Making Meaning

Making Meaning: Whole-Class Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary

Support development of critical thinking and a lifelong love of reading.

Whether used as a stand-alone program or integrated in Collaborative Literacy, Making Meaning provides a full year of research-based, whole-class reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction, using increasingly complex texts across a wide range of genres for grades 3–6.

The program offers complete support for daily independent reading, integrated development of social skills, regular student-teacher conferences, and optional integrated book clubs.

Supporting Every Reader

In Making Meaning, comprehension strategies are taught directly through read-­aloud experiences. This ensures that students have equal opportunity to access the text regardless of their reading abilities. Then, through guided and independent strategy practice, students learn to use these strategies to make sense of their own reading. Lessons also include plenty of time for independent reading practice and individual conferences so that students of varying levels will be able to develop as readers at their own pace. Students benefit from having time to listen to and think deeply about texts and share ideas respectfully with their classmates.

Independent Reading Practice and Conferring

The program supports student practice in daily independent reading of self-selected texts, conferring, and working collaboratively to analyze texts. The program guides students in applying comprehension and self-monitoring strategies during Individualized Daily Reading (IDR). During IDR, the teacher confers with individual students about their reading. Conferring allows teachers to assess each student’s comprehension and provides an opportunity to support struggling students, encourage students to read more complex texts, and identify areas of growth for each student.

Inclusive Trade Books as Mentor Texts

Inclusive book sets are specifically curated to reflect the diversity of the world we live in. Selected read-aloud texts allow students to listen to and discuss big ideas in texts.

Explicit Vocabulary Instruction

Vocabulary lessons combine direct instruction in word meanings with engaging, interactive activities that teach high-­utility words found in the Making Meaning read-­aloud texts. Lessons also focus on developmentally appropriate word-learning strategies that students can use to unlock word meanings when reading independently.

Integrated Book Clubs

Collaborative Classroom Book Clubs, designed to build comprehension, fluency, engagement, and independence, works seamlessly with Making Meaning. The Book Clubs package includes both fully articulated lessons that establish procedures for student-led book clubs and teacher-led small-group reading lessons for students who are not quite ready for independence.

Book Clubs both deepens comprehension  and develops the social skills that facilitate small-group interactions. The program’s small-group experiences are an important part of differentiating instruction, complementing whole-class lessons and individual reading.


Making Meaning assessment tools are designed to help teachers make informed instructional decisions as they teach the lessons and track their students’ reading and social development over time. Making Meaning assessments help teachers:

  • Recognize individual students’ strengths as well as areas for improvement
  • Evaluate students’ reading comprehension, independent reading progress, and vocabulary acquisition
  • Determine grades, when needed
  • Prepare students for the reading comprehension portion of end-of-year standards-based reading assessments

Research-based and Standards-aligned

Our unique pedagogy has grown out of years of research on reading development, vocabulary acquisition, best practices in reading and vocabulary instruction, and child development. Visit our correlations site to search for correlations to the Common Core and other state standards.

Remote Learning Guidance

We recognize that educators will need options that are flexible to support their students’ learning in a variety of formats. The Remote Learning Guidance available on the Learning Portal is designed to support teachers in providing remote instruction in a blended or fully remote situation.To facilitate planning, the guidance is organized by beginning-, middle- and end-of-year. It includes instructional guidance, identifies essential learning, and suggests at-home activities.