Hawker Brownlow Education

Jacobs Ladder

Gifted Reading Comprehension Program


Jacob's Ladder targets reading comprehension skills in high-ability learners. In the form of skill ladders connected to individual readings in poetry, myths/fables and nonfiction, students move from lower order, concrete thinking skills to higher order, critical thinking skills. For example, Ladder A moves students from Sequencing to Cause and Effect to Consequences and Implications.

Jacob’s Ladder is a learning journey for students which begins with targeted readings from fables, myths and nonfiction sources and moves through an inquiry process from basic understanding to critical analyses of the texts read. They can be used at different year levels depending on student ability. The units are designed to enhance reading comprehension. Tasks have been organised by skill ladders with questions and activities within each. Ladder rungs are organised to increase complexity in intellectual demand.


Methodology to move students from simple to complex, critical reading skills


Four ladders with three levels of comprehension on each ladder.
- Lower rungs are basic comprehension
- Highest rungs promote critical thinking skills


Jacobs Ladders

Ladder A

Implications and Consequences

Rung 1: Sequencing

Rung 2: Cause and Effect

Rung 3: Consequences and Implications

Ladder B


Rung 1: Details

Rung 2: Classifications

Rung 3: Generalisations

Ladder C


Rung 1: Literary Elements

Rung 2: Inference

Rung 3: Theme/Concept

Ladder D

Creative Synthesis

Rung 1: Paraphrasing

Rung 2: Summarising

Rung 3: Creative Synthesis