I’m just home from the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, reading through the “Twelfth Night,” and trying to pick up anything I might have missed when I saw it on stage.  Shakespeare is a challenge and there’s no getting to the bottom of any of his plays.  There’s no last word on what the bard was trying to say.  There’s always more to be understood.

Any hope I have of comprehending a Shakespeare play – or anything else I read, for that matter – is due to teachers, from kindergarten on, who painstakingly taught me how to pull the meaning out of black words on a white page.  I remember one exercise that was particularly tedious:  After reading a story, we had to answer questions about it and provide the exact page and paragraph in the text where the answers were found.  It was comprehension in reverse:  I instinctively knew, for example, that Mr. So-and-So was mean and had it in for the clueless hero.  But how in the world did I know such a thing when it wasn’t stated directly?

I think my educational consultants, Lois Brown and Kimberly Vincent, have made things a lot more fun in the comprehension lesson plans they’ve created for my picture book Just Fine the Way They Are. If you’re a teacher – or if you know a teacher – click on the illustration below and check them out!