Best Practices to Support Reading for Depth

What the cognitive science tells us really works | taught by Dr. Natalie Saaris

Course description

This self-paced online course shares the research findings for how to support reading for depth and provides tips for how teachers can bring those practices into their classrooms. We explore what makes depth challenging for students, then find ways to improve instruction in order to tackle those challenges.

The course is divided into 12 modules covering the three keys to helping students read for depth: activating thinking, supporting thinking, and revealing thinking.

Course introduction: How do we overcome the obstacles to depth?

Activate Thinking

  • asking higher-order questions
  • facilitating discussion as part of the reading process
  • encouraging strategic annotation
  • modeling expert reading


Support Thinking

  • understanding the role of content knowledge in reading comprehension
  • improving access to text
  • scaffolding complex text
  • building vocabulary for transfer


Reveal Thinking

  • integrating formative assessment into daily instruction
  • improving feedback for better results
  • promoting extensive writing
  • encouraging students to think like expert readers


Each module takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be taken in any sequence. Each module is followed by an "Action and Reflection" activity that puts the lesson into practice, as well as a multiple-choice quiz.

Course Curriculum

Support thinking: Accessibility
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Reveal thinking: Writing
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Action Summary Sheet
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Reviews (8)

Best Practices to Support Reading for Depth

by Milton Taylor
I found the Actively Learn course Best Practices to Support Reading for Depth to be engaging, informing, and thought provoking. The course materials are well organized and easy to negotiate.

by Christi Carter

Best Practices for Improving Reading Comprehension

by Stephanie Vance
I found this course very informative although not very user friendly. If there were a general set of directions at the beginning of the course that stated to hit the "NEXT" button after every completed stage, I would have found that easier than having to go back and hit the "NEXT" to go through every single section to show that that stage was complete. Other than that, excellent information.
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Best Practices to Support Reading for Depth

by Milton Taylor
I found the Actively Learn course Best Practices to Support Reading for Depth to be engaging, informing, and thought provoking. The course materials are well organized and easy to negotiate.

by Christi Carter

Best Practices for Improving Reading Comprehension

by Stephanie Vance
I found this course very informative although not very user friendly. If there were a general set of directions at the beginning of the course that stated to hit the "NEXT" button after every completed stage, I would have found that easier than having to go back and hit the "NEXT" to go through every single section to show that that stage was complete. Other than that, excellent information.

Worth sharing

by Stella Maris Berdaxagar
I found this course effective and practical to assess prior knowledge and lead future PD learning paths.

Best Practices for Improving Reading Comprehension

by Emma Contreras
I feel grateful I found this course. It has helped me a lot to better understand what reading comprehension process is and how to promote a high cognitive level approach.

by Judith Lichthart

Good reinforcement for best practices

by Thomas Klett
A lot of the information was review, but it's set up in an engaging way. It's a good refresher of how to approach reading in any classroom.

Reading Comprehension Woes - ELA 9

by Brandon Chism
Hello all, I have been struggling with ways to really keep my students engaged when it comes to reading. My students by and large do not read at home and though I do assign homework there are few accountability measures. This training got me to rethink some strategies. I found the collaboration and feedback information particularly useful. I have always felt like I needed to give the students more and better feedback, but this confirmed it. Thank you for the course!