Building Bridges of Understanding

Building Bridges of Understanding

Star of the Sea Primary School has taken a whole school approach in the teaching of comprehension strategies. We want to equip our students with the tools to become even better readers. Studies have shown us (National Reading Panel, 2000; Duke and Pearson, 2002; Block and Duffy, 2008; Raphael et al., 2009) that if we explicitly teach pupils strategies for understanding what they read, it improves their comprehension of a range of genres. The Building Bridges of Understanding programme which we have adopted, facilitates the teachers to teach these specific strategies in detail. Here is a summary of what we have done in Ms. Goggin’s Third Class

What could the title of this book be? What might happen in the story? What could happen next?
Prediction occurs at the beginning, during and sometimes after reading the book. We are like fortune tellers, we make predictions when we think about the cover, pictures, text and the story. Most importantly, it is only a prediction, it does not have to be right!
Each strategy has a Comprehension Processing Motion (CPM), these help students make a physical and visual representation of abstract comprehension processes.

Pic 1

Here are some children making the prediction CPM

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These two children are discussing the book “The Stranger”. We can see that one child is predicting.


We studied prediction using many books including, “A Bad Case of Stripes”, “My Lucky Day” and “When Jessie Came across the Sea.”

Here is what two 3rd class students said about prediction in our school:

“It keeps me thinking the whole time about the story”- Jamie (aged 9)

 “It makes you want to keep reading to see if you’re right”- Katelyn (aged 9)


Making Connections

Does this story remind you of anything? Has anyone ever felt like this? Does this author ever write about things similar to this?

Making Connections involves the activation of prior knowledge in the process of evoking personal connections with the text. Connections can be:

  • Text-to-Self
  • Text-to-Text
  • Text-to the-Wider World

Here is Rang 3 doing the “Making Connections” CPM

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Here are some comments from Ms. Goggin’s 3rd Class in relation to Making Connections:

Text to Self

“Makes me think more about the story- I’m connecting it to my life” Chloe (aged 9)

“Making connections tells me how other people think in my class” Killian (aged 9)

“Little parts of books can be like my life” Ana Luisa (aged 9)


Text to Text

“Anthony Browne is creative in the books he read, he uses a lot of imagination.” Siobhán (aged 9)

“Anthony Browne and Roald Dahl write funny books but other authors are more serious like Michael Morpurgo” Katelyn (aged 9)


Text to World

“In The Tunnel the brother and sister fight, everyone does that at home!” Killian Corkery (aged 9)

“Jessie left Eastern Europe in search of a better life, it’s like the famine in Ireland when people went to America.” Ciara (aged 9)

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