, suggesting that comprehension skills should be targeted early,
even before the child learns to read. Second, there is an important distinction between reading
processes and products, as well as their causal relationship: processes lead to certain products. Hence,
instructional approaches and strategies focusing on processes are needed to improve students’
reading performance (i.e., product). Third, inferences are a crucial component of skilled
comprehension. Hence, children need scaffolding and remediation to learn to generate inferences,
even when they know little about the text topic. Fourth, comprehension depends on a complex
interaction between the reader, the characteristics of the text, and the instructional task, highlighting
the need for careful selection of instructional materials for individual students and specific groups of
students. Finally, educators may benefit from heightened awareness of the limitations and
inadequacies of standardized reading comprehension assessments, as well as the multidimensionality
of comprehension to better understand their students’ particular strengths and weaknesses.
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