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Comprehension Strategies

Page history last edited by MrsK Books 10 years ago


Comprehension That Works

Taken from the Planting a Literacy Garden website


Comprehension Strategy Description May be referred to or include:
Making Connections Recalling prior knowledge and experiences to help construct meaning during and across reading as you develop ideas and concepts. (I use what I know to understand what I read.) Activating
Using connections:
Text to self
Text to text
Text to world
Making Connections Good readers draw on prior knowledge and experience to help them understand what they are reading and are thus able to use that knowledge to make connections. Text to self - Evaluation Tool
Text to text -
Text to world
WiLearns (Wisconsin Literacy Education) - Making Connections Children learning to read, or struggling readers, may move directly through a text without stopping to consider whether the text makes sense based on their background knowledge, or whether their knowledge can be used to help them understand confusing or challenging material.
This resource contains teaching/learning activities that can help children learn the reading strategy of making connections.


Guided Comprehension: Making Connections Using a Double-Entry Journal (Lesson Plan Grades 3-5) by International Reading Association


NOTE: This lesson is intended as an introduction to the making connections strategy using a double-entry journal. With continued practice, students should be able to apply the strategy independently to other texts.

Classroom Strategy Posters:
Text to self
Text to text
Text to world


Visualizing Creating a mental image to help construct meaning Creating mental images
Organizing (when creating a visual through a graphic organizer)
Visual Imaging (Saskatoon Public Schools, Online Learning Centre) The practice of imaging or mentally visualizing objects, events or situations is a powerful process that assists students to construct meaning as they listen and read. Description of strategy, possible adaptations and assessment considerations.
Visualization by Education World Students are bombarded with the visual images on TV and video games. As a result, they often view reading as a passive activity. A simple technique -- visualization -- can help transform students from passive to active readers while improving their reading comprehension. The technique can be taught using this simple, step-by-step strategy from literacy consultant Cathy Puett Miller. Included: Tips and resources for improving students' comprehension.
Visualizing Lesson Plan Helping our students gain visualization skills is an important way to foster greater comprehension when reading. Struggling students' ability to monitor and evaluate their own comprehension is enhanced by mental imagery (Gambrell & Bale, 1986). When a breakdown in comprehension occurs, and a mental image cannot be visualized, students will become aware of the need for a fix-up strategy. Visualization handout to assist students in applying this strategy
Inferring Using prior knowledge and textual clues to draw conclusions and form unique interpretations Reading between the lines
Drawing conclusions
Making predictions (some writers regard this as an individual strategy)
Reflecting on reading
WiLearns (Wisconsin Literacy Education) - Inferring The teacher stomps into the classroom, slams the door shut, and glares at the students. Undoubtedly every student in that room will make the same inference: the teacher is angry and upset. ...
This resources contains teaching/learning activities that can help children learn the reading strategy of inferring.


Determining Importance Distinguishing between important and unimportant information to identify key ideas or themes Determining topic and main idea
Determining author’s message
Utilizing knowledge of narrative or expository text features/structures
Determining relevance
WiLearns (Wisconsin Literacy Education) - Determining Importance The strategy of determining importance helps a reader make decisions as to what parts of a text deserve the most attention. Not all information presented by an author is of equal importance. This resource contains teaching/learning activities that can help children learn the reading strategy of determining importance.


Synthesizing Reviewing, sorting and sifting through information leading to new insight as thinking evolves

Taking stock of meaning
Monitoring meaning
Getting the “gist”
“Aha” experience (new insight)
Searching and selecting
Refining your thinking

WiLearns (Wisconsin Literacy Education) - Synthesizing Information The strategy of synthesizing is perhaps the culmination of the other five essential comprehension strategies. Synthesizing draws upon making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring, and determining importance...

This resources contains instructional activities that can help children learn the reading strategy of synthesizing.

Synthesizing Poster (PDF)

Monitoring and Repairing Comprehension Monitoring understanding and knowing how to adjust when meaning breaks down Applying “fix-up” or “fix-it” strategies
“Look –Backs” (Duffy p. 109)
Fix Up Strategies   A great handout that summarizes several fix up strategies.
ReadingLady.com Fix Up Strategies Students will use Fix-Up strategies to monitor and repair comprehension while listening to and reading text.

Fix Up Strategies Lesson Plan (Word Doc.) or PDF Version)

Fix Up Strategy T-Chart (Word Doc)
Fix Up Strategy T-Chart (PDF Version)

Fix Up Strategies Bookmarks


Questioning Asking questions before, during and after reading to deepen comprehension and focus attention on important components of text. Clarifying meaning
Guided Comprehension Using QAR - Read-Write-Think Students learn the types of question-answer relationships (QARs), identify where and how answers can be found, and demonstrate their understanding of the strategy. NOTE: This lesson is intended as an introduction to the QAR technique. With continued practice, students should be able to apply the self-questioning strategy independently to other texts.
WiLearns (Wisconsin Literacy Education) - Questioning Who? What? Where? When? Why? Asking questions is a normal procedure for finding out about the world, and proficient readers carry a questioning attitude into their reading.
The resources contains teaching/learning activities that can help children learn the reading strategy of questioning.
Additional Links and Resources    
Literacy Matters The Reading section provides an introduction to why reading is important in the content areas and information on strategic reading.  
Activating Prior Knowledge   A poster.
Shared Reading Information and Strategies  

Created by Lori Kindrachuk (2007)


Duffy, G. (2003) Explaining Reading. New York, The Guilford Press.
Harvey, S. & Goudvis, (2000) A. Strategies That Work.York, ME: Stenhouse
McEwan, E. (2004) Seven Strategies of Highly Effective Readers. California. Corwin Press.
Miller, D. (2002) Reading With Meaning. Portland, Maine. Stenhouse Publishers.

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