Jacob's Ladder is a reading comprehension program for gifted students that spans from early primary to early secondary instruction. Students progress through an inquiry process based on targeted reading passages that emphasise the progressive, ongoing development of higher-order thinking skills that are relevant across the curriculum. This field-tested method of moving from basic understanding to critical analysis of text was developed by the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary.
Each book in the Jacob's Ladder Gifted Reading Comprehension Program comprehensively engages with the Language, Literature and Literacy strands of the Australian Curriculum: English. Through completing the activities in Jacob's Ladder students will learn to comprehend and analyse any reading passage, and demonstrate improvement in reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, as well as an increased interest in reading.
The Short Stories sections in the Jacob's Ladder, Early Primary books mainly refer to award-winning, readily-available picture books (not included). Poetry is drawn from selections by well-known poets, including A.A. Milne and Lewis Carroll. This book is suggested for gifted students in the early primary year levels (years F-1) who are already reading or show advanced levels of understanding. It is used to enhance reading comprehension and critical thinking if stories are read aloud.
Tasks at the Early Primary level are organised into six skill ladders, A-F, and each ladder focuses on a different skill. Students "climb" each ladder by answering lower-level questions before moving to higher-level questions (or rungs) at the top of each ladder. Each ladder stands alone and focuses on a separate critical thinking component in reading.