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Reading Strategies
The English curriculum requires teachers to give students explicit instruction in reading
strategies that will teach them to be more skillful and strategic readers. Students become
better readers when they know why they are reading. Teach them to recognize when they
are reading to be informed, reading for literary experience, or reading to perform a task,
and help them to name, select, and apply strategies appropriate for each intent. The
following strategies apply to reading in ALL content areas.
Activating Prior Knowledge
Reading Strategy

Use prereading tasks to help reader make connections

between new knowledge and what is known


Use graphic organizer that elicits thinking and discussion

about themes or ideas related to text, such as KWL and
predict/support charts. Students should read to complete the


Before Reading


Software: Inspiration, Claris Impact, Microsoft Word


Make the meaning of text clear to the reader

Application Ask questions, reread, restate and visualize to make text more comprehensible.

During Reading

Context Clues
Reading Strategy

Use words surrounding unknown word to determine its meaning


Have students complete a cloze task activity-fill in missing words,

ideas, or concepts.


During Reading


Software: Microsoft Word

Drawing Conclusions
Reading Strategy

Use written or visual cues to figure out something that is not

directly stated


Create leading questions relating to a passage. Have students

respond with their own opinions, thoughts, or ideas based on
information from the reading.


After Reading

Reading Strategy

Encourage reader to form opinions, make judgments, and

develop ideas from reading


Create evaluative questions that will lead students to make

generalizations about and critically evaluate a text.


During Reading, After Reading

Reading Strategy

Encourage self-monitoring and checking for understanding.


Select a challenging piece to model the Think Aloud

technique. While reading, interject questions* that make your
thinking public and employ the strategies** to fix the


During Reading


Online or Internet resources

Reading Strategy

Give a logical guess based on the facts or evidence presented

using prior knowledge to help "read between the lines".


Take a sentence from a text. Have students state the explicit

meaning*. They have students guess the inferential


During Reading


Software: Microsoft Word


Key Words
Reading Strategy

Identify words that guide the reader to determine the

organizational structure and content focus of the written text.


Select exerpts of text from many sources, including (but not

limited to) textbooks, pamphlets, and novels. Have students
survey the text and list key words that indicate the structure
or focus of the text.


Before Reading, During Reading


Key Word Prompts; Online or Internet resources

Reading Strategy

Use text to decide what will happen next-confirm as they



Using the Think, Pair, Share technique, have students form

predictions, share with a partner, and participate in a class


Before Reading, During Reading

Reading Strategy

Use Question Answer Relationships to identify whether an

answer will be found in the text.


Have students label questions related to a text as "right

there", "think and search", or "on my own". They should

write a brief explanation of why each fits the category.


Before Reading, During Reading, After Reading

Reading Strategy

Give the reader more than one chance to make sense of

challenging text.


Have students practice rereading a passage to check for

understanding and identify when rereading is helpful.


During Reading


Retell, shorten, or summarizes the meaning of a passage orally or in written form.

Application Have students practice restating a selection of text orally or in written form.

During Reading

Setting a Purpose
Reading Strategy


Provide a focus for the reader.


Have students read directions for a reading task and list the
requirements. Students will then need to determine why they
are being asked to read.
Encourage students to set their own purposes when reading


Before Reading

Reading Strategy


Assist reader in getting specific info from the text.

Skimming is reading quickly to get "gist" of a section.
Scanning is reading quickly to locate specific information.
Brainstorm a list of textual clues that will aid in
skimming/scanning, such as bold-face type, capital letters,
dates, key words, etc.
Practice skimming and scanning with short passages.


During Reading


Online or Internet resources

Reading Strategy


Guide the reader to organize and restate info, usually in

written form.
Have students create similes about summarizing to
understand what it looks like, such as "Summaries are like
condensed milk."

Have students complete graphic organizers or write

summaries focusing on the beginning, middle, or end of text.

During Reading, After Reading


Software: Inspiration, Claris Impact, Microsoft Word

Reading Strategy

Give the reader a general idea about text so he/she will be

able to anticipate info and structure.


Use a textbook inventory/scavenger hunt activity to have

students explore and familiarize themselves with an
unfamiliar text.


Before Reading, During Reading, After Reading

Think Aloud
Reading Strategy

Engage the reader in a metacognitive dialogue about his/her

comprehension of text and the use of reading strategies.


Select a piece of text and model conversation about the

process a reader uses. For example, "I don't understand that
sentence, I will reread it for clarity."


Before Reading, During Reading, After Reading


Reading Strategy

Use mental images that emerge from reading the text to aid
in understanding.


Read aloud a descriptive passage while students close their

eyes and imagine how it looks. Students then draw or write
what they see and justify how the text supports their image.


During Reading


Writing Strategies
Strategies to Support the Writing Process
Student need daily opportunities to work through their ideas in writing. They must
understand that writing is a process, and that it is developmental. Guide students to work
for precision, purposefulness, originality, and elegance in their writing. Focus instruction
on the structure of the students' writing, the strategies students use in creating their
written products, and the elements of style they employ.
[Asking Questions]







[Setting a Purpose]




[Talking with Others]

[Prewriting and Brainstorming]

[Using Graphic Organizers]

Strategies to Support the Writing Process

Asking Questions

Narrows a subject and develops a focus. Creates a need for adding detail.

Application Ask questions that answer who, what, when, where, why, and how?

Generates discussion about the development of a topic.


Meets with peers or teachers to talk about ideas or focus on the

draft of a written piece. Guide the conference process with


E-mail Pen Pals to conference online


Assesses the appropriateness and accuracy of forms, word choice,

and ideas.


Reread and revise writing. Elicit peer/teacher input.


Internet language arts sites (dictionaries, grammar sites, writing

sites, etc.)



Generates ideas for writing. Allows the writer to use a stream or conscious flow of

Application Write for a predetermined amount of teim about what comes to mind about a topic.

Gathers information about a topic. Develops perspective.


Use predetermined questions as a guide when speaking to

someone about a topic.


Teleconferencing; E-mail a Pen Pal; use Internet sites to collect

information (there are some good sites to "interview" people that
experienced wars, etc.)


Gathers information about a topic. Adds detail to writing.

Application Examine an object, person, or situation.

Prewriting and Brainstorming

Allows writer to plan and organize ideas before developing a



Use freewriting, graphic organizers, interviewing, think

alouds, observations, and researching to generate ideas for


Internet or online resources; Software: Inspiration, Claris

Impact, Microsoft Word


Allows the writer to reread a piece for accuracy of content and



Reread a written piece and underline, circle, or make marginal

notes regarding content or structure. Reread for different


Software: Microsoft Word (if typed) can use highlighter feature


Gathers information about a topic. Adds detail to writing.


Remember experiences or event. Connect old experiences to new ones.


Internet or online resources


Gathers information about a topic. Adds detail to writing.


Investigate a topic using a variety of sources. Read, take

notes, and expand upon ideas.


Internet or online resources; Software: Inspiration, Claris

Impact, Microsoft Word (to take notes)

Setting a Purpose

Establishes a focus for writing.

Application Select an audience and message. Match form to purpose.


Organizes and relates information from multiple sources into coherent written piece.

Application Read several sources and identify similar elements. Make connections and formulate
judgments that integrate information.
Talking with Others

Gathers information about a topic. Adds detail to writing.


Converse with peers or others to expand the focus for writing.


Internet writing chat rooms for kids; E-Mail

Using Graphic Organizers

Arranges information in a form that is relative to the

development of that written piece.


Create or use graphic organizers before writing to plan a

course of action. Create or use graphic organizers while
writing to order information in a meaningful way.


Software: Inspiration, Claris Impact, Microsoft Word

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

ABC Brainstorm
What Is An ABC Brainstorm?
Before having your students talk about a major topic, it's essential to activate their background
knowledge about it. One way to do this is the ABC Brainstorm. The idea is meant to be fairly
simple. Students try to think of a word or phrase associated with the topic, matched to each letter
of the alphabet.

How Does It Work?

Have students list all the letters of the alphabet down a sheet of paper (or use the printable ABC
Brainstorm sheet available through ReadingQuest), leaving room beside each letter to write out
the rest of a word or phrase. Let them work individually at first, thinking of as many words as they
can that could be associated with the topic you identify. Do note: The topic should be big and
general enough that students can actually think of a lot of possible terms. Then, in no particular
order, let them begin filling in the blanks beside each letter of the alphabet. For instance, if the
topic were World War II, students might list Allies, Bombers, Concentration Camps, Dachau,
Europe, French Resistance, Germany, Hitler, Italy, Japan, and so on.
It seems to work well if you give students enough time to think of a lot of ideas, but then let them
pair up or work in small groups to fill in blanks for letters they had not yet completed. In this way,
you can let the brainstorming function like a Think-Pair-Share. This would be the "Pair" phase.
Then, go around the room or get students to report out ("Share") possible terms for the different

letters of the alphabet. Be open to a wide range of possibilities! Make sure students know that
you're not looking for exact answers, just justifiable and relevant ones.

What Sorts of Topics Are Good for an ABC Brainstorm?

I say, keep it more broad and relevant. Topics like government, Islam, war (or a specific war), the
Great Depression, or a broad geographical region are probably pretty fertile for an ABC
Brainstorm. Topics previously studied, about which students know much, can be good recap
brainstorms. This might include topics like The Gilded Age, Progressivism, a given decade (the
Sixties or the Roaring Twenties, for instance), or capitalism. It's doubtful whether a narrow topic
(Saddam Hussein, Circular Flow Diagram, the Constitution) would provide enough latitude for a
good ABC Brainstorm, but you won't know until you try.

What Variations Are There?

An idea that has been credited to Janet Allen is AlphaBlocks. Rather than brainstorm ideas for all
26 letters of the alphabet, students brainstorm ideas within groups ("blocks") of letters (ABC, DEF,
GHI, and so on). This simplifies and speeds up the brainstorming, while still causing students to
turn their attention to and think about the topic at hand.
Another variation of ABC Brainstorm involves turning the topic on its side, and writing the letters
of the topic down in the same was a name poem or an acrostic. Students then brainstorm a word
or phrase associated with the topic, one for each letter of the topic starting with each letter of the
topic. For example, if the topic were COMPETITION in Economics, students might think of:
Compete, Options, Monopoly, Perfect, Economy, Trade, Imperfect, TV ads, Inside information,
Oligopoly, Natural.

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Carousel Brainstorm
[recommended by Susan Rubel of Connecticut]

What Is a Carousel Brainstorm?

Whether activating background knowledge or checking understanding after studying a topic, a

carousel brainstorm allows you to have students pull out and think about what they know about
subtopics within a larger topic.

How Does It Work?

Begin by putting students in groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a sheet of newsprint/chart paper.
Each group's sheet has a different subtopic written on it. One student serves as the recorder and
has a particular color of magic marker. Explain that the students will have a short time (say, 30
seconds) to write down on their chart paper all the terms they can think of that they associate with
their topic. Explain upfront that you will then have them pass their sheet over to the next group,
and a new topic will be passed to them. Make it clear which direction you'll have them pass the
sheets so that this is orderly AND so that each group will receive each of the subtopic sheets. At

the end of the 30 seconds, tell them to cap their markers, remind them to keep their markers, but
have them pass their sheets to the next group according to the pre-determined path for passing.
After three or four passings, you will probably want to extend the writing time to 40 seconds, then
45 seconds, and perhaps up to a minute, because all the easy ideas will have been taken by
previous groups, and the students will need more time to talk about and think of other terms to be
added to the brainstorm list. Keep having students brainstorm, write, and pass until each group
has had a chance to add ideas to each of the subtopic sheets. Let them pass it the final time to
the group who had each sheet first.
The first time I saw this strategy used was actually in an 8th grade science class. The topic was
the Circulatory System, and students had read the textbook chapter on it the night before. The
teacher began the day with Carousel Brainstorming. The individual chart paper sheets were
labeled with subtopics relevant to the Circulatory System: Heart, Lungs, Capillaries, Arteries,
Veins, Exchange of Gases, and so on.

Isn't This Like "Graffiti?"

Yep, almost exactly like it, but the difference is that with Graffiti, the sheets are posted on the wall,
and the students move around from sheet to sheet. With Carousel Brainstorming, the students
stay seated and the sheets are passed. Otherwise, it's hard to tell the difference.

How Might I Push It a Step Further?

I like to go beyond the simple brainstorm and have the group who started with the sheet look it
over when it returns to them, note all the other ideas that were added after it was passed around
to the other groups, and then circle the three terms that they think are most essential, most
important, or most fundamental to the topic at the top of their sheet. That way, they spend some
time critically evaluating all the possible terms and topics and making decisions about which are
most representative of or most closely associated with the given topic. Sometimes, students do
this quickly or almost glibly, but often the groups will spend quite a while hashing this out. That
tells me that they are really thinking about it. Then, I'll have them try to write a definition for their
topic, a statement that explains to someone who is unfamiliar with it what that topic is really about.
I tell them that since they have already circled three terms that they consider essential or
fundamental to their topic, they'll probably want to USE those three terms in their definition, or be
darned sure to consider them for inclusion in their definition. While this has the limitation of having
students think deeply about only ONE of the subtopics (the sheet they have before them, not all
the other subtopics on the other sheets), I still find great value in the depth of thinking and
conversation as we take the strategy this much further.

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Clock Buddies

[shared by Penny Juggins, Fairfax County, VA]

What Are Clock Buddies?

Clock Buddies is meant to be a quick and easy
way to create pairs for partnered activities while
avoiding the problem of kids always having the
SAME partners. It begins with a clock face, with
slots for names extending from each hour on the
dial. The basic idea is that each student has his or
her own copy of a Clock Buddies sheet, with the
names of 12 classmates on each hour's slot.
Each of those other students, in turn, has this
student's name in the matching hour slot on each
of their clock sheets.

How Does It Work?

When the teacher needs to quickly pair up
students without it always being the same
partners every time, she can say to the class: "Get with your 4 o'clock buddy." Each student will
pull out his or her clock buddies sheet, look at the 4 o'clock slot, and then join the partner
indicated. This works because when the strategy is set up, it is done so that partners always have
each other's names on their matching hour on the clock buddy chart.

Sounds Complicated...How Do I Set It Up?

The reason it may sound complicated is because you need to see it...reading about it here is
about the least productive way to really get it. Nonetheless, we'll press on! Look at the example
graphic that appears here.
This is Joey's clock buddies chart, and 12 of his classmates are listed on it. If we were to pull out
Rick's chart, we'd see that Joey's name is on Rick's 1 o'clock slot, and other children's names fill
out the rest of his clock.

What's the Best Way to Set It Up?

From the Massachusetts D.A.R.E. Program I get this idea: Clock buddies are chosen by giving
each student a clock handout with a blank line next to each hour. Each student then goes to
classmates to find a buddy for each hour. If Mike goes to Joe, Joe signs Mike's clock at ___PM
and Mike signs Joe's clock for the same time. Students cannot use a name twice and all hours
must be filled in. The clocks are then attached to the inside cover of their notebook or workbook.
When you want students to work with a buddy, you call out a random time, for example, "It's time
to work with your _____ o'clock buddy." Students will then move to and work with the buddy
whose name is at that time slot. [From Massachusetts D.A.R.E.]
I've also set this up using two concentric circles, with half of the students on the inside circle, and
around them in the larger circle is the other half of the group. (I usually take the left half and right
half of the room, or the front half and rear half, to make the two concentric circles. That way, the

opposite circle is composed of students who don't normally sit near each other.) Once the two
concentric circles are formed, each student will have one person directly across from him or her.
(If there is an odd number of students, the teacher joins the circle that has one fewer student in
it.) Have the students in pairs across from each other write each other's name in their 1 o'clock
slots. Then, tell the outer circle to move one person to the right. Now, each student has a new
partner across from him or her. This would be the 2 o'clock buddy; students write each other's
name in the 2 o'clock slot. Next, tell the inner circle to rotate one person to the right. Again, now
new partners are matched up, and these should write each other's name in the 3 o'clock slots.
Continue until all students have been all the way around or until all 12 clock slots are filled,
whichever comes first. I alternate having the outer circle move, then the inner circle, then the
outer, and so on. If each always moves to the right, you'll have an orderly progression all the way

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Column Notes

[based on Cornell note-taking system]

What Are Column Notes?

Some of you will think, Gosh - this sounds like the old Cornell note-taking system. Column notes
share characteristics in common with the Cornell system: information is grouped according to its
type, and then arranged in columns. We'll begin with 2-column notes, but you should quickly see
that the number of columns one uses is dependent upon the type of information you are dealing
with and what your purpose for engaging in it is.

How Does It Work?

The column notes format lends itself to many variations. It may be that students would use it as a
note-taking guide for their textbook reading; if so, then main ideas or headings would be listed in
the left column, and details or explanations for each would be written in the right column.
Alternatively, you might have students reading for cause and effect; if so, then causes can be
listed in the left column and the effects in the right column. Students might list key vocabulary in
the left column and definitions, examples, or sentences in the right. It may be as simple as
reworking your typical question worksheets so that questions are on the left and answers are put
on the right.
The Cornell system recommended that the left column be one-third of the page, and the right
column two-thirds. It really doesn't matter much; students may find it much easier simply to fold
their notebook paper down the middle to create the two columns neatly. Using the folded sheet
can be a great study aide: students can quiz themselves or each other with the answers safely
hidden on the other side of the folded sheet, but they can also check back and forth between
questions and answers. This format becomes a very handy tool, but it also shows the

organization of information more clearly, more dramatically, and certainly in a more visually-useful

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Comparison-Contrast Charts
Comparison-Contrast Charts do just
about what you'd expect them to with a name
like that: they're useful for looking a two
quantities and determining in what ways they
are similar and in what ways they are
different. The chart pictured here is one way
to approach this comparison. First you look
at the similarities. Then you consider the
differences, making sure to indicate on what
criteria you are drawing out the
There are certainly many ways to have
students compare things and to represent
that comparison visually. Even more wellknown than the comparison-contrast chart is
the Venn Diagram. The Venn diagram is
also very useful, as long as we keep in mind
that the real value of a Venn is in the DOING
of it...they work best when we have students,
not teachers, determining what the relevant
similarities and differences are between two
or three concepts, people, places, or ideas.
The website offers
several types of comparison-contrast charts
and Venn diagrams, which can be
downloaded and printed out from the links

Download and Print:

Comparison-Contrast Chart (shown

Venn Diagram for 2 Items
Venn Diagram for 3 Items
Venn Diagram with Summary

Venn Variations


Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Concept of Definition Map

[Schwartz & Raphael, 1985]

Concept of Definition Maps

The idea is that it's not enough to know how a word is defined in a dictionary sense. Consider
what happens with the following word that many 9th graders reading To Kill a Mockingbird may
not have encountered before:

"of or related to a church"
Example of Appropriate Use in a Sentence:
The minister's ecclesiastical robes danced in echo to his wild gestures from the pulpit.
Example of Sentence Written by a Student:
Church members are reminded to park in the ecclesiastical parking lot, rather than in the
shopping center across the street.
Besides the fact that "ecclesiastical" is probably not central to students' understanding of the
themes of To Kill a Mockingbird, it remains that the definition they were given is too onedimensional. They have not experienced its richness of meaning, nor the shades of meaning that
help us distinguish words more precisely from one another. The best way for students to
comprehend a new vocabulary term is for them to experience it. A concept of definition map helps
broaden their experience of new words.

How Do They Work?

Concept of Definition maps consider words in light of three properties or attributes:

category - What Is It?

properties - What Is It Like?
illustrations - What Are Some Examples?

Help Me Visualize A CD Map. Got a good graphic for me?

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Graphic Organizers
What Are Graphic Organizers?
You can call them graphic organizers, pictorial organizers, webs, maps, concept maps, or
whatever other name you wish to give them...but graphic organizers are basically visual ways to
represent information. You can create maps that arrange information:

according to main ideas, subtopics, and details

in sequence
to show the relationships between the different parts
according to the similarities and differences between two or more concepts
by its components, as in the elements of a story
...and lots of other ways

There are literally dozens upon dozens of versions of graphic organizers; there are almost as
many books, manuals, and guides, not to mention websites, that can give you a whole range of
examples. For our purposes here, I only want to show you how graphic organizers can be simply
an extension or adaptation of the Power Thinking strategy.

How Do They Work?

Since you know that some of your students are visual learners, and that a picture is worth a
thousand words, then you should have in your toolbox some ways to organize ideas, facts, and
concepts graphically. Graphic organizers are just the thing.
Using boxes, circles, ovals, rectangles, and other shapes, not to mention lines for connecting,
students can show information according to its level (main ideas, subtopics, details or elaboration,
and so on). They can show how two ideas compare to one another (as in a Venn Diagram) or
Comparison-Contrast Chart. They can trace the order or sequence or stages of a process. They
can show how characters in a story, or officeholders in a government, work with and relate to one
another. In economics, that time-honored Circular Flow Diagram is an example of a graphic

Don't You Think It Would Be Helpful If I Could Actually See an

Example of a Graphic Organizer?
I imagine it would be; I've put one example below.
You should also check out what the North Central Regional Education Library offers, by going
Here's a traditional web layout when you employ Power Thinking notions into your graphic

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

History Frames/Story Maps

What Are History Frames?
Here is one of the strategies that we ought to be using in history and social studies classes
because it lets us take advantage of a tool that students probably already possess ... namely, the
story maps they've been using in English and Language Arts and Literature for years and years.
When looking at stories and novels, students are often asked to focus on the "elements" of story:
setting, characters, plot, and theme, among others.
When we look at historical events, we're interested in the same things:
where and when did the event take place?
who was involved?
what was the problem or goal that set events in motion?
what were the key events?
how was it resolved?
and, for theme, so what? what's the universal truth, the reason this matters?
[For you science teachers our there who have stopped by this site, you might also consider taking
advantage of the traditional story map (if your students are already using these maps in other
classes) to have them write up their lab reports ... see the chart below.]

How Do These Frames & Maps Work?

1. Characters: Who are the people who were involved in this? Which ones played major
roles, and which ones were minor?
2. Setting: Where and when did this event take place? Over what period of time?
3. Plot: This section is broken into three parts:
o Problem/Goal: What set events in motion? What problem arose, or what were
the key players after?
o Events/Episodes: This is to get students to focus on summarizing...they focus
on the key steps or events that capture the progress of the situation.
o Resolution/Outcome: How was the problem solved? Was the goal attained? (It's
probably pretty important to stress to students that they should go back to the
problem or goal they identified in order to say how it was resolved or whether it
was met.)
4. Theme. I think of this as the "so what?" of a history frame or story map. You might think
of it as the universal truth or revelation, the larger meaning or importance, the moral, the
"what we've learned from this," and so on. A wonderful teacher named Donna Feary
suggested to me that the theme ought to be the way that a student relates the event to his
own life, and we decided that perhaps the Theme can be divided into two components:
o a universal truth
o a personal truth

Seems like a good idea!

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Inquiry Chart

What Is An I-Chart? Inquiry Charts were developed by James V. Hoffman, based on the work of
McKenzie, Ogle, and others. I-Charts offer a planned framework for examining critical questions
by integrating what is already known or thought about the topic with additional information found
in several sources.
How Does It Work? On a given topic, you'll have several questions to explore. These are found
at the top of each individual column. The rows are for recording, in summary form, the information
you think you already know and the key ideas pulled from several different sources of information.
The final row gives you a chance to pull together the ideas into a general summary. It's at this
time you'll also try to resolve competing ideas found in the separate sources or, even better,
develop new questions to explore based on any conflicting or incomplete information.
How Does It Look, Generally? The I-Chart that appears below is merely a suggestion. You and
your students can create for yourselves an I-Chart to help you analyze several sources of
information. You should feel free to modify the I-Chart, such as including a bottom row to list new

Inquiry Chart
Question Area 1
What I Think

Source #1

Source #2

Question Area 2

Question Area 3

Question Area 4

Source #3


Strategies for Reading Comprehension


What Is K-W-L?.
K-W-L is the creation of Donna Ogle and is a 3-column chart that helps capture the Before,
During, and After components of reading a text selection.

K stands for Know

This is the prior knowledge activation question.
W stands for Will or Want
What do I think I will learn about this topic?
What do I want to know about this topic?
L stands for Learned
What have I learned about this topic?

How Does It Work?

1. On the chalkboard, on an overhead, on a handout, or on students' individual clean
sheets, three columns should be drawn.
2. Label Column 1 K, Column 2 W, Column 3 L.
3. Before reading (or viewing or listening), students fill in the Know column with words,
terms, or phrases from their background or prior knowledge. If you are having them draw
on a topic previously learned, then the K column may be topic-related. But if the topic is

something brand-new, and they don't know anything (or much) about it, you should use
the K column to have them bringing to mind a similar, analogous, or broader idea.
4. Then have students predict what they might learn about the topic, which might follow a
quick glance at the topic headings, pictures, and charts that are found in the reading. This
helps set their purpose for reading and focuses their attention on key ideas.
5. Alternatively, you might have students put in the middle column what they want to learn
about the topic.
6. After reading, students should fill in their new knowledge gained from reading the content.
They can also clear up misperceptions about the topic which might have shown up in the
Know column before they actually read anything. This is the stage of metacognition: did
they get it or not?

Common Issues with K-W-L

"My students don't have background knowledge!

The reason to do the K column of the K-W-L is to have students bring to mind something
they already know, as a hook to which new information can be attached. Some people
who use K-W-L complain that their students either don't know anything or what they know
is wrong. That's a great sign that the students have been asked not about what they
know, but about what they don't know. Please "know" this: ALL students have background
or prior knowledge. As teachers, we have to know our content well enough that we know
how it's like something that would be familiar to our students. That should determine what
we ask in the K column. It may OR MAY NOT be the topic.
"I ask what they want to know, and they think of a zillion things!"
Especially with younger elementary children, they'll suggest all kinds of questions for
what they want to know. And with older kids, maybe they say, "Nothing!" That's why I like
Pat Widdowson's suggestion: Use the W to ask what they think they WILL learn. Then,
it's predictive, which is what good readers are anyway.

Download and Print:

K - W - L Chart (shown below)

K - W - L Chart (modified)

Can You Show Me What the Chart Would Look Like?

What Do I Already Know?

What Do I Think I Will

What Do I Want To Know?

What Have I Learned?

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

What Is Opinion-Proof?
Opinion-Proof is a particular application of column notes. It's designed to take the power of
students' own opinions about their content and harness them as tools of learning. The basic idea
is that an opinion can be put forward, but it should be a supported opinion, based on ideas, facts,
or concepts found within the material being studied (or based on research that a student has

How Does It Work?

Two columns are set up for the basic Opinion-Proof chart. Label the left column "Opinion". Label
the right column "Proof". Whatever opinion the teacher assigns or which students choose
themselves is written in the left column. Then, support for that opinion is culled from the text,
video, newspaper, story, or other source of content. Students can then use their Opinion-Proof
charts to write a persuasive essay, compose an editorial suitable for a newspaper, or to prepare
themselves for a classroom debate, among other things.

What Does an Opinion-Proof Chart Look Like?

Imagine using the following as a pre-writing activity for a persuasive essay.




President Truman
was justified in
resorting to the use
of the atomic bomb
in the final days of
World War II.

The Japanese government and military had

committed to fight to the last man.
The alternative to atomic bombing was an
invasion of Japan, which would have resulted in
enormous numbers of casualties among U.S.
The United States was in a race to develop
atomic weapons and had no idea whether or if
the Japanese were also developing their own
weapons of mass destruction.
A continuation of the war indefinitely would cost
untold thousands of military and civilian deaths
on both sides of the fighting.
A continuation of the war indefinitely would
continue to drain the resources of the United
States and the other Allied Powers.
A continuation of the war indefinitely would
further delay efforts to rebuild the war-torn

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Power Thinking
What Is Power Thinking?.
Power Thinking is an alternative system for outlining information that is hierarchical in nature. In
other words, the information can be grouped according to main ideas, subtopics, and details. It
considers information according to which level it belongs on, and we use numbers to signify those

How Does It Work?

Power 1: main idea, thesis, topic
Power 2: subtopic, category of Power 1, detail of a Power 1

Power 3: detail or subtopic of a Power 2

...and so on...

Can You Show Me What a Power Thinking Outline Would Look Like?
1: TV Shows
2: Dramas
3: E.R.
3: Pretender
3: Law & Order
2: SitComs
3: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
3: Kramer
3: Everybody Loves Raymond
2: Soap Operas
3: All My Children
3: As the World Turns
3: Young & the Restless

That's Nice, but How About One Related to Social Studies?

Five Themes of Geography
1: Location
2: Absolute
3: latitude and longitude coordinates
3: street address
2: Relative
3: in the Atlantic Ocean
3: west of Madagascar
3: 30 miles south of Albany
1: Place
2: Human Characteristics
3: houses
3: wheat fields
3: cities
2: Physical Characteristics
3: mountains
3: rivers
3: deserts
1: Human-Environment Interaction
2: Depend On
3: living near water
3: trees for lumber, paper

2: Modify
3: clearing land for farming
3: grading to create roadways
3: creating reservoirs
2: Adapt To
3: warm clothes in cold climates
3: building shelter
1: Movement
2: People
3: cars
3: planes
2: Goods
3: railroads
3: trucking
3: ships
2: Ideas
3: newspapers
3: internet
3: television
1: Region
2: Political
3: United States
3: Japan
3: Brazil
2: Language
3: Latin America
3: Arab World (where people speak Arabic)
3: English-Speaking World
2: Agricultural
3: rice-growing
3: tobacco states
3: Grain Belt
2: Industrial
3: Rust Belt
3: Silicon Valley
3: textile region

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

What Is a Problem-Solution Chart?
The Problem-Solution chart is a variation of column notes. It helps students focus on the four

areas critical to problem-solving: identifying the problem, listing the consequences or results of
that problem, isolating the causes, and proposing solutions. It is a great tool to use in social
studies, but you can imagine how it might be every bit as useful in areas such as science or

How Does It Work?

A Problem-Solution chart breaks offers a way to visually organize the distinct components of
problems toward educative ends. Because it uses a format based on column notes, students can
readily understand its layout and function. Students (or the teacher) will first identify a problem;
the effects or consequences of that problem are then listed. Students then brainstorm all the
possible causes of that problem and also come up with solutions to the problem.
But don't think this is only good for content area topics...consider some other uses as well. For
instance, if a student misbehaves, you might hand him a Problem-Solution chart to fill out before
you counsel him about his behavior. Either you can identify the problem, or you can tell the
student to identify the problem. Then, the Problem-Solution chart becomes a way for a student to
reflect on his own behavior, its consequences, and what he might do to change it. Or perhaps it's
time for a class meeting: you can tell your students you've tried everything you can think of, and
you need their help to solve a problem. Put a Problem-Solution chart on the overhead, and tell
them you want to solve the problem of homework not being turned in (or of the noise level in the
lunchroom or...) It's a great strategy for jointly solving thorny issues that the class as a whole can

How Is the Problem-Solution Chart Arranged?

Here's the basic idea...

Problem-Solution Chart
What Is The

What Are The


What Are The


What Are Some


Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Question-Answer Relationships

What Is/Are Question-Answer Relationships?

Raphael created Question-Answer Relationships as a way to help students realize that the
answers they seek are related to the type of question that is asked; it encourages them to be
strategic about their search for answers based on an awareness of what different types of
questions look for. Even more important is understanding where the answer will come from.
Teaching QARs to students begins with helping them understand the core notion: that when
confronted with a question, the answer will come either from the text or from what kids know.
These are the Core Categories, which Raphael calls
1. In the Book (or video or WWW page...)
2. In My Head

Once students are comfortable with these simpler distinctions (and do note that this does not take
very long!), it will please them to move to the next level of understanding question types. Raphael
divides "In The Book" into two QAR types (Right There and Think and Search); and "In My Head"
into two QAR types (Author & You and On My Own).

Explain Those Four QARs!

1. Right There. The answer is in the text, and if we pointed at it, we'd say it's "right there!"
Often, the answer will be in a single sentence or place in the text, and the words used to
create the question are often also in that same place.
2. Think and Search. The answer is in the text, but you might have to look in several
different sentences to find it. It is broken up or scattered or requires a grasp of multiple
ideas across paragraphs or pages.
3. Author and You. The answer is not in the text, but you still need information that the
author has given you, combined with what you already know, in order to respond to this
type of question.
4. On My Own. The answer is not in the text, and in fact you don't even have to have read
the text to be able to answer it.

Download and Print:

QAR Chart
QAR Concept Map

What Does This Look Like in Practice?

Good question. Just for practice and as an example, let's apply it to the following passage of text.
Following the passage are one example for each type of QAR.

The sun was setting, and as the senator

gazed out his office window, he could see the
silhouettes of some of the unique buildings
and monuments of Washington, D.C. Directly in
front of him at the other end of the National
Mall, the stark obelisk of the Washington
Monument thrust dramatically skyward, its red
warning lights blinking in the approaching
dusk. Although he couldn't quite see it, he
knew that beyond the Washington Monument and
the reflecting pool just past it, a huge
statue of Abraham Lincoln sat thoughtfully in
the Lincoln Memorial.

The senator was worried. A bill was

before the Congress, called Safe Surfing for
Safer Schools, that would deny federal
education dollars to states that didn't have
laws against internet pornography on their
books. He was concerned about kids having
access to dirty pictures, and even more
concerned about internet predators having
access to kids. But he also believed strongly
in the right of people to freely access
information, even if it meant sometimes
children might be exposed to adult materials.
And it seemed dangerous to take money away
from schools, where the need was desperate, if
state legislatures balked at this federal
pressure on them.
His constituents had let him know in no
uncertain terms that they supported strict
standards of decency on the internet. He knew
if he didn't support the bill, his next
election opponent would paint him as propornography, and anti-child. But he didn't
want anything to get in the way of providing
monetary support to schools through federal
The unique spires of the original
Smithsonian Institution were getting harder to
see, but there was still a faint gleam on the
green dome of the Museum of Natural History.
What was the right thing to do?
Right There

What legislation is the senator worried about?

Think and Search

What arguments is he having to weigh in his mind?

Author and You

How would you advise the Senator, and why would you
advise him so?

On My Own

What's a tough decision you've had to make?

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Questioning the Author

[McKeown, Beck, & Worthy, 1993]

What Is Questioning the Author?

Questioning the Author is a protocol of inquiries that students can make about the content they
are reading. This strategy is designed to encourage students to think beyond the words on the
page and to consider the author's intent for the selection and his or her success at
communicating it.
The idea of "questioning" the author is a way to evaluate how well a selection of text stands on its
own, not simply an invitation to "challenge" a writer. Students are looking at the author's intent, his
craft, his clarity, his short, if the author has done well, students can say so, and
they can identify why they say so. Likewise, if students are struggling over a selection of text, it
may be because it hasn't been written very clearly. Students can see this, and say so, but then
they are invited to improve on it.

How Does It Work?

The standard format involves five questions. Students read a selection of text (one or more
paragraphs, but generally not as much as a whole page), and then answer these questions:

What is the author trying to tell you?

Why is the author telling you that?
Does the author say it clearly?
How could the author have said things more clearly?
What would you say instead?

As developed by Margaret McKeown, Isabel Beck, and Jo Worthy, Questioning the Author
becomes a tool for recognizing and diagnosing inconsiderate text. Sometimes, as we know,
students struggle with content not because they are failing as readers but because the author has
failed as a writer. It is this notion of the "fallible author" that McKeown et al wish students to
become aware of. When they think a failure to understand is their own fault, students often pull
away from their reading. But if they will approach text with a "reviser's eye," as McKeown and her
colleagues put it, they can shift from trying to understand text to making text more understanable.

Got Some Text I Could Practice On?

Here's a selection that's offered just for fun, but I think you'll get the idea.

Each employee must wash

his hands thoroughly with

warm water and soap after
each trip to the toilet
and before beginning work.
What is the
author trying
to tell you?

The author is telling me that I must be clean before I can work

at my job; in particular, I have to wash my hands whether I'm
just starting work or if I've just been to the bathroom.

Why is the
author telling
you that?

I think it has to do with who the author is; in this case, I think the
author is the Health Department, which is responsible for
sanitation issues in restaurants. To keep customers of an eating
establishment from getting sick and to reduce the transmission
of disease, employees who handle food or utensils or plates
have to make sure they have clean hands.
If the author were the owner of the restaurant, though, she
would probably want her employees to wash their hands for a
similar reason, only in her case she is concerned about
different consequences. If people who eat at her restaurant get
sick because employees weren't clean, then it would hurt her
A customer might also express the same sentiment as the
Health Department or restaurant owner, but his motivation
would simply be that he doesn't wish to get sick because of
unsanitary practices by employees.

Is it said
How might the
author have
written it more

It seems pretty clear and straight-forward.

Well, it has a real legalistic sound to it. That's probably
necessary because of a uniform health code and the nature of
governmental agencies and the way that they communicate.
You can hear the unspoken tagline: "By Order of the Health
Department." In this case, it's probably written pretty clearly and
might be hard to improve upon. It does seem a little wordy. For
instance, if you tell someone to wash his hands, do you have to
remind him to do so with soap and warm water?

What would
you have
wanted to say

"Please don't make me eat your germs. Wash your hands

before touching my food!"

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Pattern Puzzles
[also known as Mystery Pot]

What Are Pattern Puzzles?

The way pattern puzzles work is this: ideas are mixed up, and students need to sort them out. Or
they are arranged one way and we ask them to arrange them another way. This is a thinking
activity that combines physical manipulation of pieces with mental manipulation of concepts. It
can be an activity undertaken by students individually, in pairs or small groups, or even as a
whole-class activity.

How Do They Work?

Imagine small slips of paper on which key ideas on the given topic have been written. They are
mixed up and put in an envelope; students are to empty the envelope and sort those ideas into a
way that makes sense. Perhaps it is to put them into a hierarchy, by grouping smaller ideas into
larger concepts or categories. Or students might instead need to arrange a series of events or
steps into a timeline or a process. Or they might be placing individual pieces on a Venn diagram,
according to whether they represent similarities or differences. Each of these is a form of
organizing; the pattern puzzle activity gives students a way to sort and process, and through
repeated approximations (or you might say "trial & error") they can arrive at a logical arrangement
of the ideas.

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

RAFT Papers
[Nancy Vandervanter, in Adler, 1982]

RAFT Papers are simply a way to think about the four main things that all writers have to

Role of the Writer

Who are you as the writer? Are you Abraham Lincoln? A warrior? A homeless person?
An auto mechanic? The endangered snail darter?

To whom are you writing? Is your audience the American people? A friend? Your
teacher? Readers of a newspaper? A local bank?


What form will the writing take? Is it a letter? A classified ad? A speech? A poem?

What's the subject or the point of this piece? Is it to persuade a goddess to spare your
life? To plead for a re-test? To call for stricter regulations on logging?

RAFT Papers give students a fresh way to think about approaching their writing. They occupy a
nice middle ground between standard, dry essays and free-for-all creative writing. RAFT papers
combine the best of both.
They also can be the way to bring together students' understanding of main ideas, organization,
elaboration, and other words, the criteria by which compositions are most
commonly judged. Check out the Framework for Writing & Composition that breaks down these
components of sound writing according to the strategies that help students better understand

Download and Print:

Blank RAFT Form

Writing & Composition Criteria Framework

That's Nice, But How About an Example?

Here's one that could be a demonstration that a student has an idea of the circular flow diagram
in economics:


Audience U.S. Mint/Bureau of Engraving

Format Memorandum
Topic Plead for Time Off

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Reciprocal Teaching
[Palincsar et al, 1984, 1986]

What Is Reciprocal Teaching?

The creation of Palinscar and Brown, Reciprocal Teaching is in some ways a compilation of four
comprehension strategies:


Please understand that some think the choice of "reciprocal" in the name of this strategy is
slightly misleading. It conjures up the image of a student in front of the class, or of students taking
turns telling each other important ideas in the text. Instead, the strategy is best at seeking to
promote comprehension by tackling the ideas in a text on several fronts.

How Does It Work?

The order in which the four stages occur is not crucial; you'll want to try out different versions of
the strategy to see if a particular protocol suits your teaching style, and your students' learning
styles, better. You will also want to choose text selections carefully to be certain that they lend
themselves to all four stages of reciprocal teaching.

How Might I Implement Reciprocal Teaching in my Classroom?

Before you can expect reciprocal teaching to be used successfully by your students, they need to
have been taught and had time to practice the four strategies that are used in reciprocal teaching.
Doesn't it make sense that they should already have learned and become comfortable with
summarizing before attempting to use it in a reciprocal teaching situation? Or questioning? Or
predicting? Or clarifying?
One approach to teaching reciprocal teaching might be to have students work from a four-column
chart, with each column headed by the different comprehension activity involved.
You might also consider implementing reciprocal teaching the way Donna Dyer of the North West
Regional Education Service Agency in North Carolina recommends. Here's one way she
suggests you use reciprocal teaching:
1. Put students in groups of four.
2. Distribute one notecard to each member of the group identifying each person's unique
a. summarizer
b. questioner

c. clarifier
d. predictor
3. Have students read a few paragraphs of the assigned text selection. Encourage them to
use note-taking strategies such as selective underlining or sticky-notes to help them
better prepare for their role in the discussion.
4. At the given stopping point, the Summarizer will highlight the key ideas up to this point in
the reading.
5. The Questioner will then pose questions about the selection:
o unclear parts
o puzzling information
o connections to other concepts already learned
o motivations of the agents or actors or characters
o etc.
2. The Clarifier will address confusing parts and attempt to answer the questions that were
just posed.
3. The Predictor can offer guesses about what the author will tell the group next or, if it's a
literary selection, the predictor might suggest what the next events in the story will be.
4. The roles in the group then switch one person to the right, and the next selection is read.
Students repeat the process using their new roles. This continues until the entire
selection is read.

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Selective Underlining
What Is Selective Underlining?
Well, there's underlining, and there's underlining selectively. [By the way, even though I'm using
the word "underlining," you can feel free to know that that also means highlighting.] The way to
make underlining useful as a tool for comprehension is for it to be strategic, selective, and
purposeful. The underlining must be undertaken toward particular ends.
Do you remember how wonderful it was to discover the highlighter, perhaps when you were in
college? I know that for me, I was more likely NOT to read the stuff I was highlighting. For some
reason, that's the effect that a highlighter had on me. Or maybe I'd look back at the selection and
find I'd pretty much colored the whole darn thing yellow. With selective underlining (and
highlighting!), the idea is to underline ONLY the key words, phrases, vocabulary, and ideas that
are central to understanding the piece. Students should be taught this strategy explicitly, given
time and means to practice, and reinforced for successful performance.

How Can I Teach My Students to Selectively Underline?

There are several ways to go about it. You may be saying, "Selective underlining is all well and
good, but have you eggheads up in the university forgotten that we use textbooks, and that our

kids only get to use them for the year, but we have to use them at least five years??" That's a fair
question, so how can you teach this strategy anyway?
1. First of all, let's realize that not every single bit of text you have students read is in a
textbook and untouchable.
2. Second, consider seeking out appropriate content sources, such as newspapers, that
students can indeed learn this strategy with while still pursuing meaningful social studies
3. Third, think about how you can get around the problem of textbooks that can't be marked
in. For instance, in order to teach the strategy, you might photocopy a page or two out of
the text that students use and distribute it to them. Make an overhead of that selection for
yourself. Model for them and guide them in practicing the strategy on the photocopies.
Alternatively, if you have enough of the materials available to you, give each student a
sheet of transparency film, some paperclips, and some overhead pens. Let them practice
directly on their texts by using the transparencies.
Think about how this strategy would work when combined with power thinking. Students might put
a box around Power 1 ideas; an oval around Power 2 ideas; and an underline under Power 3
Students might also use different colors in their underlining. Power 1s could be blue, Power 2s
could be red, and Power 3s could be green.
Practice selective underlining for different purposes: underline key vocabulary and its definitions
or explanations, and use this as an opportunity to focus on how authors reveal the meaning of
new terms within the context. Or have students underline cause and effect. Or ask them to
underline the facts and concepts that support a particular viewpoint, as might be useful with a
strategy such as Opinion-Proof. Remember, you're limited only by your own imagination with
teaching and applying selective underlining.

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Semantic Feature Analysis

[Johnson & Pearson, 1984]

What Is It?
With a Semantic Feature Analysis chart or grid, one can examine related concepts but make
distinctions between them according to particular criteria across which the concepts can be

How Does It Work?

A set of concepts is listed down the left side (or across the top; it doesn't much matter which) and
criteria or features are listed across the top (or down the side). If the concept is associated with
the feature or characteristic, the student records a Y or a + (plus-sign) in the grid where that

column and row intersect; if the feature is not associated with the concept, an N or - (minus-sign)
is placed in the corresponding square on the grid. For instance, consider types of government:
democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, oligarchy, theocracy, and republic. What might be the
characteristics of governments that might be associated with various types?

Help Me Visualize A Semantic Feature Analysis Chart.

Got a good graphic for me?






War Time President





Congress of Same

Served in Congress

Won Majority of
Popular Vote

Strategies for Reading Comprehension


What Is Summarizing?
Summarizing is how we take larger selections of text and reduce them to their bare essentials: the
gist, the key ideas, the main points that are worth noting and remembering. Webster's calls a
summary the "general idea in brief form"; it's the distillation, condensation, or reduction of a larger
work into its primary notions.

What Are We Doing When We Summarize?

We strip away the extra verbiage and extraneous examples. We focus on the heart of the matter.
We try to find the key words and phrases that, when uttered later, still manage to capture the gist

of what we've read. We are trying to capture the main ideas and the crucial details necessary for
supporting them.

When You Ask Your Students to Summarize, What Usually Happens?

they write down everything

they write down next to nothing
they give me complete sentences
they write way too much
they don't write enough
they copy word for word

What Did You Want Them To Do?

pull out main ideas

focus on key details
use key words and phrases
break down the larger ideas
write only enough to convey the gist
take succinct but complete notes

How Can I Teach My Students to Summarize?

Please be warned: teaching summarizing is no small undertaking. It's one of the hardest
strategies for students to grasp, and one of the hardest strategies for you to teach. You have to
repeatedly model it and give your students ample time and opportunities to practice it. But it is
such a valuable strategy and competency. Can you imagine your students succeeding in school
without being able to break down content into manageable small succinct pieces? We ask
students to summarize all the time, but we're terrible about teaching them good ways to do this!
Here are a few ideas; try one...try them all. But keep plugging away at summarizing. This strategy
is truly about equipping your students to be lifelong learners.

After students have used selective underlining on a selection, have them turn the sheet
over or close the handout packet and attempt to create a summary paragraph of what
they can remember of the key ideas in the piece. They should only look back at their
underlining when they reach a point of being stumped. They can go back and forth
between writing the summary and checking their underlining several times until they have
captured the important ideas in the article in the single paragraph.
Have students write successively shorter summaries, constantly refining and reducing
their written piece until only the most essential and relevant information remains. They
can start off with half a page; then try to get it down to two paragraphs; then one
paragraph; then two or three sentences; and ultimately a single sentence.
Teach students to go with the newspaper mantra: have them use the key words or
phrases to identify only Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Take articles from the newspaper, and cut off their headlines. Have students practice
writing headlines for (or matching the severed headlines to) the "headless" stories.
Sum It Up: Pat Widdowson of Surry County Schools in North Carolina shared this very
cool strategy with me. How's it work? You have students imagine they are placing a
classified ad or sending a telegram, where every word used costs them money. Tell them
each word costs 10 cents, and then tell them they can spend "so much." For instance, if
you say they have $2.00 to spend, then that means they have to write a summary that
has no more than 20 words. You can adjust the amount they have to spend, and therefore
the length of the summary, according to the text they are summarizing. Consider setting
this up as a learning station, with articles in a folder that they can practice on whenever
they finish their work early or have time when other students are still working.

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

To help gather and sort information, and then to make sense of it, students can complete a
Thesis-Proof chart. A Thesis-Proof chart is used to help identify and record the supporting ideas
that are found in the process of research. It can be a tool for gathering evidence to support a
single thesis, or (as is shown here) it can be used to look at competing sides of a single thesis.

To do a Thesis-Proof activity, begin with a separate sheet of paper. Across the top, write the
guiding question, converted into a thesis statement. Underneath this, make two columns, and
label one SUPPORT and the other OPPOSITION. Then, as you conduct research you'll jot down
the key ideas from the various sources, making certain they fall either under supporting or
opposing your thesis.
[Thesis Statement]

Support For Thesis

Info Opposed to Thesis

[Space for a Summary Paragraph]

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

[Lyman, 1981]

What Is Think-Pair-Share?
Think-Pair-Share is a cooperative discussion strategy developed by
Frank Lyman and his colleagues in Maryland. It gets its name from the
three stages of student action, with emphasis on what students are to
be DOING at each of those stages.

How Does It Work?

1) Think. The teacher provokes students' thinking with a question or
prompt or observation. The students should take a few moments
(probably not minutes) just to THINK about the question.
2) Pair. Using designated partners (such as with Clock Buddies),
nearby neighbors, or a deskmate, students PAIR up to talk about the
answer each came up with. They compare their mental or written
notes and identify the answers they think are best, most convincing, or
most unique.
3) Share. After students talk in pairs for a few moments (again,
usually not minutes), the teacher calls for pairs to SHARE their
thinking with the rest of the class. She can do this by going around in
round-robin fashion, calling on each pair; or she can take answers as

they are called out (or as hands are raised). Often, the teacher or a
designated helper will record these responses on the board or on the

Why Should I Use Think-Pair-Share?

We know that students learn, in part, by being able to talk about the
content. But we do not want that to be a free-for-all. Think-Pair-Share
is helpful because it structures the discussion. Students follow a
prescribed process that limits off-task thinking and off-task behavior,
and accountability is built in because each must report to a partner,
and then partners must report to the class.
Because of the first stage, when students simply THINK, there is Wait
Time: they actually have time to think about their answers. Because it
is silent thinking time, you eliminate the problem of the eager and
forward students who always shout out the answer, rendering
unnecessary any thinking by other students. Also, the teacher has
posed the question, and she has EVERYONE thinking about the answer,
which is much different from asking a question and then calling on an
individual student, which leads some students to gamble they won't be
the one out of 30 who gets called on and therefore they don't think
much about the question. Students get to try out their answers in the
private sanctuary of the pair, before having to "go public" before the
rest of their classmates. Kids who would never speak up in class are at
least giving an answer to SOMEONE this way. Also, they often find out
that their answer, which they assumed to be stupid, was actually not
stupid at all...perhaps their partner thought of the same thing.
Students also discover that they rethink their answer in order to
express it to someone else, and they also often elaborate on their
answer or think of new ideas as the partners share. These, it seems,
are powerful reasons to employ Think-Pair-Share in order to structure
students' thinking and their discussion.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Three-Minute Pause
[as modeled by Jay McTighe]

What Is a Three-Minute Pause?

At a wonderful workshop on the backwards design planning process
(as suggested by Ralph Tyler and further developed by Grant Wiggins),
Jay McTighe incorporated a Three-Minute Pause as a break in large
sections of content. The Three-Minute Pause provides a chance for

students to stop, reflect on the concepts and ideas that have just been
introduced, make connections to prior knowledge or experience, and
seek clarification.

How Does It Work?

1) Summarize Key Ideas Thus Far. The teacher instructs students
to get into groups (anywhere from three to five students, usually).
Give them a total of three minutes for the ENTIRE process. First, they
should focus in on the key points of the lesson up to this point. It's a
way for them to stop to see if they are getting the main ideas.
2) Add Your Own Thoughts. Next, the students should consider
prior knowledge connections they can make to the new information.
Suggested questions: What connections can be made? What does this
remind you of? What would round out your understanding of this?
What can you add?
3) Pose Clarifying Questions. Are there things that are still not
clear? Are there confusing parts? Are you having trouble making
connections? Can you anticipate where we're headed? Can you probe
for deeper insights?

Why Should I Take the Time for a 3-Minute Pause?

It depends on how much "stuff" you want students to be thinking
about before they get a chance to process the new information. If you
don't want to have to keep reteaching information, then you should
give your students time to think about, make sense of, organize, and
reflect on their learning. The Three-Minute Pause is a perfect bridge, a
chance for students to consolidate and clarify their emerging
understanding, before you move on to teach more new ideas or
concepts. It's simple, straightforward, productive, efficient, and
instantly useful.
The Three-Minute Pause has been around for a while, and it's taken a
lot of different forms. This version of it I wish to credit to Jay McTighe.
He is the co-author, with Grant Wiggins, of the well-regarded
Understanding By Design, published by the Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension


[first suggested to me by Penny Juggins of Fairfax County, VA]

What Is a 3

- 2 - 1?

The idea is to give students a chance to summarize some key ideas,

rethink them in order to focus on those that they are most intrigued
by, and then pose a question that can reveal where their
understanding is still uncertain. Often, teachers use this strategy in
place of the usual worksheet questions on a chapter reading, and
when students come to class the next day, you're able to use their
responses to construct an organized outline, to plot on a Venn
diagram, to identify sequence, or isolate cause-and-effect. The
students are into it because the discussion is based on the ideas that
they found, that they addressed, that they brought to class.

How Does It Work?

Students fill out a 3-2-1 chart with something like this:
3 Things You Found Out
2 Interesting Things
1 Question You Still Have
Now, that's just the suggested version. Depending upon what you're
teaching, you can modify the 3-2-1 anyway you want. For instance, if
you've just been studying the transition from feudalism to the rise of
nation-states, you might have students write down 3 differences
between feudalism and nation-states, 2 similarities, and 1 question
they still have.

Got A Version I Can Print Out?

But of course! You can download and print a version of a blank 3-2-1
chart and the generic version as described above. They are both on
the same sheet; you can copy and cut them into half-sheets.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Venn Diagrams
[with thanks to Father John Venn]

What Is a Venn Diagram?

Venn Diagrams have been around a long time. We borrow them from the field of math, but
their application to all subjects is pretty well-established now. They are a visual representation of
the similarities and differences between concepts. Created by overlapping two (or three) ovals,

students record features or characteristics of the concepts in the respective ovals, making sure
that any shared characteristics are written in the overlapping portion of the ovals.

What's the Use?

The value of the Venn diagram is in the "doing" of it. They are for us simply a graphic organizer, in
this case one whose purpose is to help structure the way students think about the similarities and
differences between concepts. They work best when we have the students completing them, not
when the teachers are doing it for them. Students are already able to compare things, because
they do it all the time: they compare clothes, they compare movies and TV shows, they compare
musical artists, they compare parents, they compare boyfriends and girlfriends. It's not that they
lack the capacity to compare. What we want to do as teachers is to channel and support their
thoughtful consideration of important similarities and differences.

How Do I Teach Them?

You can and should model how you want them to use the Venn, but you should also move quickly
to putting the task into their hands. Chances are the strategy is not new to the students. Even
kindergartners use Venn diagrams; I've seen many creative uses of hullahoops overlapping on
the floor that these youngsters then place cards or pictures in. But still you should keep it simple
at first. What MAY be new to students is your request of them that THEY complete the Venn
diagram instead of merely copying what you put on the overhead or front board. [Remember: the
value of the Venn is in the doing of it!] This means they need to first be able to identify significant
characteristics of the topics or concepts (see some of the other stratregies, such as selective
underlining/highlighting, or consider the usefulness of Post It notes for text reading selections).
Early on, use familiar topics (for instance, at the beginning of the year, have students pair up and
complete a Venn diagram on the similarities and differences between the partners). Or pick a
popular topic, fad, event, and so on. Keep pushing them to note significant traits or attributes of
topics; keep the focus on how to compare them. As students begin producing their own Venn
diagrams, DO NOT fall into the trap of thinking there is a right Venn and a wrong one. (The worst
thing I can imagine happening is that you let students create their own, and then tell them you're
putting the "correct" on the overhead!) Judge them on how well they selected out key
characteristics and whether they can justify the classification of similarities and difference.

What Are Some Social Studies Topics for Comparing?

It is an endless list, but consider having students compare regions of the state or country;
economic features of the North and South before the Civil War; Washington, Jefferson, and
Lincoln; terrorist versus freedom fighter; capitalism vs. communism vs. traditional economies;
branches of government; political parties; US invasion of Iraq vs. Russian invasion of Chechnya
(or Georgia); national vs. state vs. local government; or CIA vs. FBI.

Download and Print:

Venn Diagram Venn Diagram
for 2 Items
for 3 Items

Venn Diagram Venn Diagram

with summary

Variation #1

Variation #2

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

Vocabulary Word Maps

What Is It?
A vocabulary word map is a visual organizer that helps students engage with and think about new
terms or concepts in several ways.

How Does It Work?

The new term goes in the middle of the map. Students fill in the rest of the map with a definition,
synonyms, antonyms, and a picture to help illustrate the new concept.

Help Me Visualize A Vocabulary Word Map.

Got a good graphic for me?

Frameworks for Choosing Comprehension


Before-During-After Framework
Conditional Knowledge of strategy use requires some sense about what my
objectives are or what conditions for learning I want to create in my classroom.
This webquest is asking you to develop a framework, using social studies
essential skills, to which you can assign various reading comprehension
strategies so that you will have a better idea about when to use them.

Generating Background Understanding the

Main Idea

Active Learning


selective underlining


concept maps

power notes

power notes

concept of definition

pattern puzzles

selective underlining

text structure: authors craft

2-column notes

pattern puzzles


concept maps

2-column notes

questions at end

concept maps


reciprocal teaching


concept of definition





question-answer relationships

journals/learning logs

reciprocal teaching



RAFT papers

focused, sticky-note, seed discussions

National Council for the Social Studies

Essential Skills
[1989, 1994]

Following is a brief review of the Essential Skills of Social Studies, as found in the Appendix of the
printed version of the NCSS document Expectations of Excellence: National Standards for Social
Studies. As you review them, try to think about what students look like or how they behave when
they are engaged in the demonstration and acquisition of these skills. Promoting the development
of these skills in our students is dependent on carefully sequencing the activities of instruction.
Clearly, some strategies are better at promoting engagement with a given skill than are others.
Soon you will be asked to consider which comprehension and content reading strategies are best
at developing these skills in your students. You will do so in order to help create your own
framework of conditional knowledge: if these are the skills, then when do I apply a given strategy?
When you're ready, download and print the NCSS Essential Skills chart in order to fill in the
strategies you think best correspond to the given skills.

Acquiring Information
The skill that might be considered a first among equals, the gathering of data in social studies is
the foundation of intellectualizing our discipline. This essential skill is subdivided into the following

reading skills
study skills
reference and information search skills
technical skills unique to electronic devices

Organizing and Using Information

In social studies, we look at our data and seek patterns and structure in them, and we seek to
understand why those patterns are there. We develop concepts based on comparisons or
interpretations or syntheses. We apply intellectual skills to the information at hand. But then we
must decide what to do about our findings; this is where decision-making skills come into play.
Finally, students in social studies are called to be metacognitive: to judiciously strategize (with a

focus on knowing when to apply an action or take a course and to monitor one's own thinking and
learning process.

thinking skills
1. classify information
2. interpret information
3. analyze information
4. summarize information
5. synthesize information
6. evaluate information

Interpersonal Relationships and Social Participation

Ah, but then what? After gathering data, intellectualizing it, and making decisions about it, we
must then communicate those decisions to others. How we are changed by our encountering of
the ideas plays out on the individual, group, and societal level. Social studies seeks to promote
effective participation in our democracy at all three levels.

personal skills
group interaction skills
social and political participation skills

Common Assessment Criteria Components

Writing and Composition

[based on writing assessments in North Carolina]

Some teachers find it useful to focus on particular components of essay and composition
development in order to improve students' performance on writing tasks. Good writers are
concerned with, among other things:

Main Ideas

Thanks to the participation and contributions of teachers from across the state of North Carolina,
who participated in the 1998 Summer Institute in Reading hosted by the North Carolina
Department of Public Instruction, you can find a suggested framework for writing and
composition. You can download and print a chart that looks at how specific strategies can assist
students in sharpening their skills with basic components of composition and writing. There is

space for you to add your own strategies to the list under each heading; the list that is provided is
suggestive and certainly not exhaustive.
This framework not only considers which strategies might be useful in tackling the individual
criteria components, but it also suggests that you consider the RAFT strategy as a
comprehensive way to pull all those components together again. Well-written RAFT papers will
include well-structured and organized main idea development, with convincing elaboration and
supporting detail, and they will be tied together through coherent prose that suggests a unified



power thinking
selective underlining
concept mapping
2-column notes

spool paper
mystery pot
story plans
flow/sequence map



power thinking
selective underlining
concept mapping
2-column notes
sentence expansion
sticky notes

framed paragraphs
spool paper
mystery pot

RAFT Paper
to bring it all together

National Council for the Social Studies

Alternative Skills Frameworks

Writing & Composition
Essential Skills
Civic Action Skills
1990 Skills

Not to confuse you, but there are a couple of variations of Social

Studies skills frameworks floating around. The skills reported in the
online version of Expectations of Excellence: National Standards for
Social Studies are listed under a section on Applying Skills to Civic

Action. The text below largely mirrors what they have written there.
There is also a set of skills from 1990, although I'm uncertain about
their source, other than they are another set of skills put out by the
National Council for the Social Studies. A brief description of those
four skill areas is also below.
Because it is extremely beneficial, and essential, that you consider
when strategies are best used, a skills framework can be of
tremendous use to you. It gives you a way to think about what your
students are actually doing and to match the strategies to the
behaviors you would like to see. Toward that end, there are three
blank versions of social studies skills charts; pick one, download it
(you will need Adobe Acrobat or a similar reader), and print it out.
Then fill it out with the strategies that best correspond to the given
skills, and behaviors, you want your students engaged in and

Essential Skills Framework

Skills for Civic Action
1990 Skills

Applying Skills to Civic Action [1994]

These skill categories should not be seen as a fragmented list of
things that students and teachers should do. Rather, they should be
used as an interconnected framework in which each skill is
dependent upon and enriched by all other skills. All together are
necessary for a program of excellence:

Acquiring Information and Manipulating Data

To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be
designed to increase the student's ability to read, study, search for
information, use social science technical vocabulary and methods,
and use computers and other electronic media.

Developing and Presenting Arguments, Policies,

and Stories
To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be
designed to increase the student's ability to use the writing process
and to classify, interpret, analyze, summarize, evaluate, and present

information in well-reasoned ways that support better decisionmaking for both individuals and society.

Constructing New Knowledge

To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be
designed to increase the student's ability to conceptualize unfamiliar
categories of information, establish cause/effect relationships,
determine the validity of information and arguments, and develop a
new story, model, narrative, picture, or chart that adds to the
student's understanding of an event, idea, or persons while meeting
criteria of valid social studies research.

Participating in Groups
To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be
designed to increase the student's ability to express and advocate
reasoned personal convictions within groups, recognize mutual
ethical responsibility in groups, participate in negotiating conflicts and
differences or maintain an individual position because of its ethical
basis, work individually and in groups, and accept and fulfill
responsibilities associated with citizenship in a democratic republic.

Social Studies Skills [1990]

Data Gathering Skills

Students acquire information by observation or reading a variety of

sources, ranging from textbooks to primary sources to newspapers.
This is what we do in social studies first: we seek out and examine
information which is then used to help us make sense of the world
around us or to inform our subsequent actions.

Intellectual Skills

Students compare, classify, question, draw conclusions, generalize,

and predict. When students engage their intellectual skills, they are
taking the information they have gathered and are manipulating it in
some way to lead to greater understanding, to assist in resolving
inquiry, to assimilate it, or to extend it.

Decision Making Skills

Students consider alternatives and their respective consequences;

they make decisions and justify them; they act on their decisions.

Interpersonal Skills

Students are encouraged to think about their place among the larger
group; to empathize; to consider their own beliefs and those of

Reading Strategies
Dr. Kathleen King
Many ideas in this handout are from a lecture by Dr. Lee Haugen, former Reading
Specialist at the
ISU Academic Skills Center
For many of you, reading at the college level is an entirely new experience. You've been
reading for 12 years or more in school and for pleasure, but academic reading can be
overwhelmingly difficult for those whose skills are less than excellent. In K-12 reading,
the focus is often on the concrete aspects of the text, the facts, what is easily visible on
the page, and writing about reading requires only that you regurgitate basic information.
College reading, on the other hand, requires meta-cognition, the ability to orchestrate
your own learning. You need to think about how your learning style interacts with the
text you are reading, and perhaps change your reading strategies to meet the challenges of
that text.
There are four variables to be considered when learning how to read more successfully:
the reader, the text, the strategies, and the goal. Characteristics of the reader include
reading skills, interest in the topic, physical factors such as sleepiness or hunger. The text
varies in type (novel, science, play,psychology, etc.) and difficulty. Some reading is easy
and moves along quickly, while other reading is quite dense and perhaps even tedious,
packed with information. The next factor, strategies employed by the reader, makes all
the difference. The goal of this handout is to give you a larger repertoire of reading
strategies, to help you read less and get more out of it. The final consideration is the
purpose. Why are you reading this text, and what do you want to get out of it?
Some students are good readers. Perhaps their parents read to them when they were
young, and as adults they read a great deal, read for pleasure, and find reading easy. They
instinctively understand how to use reading strategies. For instance, when reading a
newspaper, these students have no difficulty scanning the pages quickly, then slowing
down to focus on one interesting article.

Others are lazy and inattentive about reading, or feel insecure and easily intimidated by
complex material. They have never had to read anything as difficult as their college
textbooks and research materials. Such students have not learned to use a variety of
reading strategies, but they think of themselves as dumb rather than untrained.
Every time you read, you're teaching yourself how to read. For instance, if you read class
materials in bed at night and fall asleep after a few minutes, you're teaching yourself to be
uncaring and sleepy when you read.
Academic reading is not easy. Part of learning to use reading strategies is to try out new
and different ways of reading. Even professors read, think, write, reread, puzzle over
ideas. No one gets it the first time. Successful students learn how to read effectively and
remember what they read. You need to learn ways to leap into reading, keep going, finish
up, summarize, and connect the new information to other knowledge you have acquired.
Below is a list of reading strategies to try. Keep in mind that any three strategies may be
enough to make you a better reader. Experiment with different methods and see what
works for you. The goal is to develop a reading system which will help you in the long
term, not just for this class, but for life.
Read sitting up, with a good light, at a desk or table.
Keep background noise to a minimum. Loud rock and roll music will not make you a
better reader.
The same goes for screaming kids, talking roommates, television or radio. Give yourself
a quiet environment so that you can concentrate on the text.
Keep paper and pen within reach.
Before beginning to read, think about the purpose for the reading. Why has the teacher
made this assignment? What are you supposed to get out of it? Jot down your thoughts.
Survey the reading. Look at the title of the piece, the subheadings. What is in dark print
or stands out? Are there illustrations or graphs?
Read the introduction and conclusion, then go back and read the whole assignment. Or
read the first line in every paragraph to get an idea of how the ideas progress, then go
back and read from the beginning.
Scan the entire reading, then focus on the most interesting or relevant parts to read in
Pay attention to when you can skim and when you need to understand every word.

Write as you read. Take notes and talk back to the text. Explicate (explain in detail) and
mark up the pages. Write down what interests or bores you. Speculate about why.
If you get stuck in the reading, think and write about where you got stuck. Contemplate
why that particular place was difficult and how you might break through the block.
Record and explore your confusion. Confusion is important because it's the first stage in
When the going gets difficult, and you don't understand the reading, slow down and
reread sections.
Break long assignments into segments. Read 10 pages, then do something else. Later,
read the next 10 pages and so on.
Read prefaces and summaries to learn important details about the book. Look at the table
of contents for information about the structure and movement of ideas. Use the index to
look up specific names, places, ideas.
Translate difficult material into your own words. Create an alternative text.
Answer the questions at the end of the chapter.
Answer these question in your own words: What's the author talking about? What does
the author want me to get out of this?
Read the entire piece, then write a one paragraph or one sentence summary.
Transcribe your notes in the book or handwritten notes into more formal notes on the
computer. Turn your first notes into a list of ideas or a short essay.
Review the ideas in the text after you finish reading. Ask yourself questions to determine
what you got out of the reading.
Mark up the text, bring it to class, and ask questions about what you don't understand.
Post an email to the class Mailing List and ask for responses from the teacher and fellow
Consult another source. What does another author have to say on the same topic?
Disagree with the author. Become a devil's advocate. Remember, you don't have to
believe an idea to argue about it.
Think about the text in three ways. 1. Consider the text itself, the basic information right
there on the page. (This is the level of most high school readers and many college

students.) 2. Next think about what is between the lines, the conclusions and inferences
the author means you to draw from the text. 3. Finally, go beyond thinking about the
text. What creative, new, and different thoughts occur as you combine your knowledge
and experiences with the ideas in the reading?
Call the Academic Skills Center at ISU (236-3662) and make an appointment for tutoring
in reading.

Reading Strategies
Scaffolding Students' Interactions
with Texts
Before During After



This active reading strategy links

Annolighting concept of highlighting key words
A Text
and phrases in a text and annotating
those highlights with marginal notes.

A Text

Annotating a text is an effective

strategy to promote active and critical
reading skills; this strategy provides a
number useful acronyms that students
can use to remember different
elements of writer's craft when
reading and annotating a text.

Anticipation Anticipation guides are typically used

as a pre-reading strategy and help to
engage students in thought and
discussion about ideas and concepts

Back to



that they will encounter in the text.

This strategy provides students with
Checking out suggestions for previewing texts of
different genre in order to read
Framework strategically based on their purposes
for reading the text.

This strategy engages students in a

Collaborative process of co-constructing their
Annotation interpretations of a text through a
collaborative annotation activity.

This reading strategy helps students

to develop deeper insights by making
Conversations connections between and across texts
Across Time from different time periods in
response to a common topic, theme,
or essential question.


Complete List of

Themes &

The dense questioning strategy can be

used to help students pose
increasingly dense questions as they
make text-to-text, text-to-self, text-toworld connections.

Frame of


The frame of reference strategy

teaches students how to create a
mental context for reading a passage;
this is accomplished by helping
students to consider what they know
about a topic and how they know
what they know.
The inferential reading strategy
provides a list of the various types of
inferences that readers make while
reading even seemingly
straightforward text; recognizing that
there are different types of inferences
helps students to analyze text more

Tools for
Reading, Writing,
& Thinking

Best Practices

consciously and strategically.


This highly adaptable strategy

encourages students to use a twocolumn note-taking strategy. In the
right column, they take notes to
synthesize essential ideas and
information from a text, presentation,
film etc.; in the left-hand column,
they interact with the content in any
way they choose (personal
connections, illustrations, etc.).

The key concept synthesis strategy

helps students to identify the most
Key Concept important ideas in a text, put those
ideas into their own words, and then
make connections between among
these important ideas

Listening to

This strategy helps students to

analyze and interpret writer's voice
through the annotation of a passage,
with particular emphasis on dictions,
tone, syntax, unity, coherence, and


This adaptable strategy teaches

students how to analyze a complex
metaphor and substantiate interpretive
claims using textual evidence.


The parallel note-taking strategy

teaches students to recognize
different organizational patterns for
informational texts and then develop
a note-taking strategy that parallels
the organization of the text.


The QAR strategy helps students to

identify the four Question-Answer
Relationships that they are likely to


Home Page

encounter as they read texts and

attempt to answer questions about
what they have read. These include
Relationships "right there" questions, "think and
search" questions, "author and you"
questions, and "on my own"










Skillful readers unconsciously use a

range of strategies to make meaning
from text. The think aloud strategy
involves modeling these strategies by
"thinking aloud" while reading and
Think Aloud
responding to a text. By making
explicit for students what is implicit
for more expert readers, it becomes
possible for students develop and
apply these strategies themselves.

The name of this reading strategy is

inspired by the work of Louise
Rosenblatt (1978), who explained
reading as a transactional process that
Transactional occurs between the text and the
reader. The Transactional Reading
Journal builds on this concept (via
Jude Ellis) and provides a flexible
framework for engaging students in a
process of active and personally
meaningful interaction with a text.

This reading strategy teaches students

how to analyze text through close
reading in order to formulate a
interpretive thesis that is supported
Writer's Craft
through assertions and textual
evidence. Students present their
interpretations to the class through a
seminar format.


What is a Strategy?
Specific Areas Where a Strategy Might Be
Why Do We Use Strategies?
How to Choose Appropriate Strategies
Understanding the Difference Between Skills
and Strategies
Best Practices in Reading
Hints for Sudents When They Get Stuck
Strategy Talk to Promote Monitoring
Reading and ESOL

What is a Strategy?
A strategy is an activity used to help students increase reading abilities. Once
the educator has diagnosed the problems and challenges that individual
students, as well as classes, are having, it is time to decide what methods of
instruction will enable the students to become proficient readers. In other
words, what will the teacher do in the classroom to meet the needs of all levels
of readers?
Return to top of page
Why Are Strategies Used?
We use strategies for the following reasons:

Reading makes more sense for struggling readers when

strategies are used
Good readers use strategies naturally
The use of strategies aides struggling readers to become
Strategies make reading more fun

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When Are Strategies Used?
To assist students in

Predicting outcomes in a reading passage

Summarizing material which has been read, both fictional

and informational
Questioning material being read
Determining important ideas while reading
Monitoring their reading
Searching for clues
Rereading to confirm
Reading ahead or back for clues

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What is the Difference Between a Skill and a Strategy?


Instructor decides what learner


Learner's needs are anticipated by


Skills are often taught in

predetermined sequence

Self-direction/need is determined by

Skills are often practiced in


Strategies are taught in a meaningful


The emphasis is often on practice

for practice's sake only

Strategies are student-centered rather

than teacher-directed

An automatic response is usually


Activities are purposeful, interactive, and


Applications to meaningful
contexts may not occur

Continual observation is practiced for

evaluation of what is needed

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What are some "Best Practices Strategies"?
(as adapted from Best Practice: "New Standards for Teaching and Learning in America's
Schools" a book by Steven Zemelman, Harvey Daniels, and Arthur Hyde)



Teacher reading aloud to classes of


Round robin reading

Time for students to read independently

Limiting time for independent

reading during class

Students choosing their own reading


Teacher choosing all reading


Teachers exposing students to many

genres (such as novel, short story,
poetry) including magazines and

Teacher relying only on textbook


Focusing on comprehension

Focusing on instructional reading

subskills such as phonics, word
analysis, and syllabication

Teaching reading as a process and

modeling thought processes using:

The activation of prior

Making predications
Guided reading

After reading applications

Teaching reading as a one step


Reading as a collaborative process

Reading as a solitary "seatwork"


Grouping by interests or book choices

(literature circles)

Grouping by reading level

Teaching of reading skills in context mini lessons as needed

Teaching isolated skills such as

phonics drills

Writing and reading as natural partners Few chances to write

writing before, during, and after reading
Use of reading in the content areas

Reading during reading/language

(historical novels in social studies)

arts class only

Evaluation that assesses holistic, high

level thinking skills

Evaluation based primarily on lowlevel subskills

Measuring success of total programs by

Measuring success by test scores
student reading habits, attitudes, and

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Hints for Students When They Get Stuck

Stop! Think!!
o What is the sentence talking about?
o What information is it giving me?
Back up and reread
o Say the first part of the word.
o Try - What would make sense?
Read on to the end of the paragraph.
o Try - What would make sense?
Reread and read on
o Find a part in the word you know
o Chunk it into familiar parts (syllables, prefixes, root
Connect (word families or analogies)
o What is the paragraph talking about?
o What information is it giving me?

Reading Comprehension Activities

Learning to read begins at an early age and reading comprehension activities that you can
do at home with your child are so important for improving their reading skills.
Developing a child's reading strategies and comprehension begins a long time before a
child starts school or kindergarten. Children learn so much about books and the world
during the early years of childhood. Children learn to read by being read to.
Some parents find everything's an argument with reading. Reading is an enjoyable
experience and children should feel it is always that way. Children love bedtime stories,
that special quiet time with mom or dad. Once your child has started school they often
bring home books to read.
Do you want a reading strategy that works? Effective reading strategies will assist your
child when reading and improve their reading comprehension.
Here is some simple reading comprehension activities to help you read any book with
your child.

1. Start with a book talk. Look at the front cover. What is the title? Look at the picture
on the cover. Who wrote the book? Discuss the picture; is it an illustration or a photo?
This is a pre reading strategy.


2. Be interested in what the book is about. Talk about the story before, during and after
reading. Try to relate it to something in the child's life.


3. Listen patiently. Even if the child can read the book, there may be challenging parts
for them. Give the child plenty of time to have a go at any difficult words, before you
jump in and correct or tell them the word.


4. Let your child know you are pleased with their reading. Give them plenty of
encouragement and praise for solving difficult words, self correcting, fluent reading or
just trying their best,


5. Do not to teach your child to 'sound out' every difficult word. Some words you just
can't sound out. There are many more effective strategies in learning the alphabet, to
help a child when they come across a word they don't know. See below for more


6. If the child is struggling, share the reading with your child by reading alternate
pages. If the book becomes too difficult, read it to your child and talk about the story. Do
the Five Finger Test. If your child make 5 mistakes on the first page of the book then it is
too difficult for them.


7. Keep a reading log of your child's books. They love to see how many books have
been read. Give a reward for reading a certain number of books.


8. It is very important to read to and with your child even as they get older.

Reading Strategy - What's this word?

Strategies to help when your child gets stuck on a word.
When your child is stuck on an unfamiliar word here are some strategies to teach them to
1. Look at the picture for clues.
2. Get your mouth ready to say the word.
3. Does it make sense? Does the sentence make sense?
4. Does it look right? Does the size of the word match?
5. Re read the sentence.
6. Does it sound right? Do the letters in the word match what you have said? Is the initial
sound the same?
7. Chunks, letter patterns look for small words inside bigger words.
8. Still stuck them ask someone and keep reading
Did you know that phonics, the sounds letter make individually and together, make up
62% of how we read. The other two strategies we use are the shape of the word and the
meaning or context in which the word is used. There 3 strategies are the most important
when teaching a child to read. Hope you have found this helpful.
Don't forget to read to your child every day!

Preschool lessons and ideas

You are your child's first teacher and in the early years before they go
to school, you have a great opportunity to develop so much of their early learning.
You can teach and provides your preschool child with quality, essential educational early
learning skills, preschool learning activities, preschool games & more.
I have found a complete educational curriculum that covers a huge assortment of learning
areas & essentials for teaching your preschool kids including:
* complete alphabet (+ letter recognition)
* reading & word recognition
* spelling & pronunciation of common words
* learning numbers
* counting
* simple math
* shapes and how to draw them
* colors
* expanding vocabulary skills
* developing co-ordination, cognitive skills

* creativity
Have a look at the Preschool Learning Pack
Simple Strategies for Creating Strong Readers -- Helping Your
Child Become a Reader
Without doubt, reading with children spells success for early literacy. Putting a few
simple strategies into action will make a significant difference in helping children
develop into good readers and writers.
Through reading aloud, providing print materials, and
promoting positive attitudes about reading and writing,
you can have a powerful impact on your child's literacy
and learning.

Reading well is at the

heart of all learning.
Children who can't read
well, can't learn. Help
make a difference for your

Invite your child to read with you every day.

When reading a book where the print is large,
point word by word as you read. This will help
your child learn that reading goes from left to
right and understand that the word said is the
word seen.
Read your child's favorite book over and over.
Read many stories with rhyming words and repeated lines. Invite your child to
join in on these parts. Point, word by word, as your child reads along with
Discuss new words. For example, "This big house is called a palace. Who do
you think lives in a palace?"
Stop and ask about the pictures and about what is happening in the story.
Read from a variety of children's books, including fairy tales, song books,
poems, and information books.
From Reading Tips for Parents, U.S. Department of Education. Available online
at or call

Anticipation Guides
An anticipation guide consists of a list of statements that are related to the topic of the
text your students will be reading. Before reading the text, students indicate for each
statement whether they agree or disagree with it. Anticipation guides elicit students' prior
knowledge of the topic of the text and set a purpose for reading.

Concept Cards
Concept cards help students learn vocabulary words. They are similar to flash cards, but
result in students learning more than just definitions. Concept cards help students learn
both general and technical vocabular that they encournter in their readings and encourage
students to interact with new words.

Directed Reading Activity

Directed Reading Activity, or DRA, provides students with instructional support before,
during, and after reading. This strategy serves a number of purposes: teaches word
identification skills, elicits students' prior knowledge, teaches specific reading skills, sets
a purpose for reading, and encourages students to monitor their comprehension while
they are reading.

Graphic Organizer for Pre-Reading

Graphic organizers illustrate the relationships among key concepts and terms in a text or
unit of study. They preteach the main concepts and terms in a text, providing students
with a mental framework on which to build new knowledge.

Jigsaw Sentences
Jigsaw sentences is a strategy that encourages students to form complete sentences by
piecing together segments of sentences that are written on pieces of paper. It helps
students learn to use semantic and syntactic clues to make sense of words and sentences.

Know, Want to Know, Learned

Know, Want to Know, Learned, or K-W-L, is an instructional reading strategy that is used
to guide students through a text. The K-W-L strategy elicits students' prior knowledge,
sets a purpsoe for reading, and helps students to monitor their comprehension.

Sound Burglar
The Sound Burglar is a strategy that helps young readers develop phonemic awareness.
Phonemic awareness is a basic building block for phonics, which is the relationship
between sounds and letters.

Story Road Map

Story Road Maps encourage young readers to identify main events in a story, recognize
sequence, and visualize ideas and events in a story.

Using Text Structure

A mistaken assumption made by many teachers is that the proficient reader of literature
will, in turn, be a proficient reader of expository text. The trouble that many good readers
of literature tend to have with expository texts has to do, in part, with text
structure. Teaching students to recognize common text structures found in expository
texts can help students monitor their comprehension.

The Word-a-Likes strategy helps young readers develop phonemic awareness.

Word Webs
Word webs (also known as semantic mapping) illustrate how key words or concepts are
related to one another through graphic representations. They teach students to see how
new concepts can be defined and related to other concepts.

Reading: Understanding the Printed Page

an excerpt from What Every Parent Needs to Know About 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grades

To read is to get meaning from print. Children learn to read in different ways. For
example, some children look at a word, immediately recognize it, and say it out loud.
Others sound out the letters in words; still others may guess a word based on a picture
clue. You can easily understand why children need to learn several ways to decode words
and to make sense of their meaning. Some important reading strategies include:

looking for pictures that help explain the story;

recognizing words that children have seen elsewhere;
thinking about what word makes sense (or sounds correct) in the sentence;
sounding out individual letters or groups of letters in a word.

No one needs to tell you how important it is that your child have many opportunities to
read--every day, at home and at school. When you visit your child's classroom, look for a
balanced approach to teaching reading--one that involves children in exciting reading
experiences and in learning and practicing reading skills as well.
Reading is a process
Clues to look for in your child's classroom

Phonics versus whole language

Questions to ask your child's teacher
Reading is a Process
Children begin "reading" long before they enter elementary school. As infants and
toddlers, they enjoy looking through books with adults. Eventually they learn to connect
pictures in a book with the words on the page. You may remember how your child asked
you to read the same books over and over again. Children enjoy repetition--they love to
anticipate what happens next and delight in knowing the answer. Once they have
discovered that the words on the page say the same thing every time, children will correct
an adult who omits or substitutes a word in a familiar book. They will pretend to read a
well-loved book on their own. They may retell the story, pause as they turn the pages, and
even change their tone of voice for different characters. These actions are key reading
behaviors. When children view themselves as readers, they are motivated to develop the
skills they need. Reading experiences in school should use this natural enthusiasm to
propel children to become lifelong readers.
However, a note of caution: children learn to read at different rates. This is completely
normal and natural. Some children learn to read in preschool and kindergarten. Others
may not read fluently until well into second or third grade. When children learn to read is
not as important in the long term as how they feel about reading. Enjoyment of and
interest in reading inspire children to learn the skills needed to be good readers.
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Clues to look for in your child's classroom
Children's reading experiences in school should build on what they already know and add
on new skills and strategies from there. When you visit your child's classroom, you can
look for clues to help you understand how this is accomplished. Here are some activities
you should see.

Reading books aloud. Enough said. Your child should be read to in school
every day.
Reading big books together. Big books have enlarged print so that a group
of children can see the writing and illustrations and thus "read" the book at
the same time. Big books are effective for teaching specific skills and pointing
out patterns, rhymes, or the repetition of sounds.
Reading in small groups or book clubs. When children meet in a small
group with the teacher several times a week, they can receive specific
instruction based on their individual needs. In small groups, children also can
share ideas about a book that everyone has read. However, groups should be
fluid and change, based on the teacher's assessment of what individual
children are ready to learn.

Reading independently. During independent ("free") reading times,

children choose whatever they wish to read--magazines, joke books,
adventure tales, sports stories, and so forth--and just relax with the book of
their choice. It's a time to reinforce the idea that reading can be fun.
Reading all around the room. Look for posters and pictures with captions,
cartoons, calendars with special events noted, signs, directions, labels on
boxes of materials and supplies, schedules, and other evidence of print
throughout the classroom.
Reading in the content areas. Learning to read is a means, not an end.
Because reading to learn is equally important, instruction should take place
throughout the day--not just during specific reading periods.

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The Great "Phonics Versus Whole Language" Debate
You've probably heard or read about the debate over the benefits of phonics versus whole
language as the method for learning to read. This debate has even entered the political
arena at local, state, and national levels. Unfortunately, as so often happens, discussion on
this subject has become oversimplified, polarizing those involved into an "I'm right,
you're wrong" position.
As in any debate, it's important to understand the terms. Phonics is one of the strategies
readers use to figure out unfamiliar words. It involves thinking about the sounds attached
to individual letters or groups of letters and using that information to "read" the word.
When parents and teachers encourage children to "sound out" a word, they are asking
them to use phonics. To use phonics as a reading strategy, children must know about the
sounds letters make. For this reason, the direct teaching of phonics skills should be part
of a program of reading instruction; that is, children should learn phonics as part of many
different reading and writing activities based on their individual needs.
Whole language, on the other hand, refers to a set of beliefs about how children acquire
language skills. Drawing on a knowledge of child development, advocates of a whole
language approach believe that children learn to listen, speak, read, and write by
extensive practical use and by trial and error. Embedded in this approach is the belief that
a child's internal motivation plays a major role in the successful acquisition of skills. As a
result, in "whole language classrooms," there is considerable emphasis on practical use of
language skills in all subjects, on direct instruction of these skills throughout the day, and
on building children's motivation and enthusiasm.
A Balanced Approach
Don't be misled by the "whole language" label or the "phonics" label. As a parent, you
want to be sure that there is a balance in your child's classroom. If all you see and hear
about is skills instruction--worksheets on letter sounds, letter of the week, short vowellong vowel exercises, and the like--you should indeed be concerned. Such evidence may

mean that little time is devoted to reading books, applying language skills, and promoting
a love for good literature.
On the other hand, if your child is reading and writing throughout the day but you don't
see any improvement in the use of reading/writing strategies, you should also be
concerned. Most children do not learn skills magically; they need to be taught these
skills--including, but not limited to, phonics--directly.
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Questions to Ask Your Child's Teacher

Could you show me a book my child reads easily?

What type of book is my child working on now?
What kinds of activities related to reading does my child like to do--drawing,
writing, acting...?
What are your goals for my child in reading? How will you help him achieve
these goals? What can I do to help?
Which reading strategies does my child use most confidently?
Does my child choose to read during free time?
Does my child participate in discussions about what she reads in school?
What have been her favorite read-aloud books?
Are there popular poems or songs that my child likes?

Teaching reading strategies

Readers need to know how to read, that is, to use reading strategies.
Reading strategies are actions that connect or link ideas in two ways :

they link ideas in the text at any time with ideas that they have
read earlier in the text.
they link ideas in the text with ideas they have already learnt
and stored in their existing knowledge.

It is useful to identify two types of strategies students need to learn to

use when reading : how to comprehend the text they read and how to
manage their reading activity:

comprehending strategies; these are the actions readers use to

manipulate and link ideas at each level, e.g., visualising,
inferring, summarise. These are part of a reader's literacy

knowledge, their knowledge of how to make sense of written

the actions readers use to manage and direct the use of the
comprehending strategies, for example, decide when and why to
use each action, evaluate how well it works in terms of a goal
and frame up goals for reading. These are the actions readers
use to manage and direct their activity while reading.

Readers learn these actions initially in interactive reading activities.

They can practise using them in a supported way in the paired and
shared reading contexts and ultimately use them independently in solo
reading aloud contexts.

Effective Reading Strategies

Because a large portion of time at university is spent working with written sources of information,
and because there is a great deal of material to be covered in a short amount of time, it is essential
that your reading is both purposeful and efficient. To ensure that this is the case, you will need to
develop effective reading strategies. Knowing how to read effectively involves understanding the
structure of texts, how to read for different purposes, and how to reflect on your reading.
The structure of texts

When we read, we are looking at the communication of some kind of meaning in a structure. Since
writers choose to organise material in a particular way, we need to be able to see this structure in
the text. In texts:

ideas are built up from sentence to paragraph to whole text;

ideas and concepts tend to be developed from parts or segments to a whole;

argument can be developed by way of amplification (ie. when a proposition is stated in some kind

of preliminary form, and then expanded upon);

argument can be developed by analogy (ie. when ideas are developed by comparison with a
similar situation), or the writer may use illustration
(ie. exposition by way of examples);

argument is usually either inductive or deductive. An inductive argument is one that begins with
specific facts, and uses these to establish a conclusion, while a deductive argument is one in which
the writer puts forward a general proposition, and then proceeds to justify it. Clues indicating the
type of argument that is being presented are usually to be found in the opening sentences or

Understanding the structure of a text will help you to know how to read it. The two main aspects of
structure to look for are:

the development of ideas in sentences and paragraphs;

the development of the argument.

Ways of reading texts

Skim reading

This is the strategy we employ when we want to obtain a quick overview of a text. We may:

be looking for something quite specific;

be wanting to get a general idea before putting effort into close reading;
have already read the text thoroughly, and be wanting to recall the main points.

If you have any of the above reasons for reading a text, you will find it helpful to employ the
following skim reading strategies:

Read the opening paragraph and the conclusion carefully.

Read the first and last sentence of each remaining paragraph to gain some idea of the main

Look for words and phrases that act as sign posts to the main ideas or messages in the text, or
that are clues to anything specific you might be looking for.

Use a marker pen to mark out any items that you want to re-read, or refer to later.

Specific reading

This strategy is usually employed in conjunction with skim reading. It is especially useful if you are
looking for specific information which may be contained in a variety of books, journals or articles.
The process is one of search and discovery. It requires you to skim read, locate, mark and then
return to close reading. When doing this across a number of texts, you will need to reference the
materials as you proceed.

In-depth reading

This is the most essential of all reading skills. It involves reading a text thoroughly in order to
comprehend the ideas and arguments it contains. In-depth reading is consequently much slower
than skim reading, and you may find that you need to read certain sections of a difficult text more
than once. When reading in-depth it is useful to:

read the opening paragraphs and conclusion first. This will help you to digest the intention and
conclusion of the writer prior to a closer reading of the text.
go back to the beginning, and read through the whole text, marking out and noting:
- key words and phrases;

- ideas, facts, and data you think are important;

- the structure of the argument.
make sure you understand the writers main ideas and arguments, and the overall message of the

Critical reading

Critical reading is a further dimension of in-depth reading. Reading a text critically means that you
do not accept what you are reading at face value. This does not necessarily mean that you should
find fault with a text, but rather that you should question and judge the merit and worth of the
information it contains. A number of inter-related processes are involved in critical reading. They
are: interpretation, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Whether you use all, or only some of these
processes, will depend on both the particular reading situation, and your purpose for reading.


When we read critically for interpretation, we read to discover meaning in a text, that is, to
determine what conclusions can be drawn about the various messages the text contains.
Sometimes, there is more than one possible interpretation, and in such cases it is possible that our
reading may be directed at the best, or most likely meaning. Interpreting a text will also frequently
involve the processes of analysis and synthesis.


This is the process by which we examine the way the ideas and messages in a text fit together to
create the overall meaning. When analysing a text we focus on:

identifying assumptions (ie. the hidden values that underlie what a writer is saying e.g. that
everyone who cleans their teeth uses toothpaste, or that everyone is interested in Rugby);

the structure of the argument (ie. the development and sequence of ideas, the relationship
between ideas, whether the argument is inductive or deductive);

the relationship between evidence/data and argument (ie. whether the evidence supports and
illustrates the argument, and whether it supports any conclusions that are drawn).


Synthesis usually occurs in conjunction with analysis, and involves the drawing together of the
results of the analysis into a conclusion on which to base an interpretation or evaluation.


This is a process by which we establish the worth or merit of a text. Evaluation is a higher order
process that involves all of the other processes described so far, ie. interpretation, analysis, and
synthesis. When evaluating a text we attempt to look at the ideas and messages in a broader
context. We might say - this is a good argument, but is it worth anything, does it have any merit?
We would then use our knowledge of the subject or field, or of competing arguments, to establish
the merit or worth of the argument.

How do we arrive at an estimate of merit or worth?

First - We use interpretation to discover the meaning of the text.

Second - We use analysis to determine whether the writer has a consistent argument, and
whether or not it is logical (ie. whether it follows from the evidence presented, or supports the
proposition or thesis that has been put forward).
Third - we can put a value on that case or argument.

To put a value on a case or argument we draw on:

our own knowledge and expertise;

other knowledge and expertise (eg. scholarly literature).

Example of evaluation:

An article has been written by a sports coaching expert which states that not eating or drinking
during the four hours prior to a performance, substantially improves performance. You are asked as
a professional in this area, to evaluate the article.

Suggested Method:

A. Read the article carefully to make sure that you understand what is being said, and to identify
any assumptions or implications.

B. Analyse the article to see whether the writer has established a case. In particular, look closely at

the introduction/body/conclusion;
the use of evidence/data;
the logical consistency of the argument (What is the starting point? Does the conclusion follow
from what precedes it?);
whether the conclusion is justified on the basis of the evidence provided (or does it go beyond the
whether there are any unjustified claims.

C. Evaluate the writers claims using your own knowledge and expertise as well as that of others.

Does your own knowledge and research tell you that the writers claim is not justified, or could be
Do you have evidence from other sources (articles/professional references/research) that
contradicts, qualifies, or agrees with the writer?

Your evaluation, on the basis of A, B, and C, will put a value on the article. This might be:

the writers conclusion was not justified by the evidence provided, or

other evidence exists that shows that the ingestion of some food and water prior to performance
is beneficial.

Texts and situations

Every text can and should be read in some kind of situation. It is the situation that will guide your
approach to the text, and that will make explicit demands on the way you read.

The following table lists some of the situations and reading task demands that might apply to the
nursing profession. Some of these situations, however, will also be applicable to other professions.
Note that synthesis has not been treated as a separate category in the table.

Situation Text Task/demands

Laboratory Report Comprehension/Interpretation
Hospital Occupational Health & Safety Documents/Management directive
Community Centre Policy Statement Interpretation/analysis/evaluation
Government Ethics Policy Interpretation/analysis/evaluation
University Scientific article Interpretation/analysis/evaluation

Remember, the situation or context tells us what kind of text we are dealing with, and is the first
sign post as to what we should look for in a text, and/or what we are required to do with it.

Improving your reading strategies

If you are faced with a difficult and complex text, or if you do not read effectively under normal
circumstances, you can improve the way you read by being more purposeful in your approach to


Think of reading as a three-stage process that consists of:

1) planning for reading

2) reading
3) reflection on reading

1. Planning for reading

Planning for reading will help you to give your reading a focus. It need only take a few moments,
and can be done by asking a few simple questions:

What do I want to get out of reading this text?

What ideas if any do I need to take into the reading?
Why has this particular text been selected (by yourself, or others)?
Can I subdivide the text into sections to read?
What has skim reading told me about the text?

2. Reading

Once you have developed a focus for reading, how you actually read a particular text will depend on
the nature of the text. There is no one single approach, but there are some useful guiding
principles. Where possible:

identify the starting point of the writers argument - usually this will be found in the first or second
see if you can detect any assumptions the writer has made, or the start of a particular method of
argument (ie. an inductive or deductive argument);
identify important, or central, ideas (or any stated principles) in paragraphs as you read them (If

there is more than one, try to work out which is the most important or central);
determine whether the ideas are connected or developed;
examine the consistency of the argument;
evaluate the evidence that has been presented in support of ideas or principles, and decide
whether the evidence is relevant, persuasive, and convincing;
assess whether the conclusions are justified on the basis of the evidence that has been presented.

After you have read carefully through the text in full, as suggested above, make some brief notes

your understanding of the text;

your preliminary response to the ideas and arguments that have been presented.

3. Reflection

Think about what you have read for a few minutes, then consider the following:

Do you have any unanswered questions about the meaning of the text? If so, go back and skim
read and/or read specific sections again.
Are there any assumptions you have failed to recognise?
Are you sure you understand how each section of the text is related?
Are you able to make connections between the text and other material you have read?
Do you consider your conclusions to be sound and unbiased? Are they limited or unlimited?

If you have been asked to answer specific questions on the text

Do you feel you understand what responses the questions on the text require? If not, re-read the
questions. If you are confident you understand the text, see whether the questions need to be
Do you need to cross-reference your responses to the questions? If so, make some notes on other

material you wish to use.

Finally, use your notes and reflection to respond to any questions you have been asked.

Case analysis


Case studies are used to test the ability to interpret real or factual situations. The particular
situation will determine what kind of analysis should be done. The most common requirements in a
case analysis are:

problem identification and problem solving;

comprehension of complex situations;
identification of central issues;
deduction or inference.

You must decide what your approach to a particular case will be, and what skills you will need to
use. To do that effectively, you must first read to assess the case.

Case assessment

There are probably questions attached to the case - read these carefully first. What are the
questions asking you to do - understand, problem solve, identify, draw conclusions, make
inferences? Make a brief note of what you think you are being asked to do.

Read the case

Your first reading of the case should be as follows:

Identify the main features of the case.

- What knowledge/skill is involved?
- What professional practices?
- Are there people issues?
- Is there an obvious connection to a body of theory?

Locate the case as precisely as you can in a situation e.g. This case is about a particular surgical
procedure or This case is concerned with driver responsibilities in a car accident.

Read the case a second time for analysis. You are now reading and marking carefully. Your
response to the case at this stage should be directed at answering the questions. In this second
reading, you will, in general:

- try to break the case down into its main segments or elements;
- look for indicators in the text as to precisely what theory/ knowledge areas will help you with the

Case analysis map

Read the Questions:

Note any clues or indicators as to what to look for.
Read the Case: - First Reading
Identify main features.
Describe the precise situation.
Read the Case: - Second Reading
Mark for indications of significant events, knowledge, people issues.
If required, break the case down into segments or components.
Go back to Questions:
Select data/information from case for question.
Draft responses, making any appropriate deductions/inferences.

Integrate knowledge/theory in a final response to questions.

Example of Case Analysis

The following example illustrates the process of case analysis.


As a consultant you are asked to identify the problems causing low motivation. Suggest solutions to
senior management.

Employee Motivation

Fremont Corporation Marketing Department is in trouble. Productivity has dropped within the
Department and employees there appear to have low motivation. The problem started when Sharon
sent some suggestions to improve efficiency to the General Manager. Her section head, Mike,
rebuked her for not going through the proper channels. Since then, he has required all
communications to be directed in writing to him, but does not reply to any that have been sent. On
the other hand, he issues instructions through the e-mail system only. Staff have had applications
for transfer refused, and Mike has rigorously applied the rules on lunch times, morning teas and
time off. Mike runs a tight ship, but productivity is falling, and his latest edict is that unless it rises,
jobs will go. Experienced staff say they are looking around for other jobs. Mike is well regarded by
his seniors, but there have been concerns about productivity.

Refer to the Case Analysis Map. In addition,

identify the main problem, and note any smaller problems that have a relationship with the main

see whether the main problem needs to be broken down further;

assess the problem through known theories/practice;

generate solutions, justifying choices against alternatives.


The above case is about a communications problem, but the subsidiary related problem is control.
The communication problem specifically relates to two-way written communication. The control
problem relates to a management practice.

In your answer you would need to examine each of the problems you have identified and use
relevant communication and management theory to guide and justify a solution. If there are
alternative solutions, you should explain the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Additional Information

If you would like some additional information about how to read texts, and also some exercises to
help you to practise your reading skills, try some of the websites listed below.

The Reading Comprehension page (Muskingum College) Go to Specific Reading Comprehension


How to get the most out of reading non-fiction (University of Michigan).

Reading Exercises (University of Victoria).

Reading Exercises (Gallaudet University).

How to read University of Illinois at Chicago.

Reading Methods (Sweet Briar College).

Effective Reading Strategies

Amy Addison, UR Writing Center Tutor, WC '93
Reading and writing are very closely related. If you don't understand the material which
you are writing about, chances are you won't write about it very well. The following are a
few tips on how to get the most out of your reading:
Don't wait until the last minute; give yourself plenty of time to read your material!
Establish an atmosphere conducive to maximum concentration. This will vary
depending on personal preferences.
Look over materials before delving into them, noting headings, bold-faced words,
charts, and summaries. Skim introductions and conclusions. By previewing
materials, you can develop a sense of the overall point(s) it is presenting. This will
help put the details into a larger context in which they will make sense.
Use the questions at the beginnings or ends of chapters as study guides to help
focus your reading.
Read everything, including those introductions and conclusions you skimmed.
Look up words you don't know.
Try one or more of the following methods of note taking (using a combination of
approaches will help you begin reviewing):
o Glossing: after reading a passage or section, summarize the main ideas in
your own words. This can be done in a notebook, or in the margins of your
book (if you own it).
o Outlining: using the author's order or your own, write down the key ideas.
Use phrases and abbreviations to keep it short. Use whatever system of
numbering or lettering you prefer.
o Synthesizing chart: chart key information when you are trying to pull
together information from more than one source. OR, read from a few
sources and formulate questions from the main ideas which can be applied
to the remaining information.
Instead of highlighting or underlining in your text, take notes in the margins or in
a separate notebook. This will give you the important information at a glance. (If
you take notes in a separate notebook, remember to write the page number on

which the information may be found again for later reference.) Improving your
reading skills may very well have a positive effect on your writing.

Six Essential Reading Strategies

Researchers have identified six essential reading strategies for developing
comprehension abilities. Each strategy and teaching/learning activities which help
students learn the strategy will be described. The six strategies are:

Making Connections
Determining Importance


Each of these strategies is integral to comprehension, and together they

represent the active mindset children must assume in order to become effective
learners as well as readers. The lesson steps for teaching each strategy involve
explicit instruction.

Reading Comprehension Strategy 1: Making Connections

"What do you already know about it?" is the most basic initial issue regarding
reading comprehension. Although it is a natural process to draw upon your prior
knowledge and background experiences as you read, proficient readers are highly
conscious of making these connections. They know that they will better
understand if they attempt to relate what is new in a text to what they already
know or have experienced. 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.
For more information see

Problems and Solutions for Poor Comprehension.

This strategy emphasizes three kinds of connections that proficient readers make
as they read (Harvey and Goudvis, 2000). They are



The easiest connection to teach to children is the text-to-self. These are

highly personal connections that a reader makes between a piece of

reading material and the reader's experiences. When a reader says, "This
story reminds me of a vacation we took to my grandfather's farm," the
reader is expressing a text-to-self connection.

The second kind of connection is text-to-text. Sometimes when we read,

we are reminded of other things that we have read, other books by the
same author, stories within a similar genre, poems that follow a similar
theme, or writing that has a comparable style. This type of connection
draws upon a reader's specific experiences with and knowledge of the
world of print. Proficient readers gain insight during reading by thinking
about how what they are reading connects to other familiar writing. When
a reader says, "This character has the same problem that I read about in
a story last year," the reader is expressing a text-to-text connection.

The third kind of connection is text-to-world. We all have ideas about how
the world works that go far beyond our own personal experiences. We
learn about things through television or movies. We encounter information
about the world through magazines and newspapers. We hear others
relate their personal experiences in the world, and we form ideas from our
interactions with them. Text-to-world connections are these larger
connections that a reader brings to a reading situation. Often it is these
text-to-world connections that teachers are trying to enhance when they
teach lessons in science, social studies, and literature. When a reader
says, "I saw a program on television that talked about things described in
this article," the reader is expressing a text-to-world connection.

Activities which teach the strategy of making connections engage students in

thinking about whether any of their experiences and knowledge --self, text, or
world-- can be applied to what they are reading to help them better comprehend.
A key phrase that prompts this strategy is "This reminds me of . . ."
The following teaching/learning activities can help children learn the reading
strategy of making connections:

KWL: Know, Want Learns

LINK: List, Inquire, Note, Know
Misconception Rejections
Double Entry Diaries: Double, Double Your Learning

Text Connections: Yeah That Reminds Me of

Six Effective Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension Strategy 2: 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 strategy of questioning involves an almost constant generation of questions

that a reader raises internally while engaged in understanding a text. Some
questions target important information; these questions help a reader to identify
significant details, to follow the elements of a plot in a story, to get the facts.
Other questions help a reader take stock of the reading process; they

Did this passage make sense to me?

What should I be on the lookout for in this next passage?


And some questions are directed toward the writer of a text. What does this
author seem to think is most important? Why is the author telling me this now?
These questions create almost an inner dialogue between the reader and the
writer of a text.
Harvey and Goudvis (2000) argue that it is useful during instruction to help
children learn to categorize questions. Some common questions asked by readers

Questions that have answers provided in the text.

Questions that force a reader to make connections with background
knowledge and experiences (See Strategy 1: Making Connections
strategy- text-to-world section).
Questions that force a reader to "read between the lines" and use clues
provided by the author to infer an answer.
Questions that can be answered after discussion with others.
Questions that go "beyond the page" and require further investigation and
research to answer.
Questions that signal confusion or cue the reader to seek clarification.
Questions that are open-ended and do not have set answers.

Questions which cause us to wonder and to speculate.

The questioning strategy involves children becoming self-questioners, as opposed

to others providing comprehension questions for them to answer. Self-questioning
is an attribute of independent learners, in contrast to children who read only to
answer questions from a worksheet or listed by a textbook author. As a result,
some children may become overly dependent on the teacher or a worksheet
exercise for relevant questions that can be asked about a specific text. The
questioning reading strategy emphasizes that children need to be taught how to
pose good questions themselves rather than how to find answers to questions
posed by others.
The following teaching/learning activities can help children learn the reading
strategy of questioning:
KWL: Know, Want Learns
SMART: A Self-Monitoring Approach to Reading and Thinking
Question/Answer Relationships
Question the Author
I Charts

Math Keys
Question Dissection
Essential Questions
Reciprocal Teaching

ACT Sweep 3: Deeper Meaning

Six Effective Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension Strategy 3: Visualizing

The strategy of visualizing refers to the mind's capacity to imagine what is being
suggested by the words on a page. As proficient readers follow along in a story,
they can just "see" what is happening, almost as if they were running a video in
their mind's-eye. A common phenomenon is the complaint that readers raise
when a favorite book is made into a movie. "That's not how I visualized the
characters, or story," they insist, and usually they prefer the creation of their own
imaginations over that offered by a moviemaker.
Visualizing is actually a form of inference; we infer a visual representation in our
mind based on what the author provides in the text. By using our prior knowledge
and background experiences, we connect the author's message with a personal
creation of our imagination. Children learning to read, or struggling readers, may
not always apply the strategy of visualizing as they read. Instead, they may only
"see" the words on the page; thus a whole critical layer of meaning is lost as they
merely grapple with words.
For more information see

Problem and Solutions for Poor Comprehension.

Textbook publishers recognize that helping children develop mental imagery is an

important part of understanding. They provide a vast array of rich illustrations
and photographs to accompany the words of an author. But proficient readers can
also elicit mental imagery from pages of text that contain only words and no
Teacher modeling of visualizing centers on identifying with students language in a
text is especially helpful in suggesting mental images. A phrase such as "his ears
were overblessed with size" or "I was almost blinded by the glare that glinted off
his shiny bald head" are examples of images which require visual interpretation.
Teaching visualizing involves helping students become sensitive to descriptions.
Vivid use of words readily conjures up mental imagery.
The following teaching/learning activities can help children learn the reading
strategy of visualizing:

Guided Imagery

You Ought to Be in Pictures

Visual Literacy

Users can go to an internet search engine and enter "images" as a keyword to

locate examples of images which can be used to teach visualizing.

Six Effective Comprehension Strategies

Comprehension Reading Strategy 4: 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. If you asked the students how they figured this
out, they will tell you that they didn't need to be directly told. Instead they
"read" the situation, put together the information available to them, and made an
assumption. Like all of us, children are able to make inferences.
But making inferences from written texts can be frustrating to students. Many of
them are adept at answering literal level questions which ask them to locate key
details and important information. Inferring involves a much more complicated
task. To make an inference, a reader must combine a number of pieces of
information from a text. They must "read between the lines" and think about
what may be only suggested or hinted at in a selection. Sometimes the most
important "take" from a piece of text is on an inferential level.
When readers infer, they are able to reach a deeper meaning and appreciation of
writing. As they read, they began to accumulate clues that are examined and
evaluated in terms of their background knowledge, which allows them to draw
conclusions about a writer's message. When we talk about a writer's intentions or
the theme of the novel, we are employing the strategy of inferring.
Another type of inference is prediction. Proficient readers are constantly bouncing
ahead in their minds as to what may happen next. They make predictions about
meaning, about outcomes, about actions of characters, about events of a plot,
about resolution of problems or confusions. Then they read on, to confirm or
revise their predictions. In addition, they use other text features, such as
headings or illustrations, to predict meaning.
Many of the questions that students generate themselves will call for inferences.
When a child asks about a character-"Why did he do that?"-the child is raising a
question that may call for an inference. And frequently, questions that require
inferences may be open-ended. Two people might legitimately disagree about
which inference is best supported by a passage. Hence, inferential thinking could
lead to much discussion and perhaps unresolved issues.
The following teaching/learning activities can help children learn the reading

strategy of inferring:

Tour Guide
Questioning the Author
Question/Answer Relationships
Story Impressions
Author Voice
Reciprocal Teaching


Six Effective Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension Strategy 5: Determining Importance

College students frequently are required to purchase the books they will be
reading for their classes, and as a result, they are able to employ one of the most
useful comprehension strategies for determining importance: they mark their
texts. However, even college students struggle with this vital reading strategy;
many of them wield their marking highlighters haphazardly. They color massive
portions of their texts yellow, and when they are done and it's time to study, they
discover that they have marked too much. They did not do a good job "sifting the
wheat from the chaff."
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. Some of the details are secondary and flesh out
the background of a passage. Other details are vital for truly understanding.
Strategies such as inferring, visualizing, and synthesizing are all predicated on
the assumption that a reader is capable of differentiating between what is
significant and what is secondary in a text.
Determining importance is also necessary for memory. Obviously, we do not
remember everything from a selection. Instead, we fix on major ideas or themes
and the key information related to them. Readers who try to remember
everything in a passage soon overload their short-term memories and are usually
left with a very hazy notion of what they read. They may only recall a mass of
details and miss the whole point of the text.
Determining importance is especially critical when reading nonfictional materials,
materials that emphasize learning information. To become adept at using this
strategy, students need to be taught how to "scout" out a selection to look for
textual clues that signal items and ideas of central importance. Features such as
headings, bold or italic print, objectives statements, summaries, pull-quotes, and
marginal notes can all guide a reader toward transcendent information and ideas.
However, students do not automatically make effective use of these text features.
Sometimes, students may skip right over them as they read along and lost in a

maze of information as they read one fact after another.

Determining importance is also related to the reader's purpose. We can read a
text for a variety of purposes-for entertainment, to look for a specific piece of
information, to enhance our general knowledge of a topic, or to obtain directions.
Children beginning to learn to read, and struggling readers, may wade directly
into a passage without a clear idea of what their purpose for reading should be.
As a result, they are not able to determine what is important and what is not.
The following teaching/learning activities can help children learn the reading
strategy of determining importance:

SMART: A Self-Monitoring Approach to Reading and Thinking

KWL: Know, Want Learns
Story Mapping
Tour Guide
Power Notes
Power Notes
Interactive Reading Guides


Six Effective Comprehension Strategies

Reading Strategy 6: Synthesizing Information

Think for a moment a group of scientists sifting through mounds of data from a
host of experiments. Certainly a great deal of information is available, but what
they really need to decide is "What does all this mean?" Eventually, after
carefully examining and analyzing their data, they will develop an interpretation,
a theory, and a definition of "the big picture" that emerges from all the separate
pieces of information. These scientists, like proficient readers, are able to
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 strategy
allows a reader to step back from a text, and make a generalization, create an
interpretation, draw a conclusion, develop an explanation. It is as if the reader
pauses periodically, reflects, ponders about the meaning of a text, and then
eventually exclaims, "Aha! I get it!"
One key component of synthesizing is summarizing. Children often have a very
difficult time summarizing what they read; often they are able to provide a string

of disconnected pieces of information or segments of a story, but they may miss

major themes or main ideas. A major step to summarizing is asking children to
retell what they have read, in their own words.
The strategy of synthesizing involves combining summarizing with the reader's
perspective. When proficient readers talk about a piece of meaningful text, a
discussion about an article in the newspaper, for example, or a book club chat
about a novel, they don't just repeat what the text said. Instead they offer their
personal "take" on a selection: "That's not the way I read it." "This is what I think
the author was getting at." "I think the character acted this way because . . . ."
Synthesizing can be modeled to children by using an analogy, such as cooking for
instance. Cooks read recipes and assemble ingredients to make something, like a
cake. But the recipes don't always turn out exactly the same, because each
individual person adds a personal touch to the process. Some cooks turn out to
be great chefs because of their ability to bring their own ideas and experiences
into the mix as they work from a recipe. Proficient readers are assembling their
own thinking as they read, taking the elements of a text and combining them
with their prior knowledge and background experiences to create thoughts, ideas,
and understandings. Synthesizing is the process of deriving insight from reading.
Asking children to write about what they have read, to express their thinking in
their own words, is an important step in teaching them to synthesize. Writing
helps children realize what they have learned, and it provides them with a visual
record of their thinking. Writing also allows students the opportunity to continue
to refine their thinking as they revisit their thoughts on paper and revise what
they have written to clarify and expand their understandings.
The following instructional activities can help children learn the reading strategy
of synthesizing:

Magnet Summaries
Mind Maps
Three-Minute Pause
Paired Reviews
Writing Templates
Memory Bubbles
Two-Column Notetaking
Reciprocal Teaching
Getting Down to Essentials

Three Step Reading Strategy for ACT Reading: Developing an ABC Game
Plan article 1, article 2, article 3

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test

FCAT 4th Grade Reading:

A Staff Development Tool

Additional Teaching Strategies

Produced by The Florida Center for Instructional Technology College of
Education, University of South Florida
& The Pinellas County School District
Sponsored by The Florida Department of Education Bureau of Educational
Technology and Student Assessment Services The Honorable Charlie Crist,
Commissioner of Education
December, 2001

Table of Contents
1.1 Semantic Feature
1.2 C(2)QU (See Two Cue
1.3 Probable
1.4 Vocabulary
1.5 Vocabulary
1.6 PReP (Prereading
2 Main idea and Supporting
2.1 12
2.2 Reciprocal
2.3 Reading for
2.4 QAR (Question/Answer
2.5 16
2.6 Selective

2.7 Main Idea

2.8 Semantic
2.9 Summary
3 Author's
3.1 Author's Grab
3.2 Author's
3.3 What's the
3.4 QAR (Question/Answer
4 Chronological 27
4.1 Story
4.2 Plot
4.3 Probable
4.5 Summary

5 Plot & Conflict

5.1 Directed Listening/Thinking Activity (DLTA) and Directed
Reading/Thinking Activity
5.2 Summary 35 Resolution...........................................36
5.3 Two-Column Notes for Plot & Conflict
5.4 Story 37
5.5 Plot
5.6 Story
6 Cause & Effect / Fact &
6.1 Two-Column Notes for Cause &
6.2 Cause and Effect
6.3 Opinion/Proof
6.4 Fact and Opinion in the
7 Compare & 45
7.1 Venn
7.2 Three-Column
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 2 of 2

7.3 Character
7.4 Character Analysis..............................................................................50
7.5 Semantic Feature
8 Organizing
8.1 K - W
8.2 Organizers.........................................................................................54
8.3 Graphic
8.4 Hierarchical
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 3 of 3

1 Vocabulary
Determining the meaning of words through contextual clues, including the use of
prefixes, suffixes, root words, multiple meanings, antonyms, synonyms, and word
Sunshine State Standards
Strand A - Reading
Standard 1 - The student uses the reading process effectively.
Benchmark - LA.A.1.2.3 The student uses simple strategies to
determine meaning and increase vocabulary for reading, including
the use of prefixes, suffixes, root words, multiple meanings,
antonyms, synonyms, and word relationships.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 4 of 4

1.1 Semantic Feature Analysis

This strategy effectively teaches vocabulary by activating prior knowledge and by
classifying the new words by their features using a matrix.
1. The teacher selects a list of words that have similarities, and places them on
the matrix in the left-hand column.
2. The teacher then writes features associated with these words across the top of
the matrix, or asks the students to supply the features associated with these
3. The students are to complete the matrix by placing either a check if the word
has the feature, or a zero if it does not have the feature. Accept all predictions.

4. Once the matrix is complete and the students have discussed the reasons for
their answers, the students should then read the assigned passage.
5. Review matrix for any necessary changes.
Reference Anders, P., & Bos, C. (1986). Semantic feature analysis: An
interactive strategy for vocabulary development and text comprehension. Journal
of Reading, 29(7), 610-616.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 5 of 5

1.2 C(2)QU (See Two Cue You)

This strategy helps students learn vocabulary through contextual clues,
connections to background knowledge and predictions.
1. The teacher previews the text to be read and pulls-out the vocabulary words to
be studied.
2. The teacher writes the vocabulary words on a transparency or chart paper in
the meaningful context from which it was found in the text. (copy the sentence
the word is found in - not just the word)
3. The teacher then shows the sentence with the vocabulary word in it, and asks
for predictions as to what the word means.
4. Present another clue about the vocabulary word by putting the word into
another sentence that has more definitional information in it. Ask for further
predictions as to its meaning.
5. Ask a question that will have the students interpreting the meaning or defining
the word.
6. Ask students to use the word in a meaningful sentence either orally or written.
Reference Blachowics, C. (1993). C2QU: Modeling context clues in the
classroom. The Reading Teacher, 29, 643-649.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 6 of 6

1.3 Probable Passage

This strategy helps students develop an awareness of story structure, improve
comprehension, and increase vocabulary development.
1. The teacher prepares lesson by selecting a story and a list of vocabulary
words that contain important concepts from the story. They should also represent
categories in the story frame matrix.
2. The vocabulary words are introduced to the students. It is important that the
students are able to pronounce the words, and have some understanding of
3. Using the story frame matrix, the students place the vocabulary words where
they feel they most likely belong. The teacher accepts all predictions.
4. The students complete the probable passage, which is a paragraph with story
structure elements (setting, characters, problem, and solution) deleted. Students

use the vocabulary words categorized in step 3 to complete the passage. All
predictions are accepted.
5. The students read the selected story to determine if their predictions for both
the story frame matrix, and probable passage were correct.
Reference Wood, K. D. (1984). Probable passages: A writing strategy. The
Reading Teacher, 37(5), 496-499.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 7 of 7

1.4 Vocabulary Prediction/Confirmation

This strategy will aid students in vocabulary development. It can be used in all
the content areas and promotes self-directed learning.
1. The students are given a worksheet with three headings on it - vocabulary,
prediction, and definition
2. The students copy from the board the vocabulary words under the heading
3. Under the heading of prediction, the students write their predictions of the
vocabulary words' meaning.
4. The students read the text from which the vocabulary words were derived.
5. Using contextual clues, the students write what they think the definitions are
under the heading of definitions. These may be the same as their predictions.
6. The students check their definitions with a dictionary for accuracy, and make
any corrections necessary under the definition heading.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 8 of 8

1.5 Vocabulary Mapping

This strategy will aid students in expanding their vocabulary development using a
simple mapping format.
1. The students place the vocabulary word in the middle of a blank piece of
2. The students label each of the four corners of the paper with the following
headings; definition, synonym, sentence, and picture.
3. The students draw arrows radiating from the vocabulary word to each of the
four headings.
4. The students complete what is being asked for under each of the four
headings in regards to the vocabulary word.
5. The students share and discuss their vocabulary mappings with the class.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 9 of 9

1.6 PReP (Prereading Plan)

This strategy is more structured than simply skimming or previewing a text. In
this strategy, students' prior knowledge is elicited by the teachers questions.
These questions are geared towards helping students form mental associations

about the topic, reflect on these associations, and reformulate their ideas before
they read.
1. Initial associations with the concept. The students make associations
between prior knowledge and the new concept. The teacher prompts this by
asking students to say what comes to their mind when they hear a key term or
concept related to the material to be read. The teacher records these initial
associations on the board.
2. Reflecting on initial associations. As associations are recorded on the
board, the teacher asks the students to elaborate on their responses by asking
questions. At this step emphasize thinking about the associations and explaining
your thinking to others.
3. Reformulation of knowledge. The students are now asked to summarize or
add any new ideas from their discussion. After listening to other students'
associations, students often remember something they may have forgotten they
4. The students read the assigned text and review associations made.
Reference Langer, J. A. (1981). From theory to practice: Pre-reading plan.
Journal of Reading, 24(2), 152, 156.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 10 of 10

2 Main idea and Supporting Details

What is the story about? You can think of the main idea as an umbrella that
covers the other information in the paragraph or passage. The supporting details
are more specific than the main idea. They may be the specific reasons, details,
or examples that illustrate the main idea.
Sunshine State Standards
Strand A - Reading Standard 2 - The student constructs meaning
from a wide range of texts. Benchmark - LA.A.2.2.1 The student
determines the main idea or essential message from text and
identifies supporting information.
Strand E - Literature Standard 2 - The student responds critically
to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Benchmark - LA.E.2.2.4
The student identifies the major theme in a story or nonfiction text.
Benchmark - LA.E.2.2.5 The student forms his or her own ideas
about what has been read in a literary text and uses specific
information from the text to support these ideas.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 11 of 11

2.1 SQ3R
The SQ3R method is a sequence of strategies to be followed when reading
content area or informational texts following five steps.

1. Surveying - The students survey what they are about to read. This should
give the students an idea as to the content and organization of the text.
2. Questioning - The students return to the first section of the text they are to
read and formulate a question. This sets the purpose for reading.
3. Reading - The students are to read the first section in an attempt to answer
their proposed question. If the answer to their question is not answered, they
formulate a new one and answer it.
4. Reciting - The students answer their question in their own words, either orally
or written without looking back at the text for help.
5. Continue steps 1-4 for each section of the text until the assigned reading is
6. Reviewing - The students review the material by again answering the
questions they formulated without the aid of the text.
Reference Robinson, F. (1946). Effective study. New York: Harper and Brothers.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 12 of 12

2.2 Reciprocal Teaching

This strategy is conducted in cooperative groups where students work together
with informational texts in order to learn the material better. There are five
strategies used in this method, with the teacher first modeling its use.
1. Reading - The assigned text is first broken down into short sections for the
students to read. Typically the leader of the group reads the section aloud to the
2. Questioning - The leader and/or other group members now generate
questions derived from the text just read for the other group members to answer.
3. Clarifying Issues - If any misunderstandings develop, the leader and/or other
group members help in clarification.
4. Summarizing - When all questions have been answered and any
misunderstandings have been clarified and discussed, the leader and/or other
group members summarize what they have just read.
5. Predicting - The students now make predictions about what the next section
may contain.
6. Continue using steps 1-5 until assigned text or chapter has been completed.
Reference Palinscar, A., & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of
comprehension - fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition
and Instruction, 1(2), 117-175.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 13 of 13

2.3 Reading for Accuracy

This strategy follows a highly structured procedure. Accuracy and selected
rereading is emphasized with two important questions being continually asked,
(1) "Did you leave out any important information?" and (2) "Did you misrepresent
any facts?" A strong factual base is important for students in order to analyze and
synthesize the information read.
1. Before reading the text, the teacher prepares the students by building
background knowledge, and clarifying key concepts.

2. The teacher sets the purpose for reading, and assigns a passage to be read.
3. After the students have read the passage, the teacher asks what they have
remembered, and records it on the board.
4. The teacher helps students recognize when important information has been
left out, or misrepresented. If necessary, the students reread the selection.
5. The class now organizes the information written on the board according to key
concepts, main ideas, and supporting details.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 14 of 14

2.4 QAR (Question/Answer Relationship)

QAR is a questioning strategy that helps teach students that a relationship exists
between the question given, the text, and the background of the reader. In this
strategy, students are taught to use four question/answer relationships (QAR's) to
find the information they need in order to answer the question.
1. The teacher introduces QAR and explains the four types of question/answer
relationships (QAR's)
2. The teacher models the QAR process by using a short story. First read the
story and questions to the students. Then identify which QAR's are evidenced
through the questions given. Finally, answer questions and discuss.
3. The teacher practices identifying the QAR's with the class.
4. The teacher provides independent practice.
5. The teacher gradually increases the length and complexity of the texts used
with QAR.
6. The students continue to use QAR throughout the year, across the curriculum
in science, social studies, health, etc.
QAR descriptors
Right There - The answer is in the text and is usually easy to find. The
information is found in one place.
Think & Search - The answer is in the selection, but you need to put together
different pieces of information. Information comes from different places in the
Author & You - The answer is not explicitly stated in the story. You need to think
about what you already know, what the author tells you in the text, and how it fits
On My Own - The answer is not text-based. You can even answer the question
without reading the selection. You need to use your own experience and
background knowledge.
Reference Raphael, T. (1982). Question-answering strategies for children. The
Reading Teacher, 36(2), 186-191.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 15 of 15

2.5 ReQuest
This strategy involves the teacher as well as the students in generating and
responding to questions. Initially, students will not be able to generate questions
beyond the literal, "right there" level. It is critical, therefore, for the teacher to
model higher level questions, and use "think alouds" when generating questions
for the students.
1. Both the students and the teacher silently read a segment of a text.
2. The teacher is then questioned by the students about the segment of text
read. The teacher may not refer to the text while answering the questions.
3. The teacher then questions the students about the text using higher level
questions and think alouds.
4. Another segment of the text is assigned and read by both the students and
teacher. Steps 2 and 3 are repeated.
5. Continue with as many segments as necessary.
6. The remainder of the material is read silently with a follow-up discussion
Reference Manzo, A. (1969). ReQuest: A method for improving reading
comprehension through reciprocal questioning. Journal of Reading, 12(3), 123126.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 16 of 16

2.6 Selective Underlining

This strategy helps students learn how to underline key ideas in a text. It also
helps with organization and remembering information.
1. The teacher has the students read a short passage.
2. The teacher projects the passage onto a screen using a transparency and
overhead projector. The students should also have a copy to mark.
3. The teacher explains why readers underline (organizes information and helps
you remember what you have read.)
4. The teacher models how to underline selectively. It is important not to
underline entire sentences, but rather key points of the sentence.
5. The teacher continues to model while increasing the length of text, and
providing independent practice.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 17 of 17

2.7 Main Idea Pyramid

This strategy helps students identify the main idea and supporting details by
using a graphic organizer.
1. The teacher introduces the graphic organizer and its structure.
2. The teacher models how to find the main idea and its supporting details. The
main idea is placed in the top row. The two most important details are placed in
the second row, and the next three details in the bottom row.
3. The teacher assigns a text to be read.
4. The students complete the graphic organizer independently, or with a partner.

5. The students share and discuss their pyramids.

6. The students may add illustrations.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 18 of 18

2.8 Semantic Mapping

This strategy helps students organize information using a graphic organizer.
Semantic mapping enables students to not only visualize relationships, but to
categorize them as well. As a direct teaching strategy that includes brainstorming
and teacher-led discussions, it provides oportunities for schema development
and enhancement, as well as prediction, hypothesizing and verification of content
when used as a prereading activity. It is also referred to as a web or concept
1. The teacher introduces a graphic organizer to the class. It can have several
different appearances. It can be shown as circles, squares, or ovals with
connecting lines.
2. The students read an assigned text.
3. Through class discussion, the teacher writes the main idea of the text in the
middle of the top circle.
4. The students share the supporting details of the main idea and place them in
circles that are connected to the main idea by lines.
5. This activity can also be used by students in cooperative groups, or
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 19 of 19

2.9 Summary Blueprints

This strategy helps students select the main information from a text by using a
graphic representation of the story structure as a guide.
1. The teacher shares and discusses with the students the summary blueprint.
2. The students read the assigned text.
3. The students complete the summary blueprint by filling in the setting,
characters, plot and ending.
4. The students create a written summary about the text using information
gathered from the summary blueprint.
5. The students share and discuss their work.
Reference Hare, V., & Bingham, A. (1986). Teaching students main idea
comprehension: Alternatives to repeated exposures. In J. Baumann (Ed.),
Teaching main idea comprehension (179--194). Newark, DE: International
Reading Association.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 20 of 20

2.10 Number Notes

This strategy helps students identify the main idea and its supporting details by
assigning them numbers.
1. The teacher introduces the structure to be followed.
2. The teacher models with students how to use number notes by first using only
words, not sentences

ex. 1: dinosaurs
2: meat-eaters
3: sharp teeth
3: sharp claws
2: plant-eaters
3: tall
3: short
3. The teacher continues modeling using a text, and
writing sentences instead of words.
4. For independent practice, write structure on board,
have students complete and then share.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 21 of 21

3 Author's Purpose
The ability to recognize the purpose of a selection. Recognizing that
communicating for varied purposes often requires the use of different
approaches, organization, and language.
Sunshine State Standards
Strand A - Reading
Standard 2 - The student constructs meaning from a wide range of
Benchmark - LA.A.2.2.2 The student identifies the author's
purpose in simple text.
Benchmark - LA.A.2.2.3 The student recognizes when a text is
primarily intended to persuade.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 22 of 22

3.1 Author's Grab Bag

This strategy helps students identify an author's purpose. An author's purpose
may be to entertain, inform, persuade or, describe.
1. The teacher collects various writing samples from a number of sources
(newspaper articles, captions with photo, comics, advertisements, etc.) and
laminates them. There should be many examples of each type of author's
2. The laminated writing samples are placed in a grab bag.
3. The students take turns pulling writing samples out of the bag and identifying
the author's purpose. The students should be able to explain their answer.

Reference Reading FCAT Ideas from Pinellas County Teachers, Grades K-5,
April 1998, p. 22.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 23 of 23

3.2 Author's Purpose

This strategy teaches students how to identify the author's purpose or point of
1. The teacher introduces the four main purposes an author may use. Give plenty
of examples of each type, and practice identifying which ones belong under
which heading.
2. The teacher places students into cooperative groups of four. Give each group
a copy of the daily newspaper. Have students search through and cut out
articles, advertisements, etc., and identify the author's purpose. Follow-up with a
class discussion where articles are shared and the justification of an author's
purpose is explained.
Reference Adapted from Florida Department of Education materials.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 24 of 24

3.3 What's the Purpose?

This activity helps students to identify the different purposes of television
programs. The students will categorize various programs as to whether they
inform, persuade or entertain.
1. The students brainstorm programs that can be found on the television.
2. The teacher introduces or reviews the terms; inform, persuade, and entertain.
3. The teacher makes a table or chart using these terms as headings on the
board or chart paper.
4. As a class, categorize the TV programs brainstormed earlier under these
headings. Students should be able to justify and explain their answers.
Reference Adapted from Florida Department of Education materials.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 25 of 25

3.4 QAR (Question/Answer Relationship)

QAR is a questioning strategy that helps teach students that a relationship exists
between the question given, the text, and the background of the reader. In this
strategy, students are taught to use four question/answer relationships (QAR's) to
find the information they need in order to answer the question.
1. The teacher introduces QAR and explains the four types of question/answer
relationships (QAR's)
2. The teacher models the QAR process by using a short story. First read the
story and questions to the students. Then identify which QAR's are evidenced
through the questions given. Finally, answer questions and discuss.
3. The teacher practices identifying the QAR's with the class.
4. The teacher provides independent practice.

5. The teacher gradually increases the length and complexity of the texts used
with QAR.
6. The students continue to use QAR throughout the year, across the curriculum
in science, social studies, health, etc.
Reference Raphael, T. (1982). Question-answering strategies for children. The
Reading Teacher, 36(2), 186-191.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 26 of 26

4 Chronological Order
Recognizing the order of events in a selection. A text that is chronologically
organized features a sequence of events that unfold over a period of time.
Sunshine State Standards
Strand A - Reading
Standard 2 - The student constructs meaning from a wide range of
Benchmark - LA.A.2.2.1 The student reads text and determines
the main idea, or essential message, identifies relevant supporting
details and facts, and arranges events in chronological order.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 27 of 27

4.1 Story Mapping

Story mapping is a way of visually representing the major parts of a story. The
focus is typically on the three main elements of a story: the beginning, middle,
and end. The students are directed to concentrate on the most important events
of the three main elements, and not get hung up with minor details.
1. The teacher reads the story to the class, or has them read it silently. The more
familiar they are with the story, the more successful they will be.
2. The teacher draws an outline of the story map onto the board. The middle
circle will contain the title of the story. From that circle, draw three lines
connecting to three other circles containing the terms; beginning, middle, and
3. The students recall and list the most important events connected to each of
the three story element parts. This is done by drawing lines from the story
element (beginning, middle, end) to another circle with the event written inside.
4. After the story map is complete, the students use it to orally retell the story,
illustrate main events, write a summary, or act it out.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 28 of 28

4.2 Plot Diagrams

Plot diagrams are another strategy involving story structure, specifically the plot
and the sequence of events surrounding the main character(s). Most story plots

involve a main character or characters who must solve a problem or reach some
goal. To do so there is typically a series of events or challenges that must be
overcome in order to reach a resolution. In this strategy students are asked to
imagine the plot structure as a journey in order to reach their destination.
1. The teacher will read a story to the class or have them read it silently.
2. The teacher records the main character's journey onto a transparency or large
piece of paper as dictated by students.
3. The teacher records each obstacle or challenge the main character
experiences onto the transparency or chart paper with a sentence and a picture.
The plot diagram will look similar to a map when complete. For example, a
challenge for the main character to overcome may be shown as a hill, mountain
or bridge to cross.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 29 of 29

4.3 Probable Passage

This strategy helps students develop an awareness of story strucure, improve
comprehension, and increase vocabulary development.
1. The teacher prepares lesson by selecting a story and a list of vocabulary
words that contain important concepts from the story, and that represent
categories in the story frame matrix.
2. The vocabulary words are introduced to the students. It is important that the
students are able to pronounce the words, and have some understanding of
3. Using the story frame matrix on the board or chart paper, the students place
the vocabulary words where they feel they most likely belong. The teacher
accepts all predictions.
4. The students complete the probable passage, which is a paragraph with story
structure elements (setting, characters, problem, and solution) deleted. Students
use the vocabulary words categorized in step 3 to complete the passage. All
predictions are accepted.
5. The students read the selected story to determine if their predictions for both
the story frame matrix, and probable passage were correct.
Reference Wood, K. D. (1984). Probable passages: A writing strategy. The
Reading Teacher, 37(5), 496-499.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 30 of 30

4.4 Timelines
This strategy helps students chronologically organize information found in a text.
It graphically shows the students how events occur over time. It is most effective
with historical texts, as well as biographies, social studies and science. A timeline
is created by drawing a straight line and inserting dates and events in-between.
1. The teacher introduces students to the concept of a timeline by showing
several examples, and by modeling one as a whole group activity.
2. The teacher assigns a text to be read.

3. The teacher instructs students to create a timeline using the dates and
information given in the text. Drawing paper and rulers will be needed. This
activity can be done in cooperative groups, or individually.
4. The students share and discuss their work.
5. The students may wish to add illustrations.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 31 of 31

4.5 Summary Blueprints

This strategy helps students select the main information from a text by using a
graphic representation of the story structure as a guide.
1. The teacher shares and discusses with the students the summary blueprint.
2. The students read the assigned text.
3. The students complete the summary blueprint by filling in the setting,
characters, plot and ending.
4. The students create a written summary about the text using information
gathered from the summary blueprint.
5. The students share and discuss their work.
Reference Hare, V., & Bingham, A. (1986). Teaching students main idea
comprehension: Alternatives to repeated exposures. In J. Baumann (Ed.),
Teaching main idea comprehension (179--194). Newark, DE: International
Reading Association.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 32 of 32

5 Plot & Conflict Resolution

Understanding the elements of a story; the characters, setting, events and
Sunshine State Standards
Strand E - Literature
Standard 1 - The student understands the common features of a
variety of literary forms.
Benchmark - LA.E.1.2.2 The student understands the
development of plot and how conflicts are resolved in a story.
Benchmark - LA.E.1.2.3 The student knows the similarities and
differences among the characters, settings,and events presented in
various texts.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 33 of 33

5.1 Directed Listening/Thinking Activity (DLTA) and Directed

Reading/Thinking Activity (DRTA)
These two activities have the students either listening (DLTA) or reading (DRTA)
stories actively and critically. Throughout the activity the students are to
summarize and make predictions about the story content. It is important to avoid
terms such as, "right" or "wrong". Instead us terms like "might happen", "likely" or
"possible." Predicting is not so much guessing right, but rather coming up with
possible alternatives.
1. The teacher chooses a story in advance, one with a clear plot structure and
attractive illustrations.
2. The teacher becomes familiar with the story, and plans to stop reading at least
2-4 times at predetermined points where she can ask the students to summarize
what has happened so far, and predict what may happen next.
3. Before reading to the children (DLTA), or having them read silently (DRTA), the
teacher draws attention to the cover of the book by reading the title and looking
at its illustration. The teacher asks the children to make predictions as to what
the story may be about. The teacher accepts all predictions.
4. The teacher records the predictions on the board, and asks, "Why do you think
5. The teacher reads the story to the class (DLTA), or has the students read
silently to a predetermined stopping point (DRTA). At each of the stopping points,
the teacher asks for the children's summaries of what has happened so far, and
what they predict will happen next.
6. The class reexamines the predictions on the board, discusses which
predictions are no longer viable, and which need to be adjusted or refined. New
predictions are then formulated.
7. Continue reading aloud (DLTA), or silently (DRTA) to the next stopping point.
Repeat step 6.
Reference Stauffer, R. (1980). The language experience approach to the
teaching of reading. (2nd ed.). NY: Harper and Row.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 34 of 34

5.2 Summary Blueprints

This strategy helps students select the main information from a text by using a
graphic representation of the story structure as a guide.
1. The teacher shares and discusses with the students the summary blueprint.
2. The students read the assigned text.
3. The students complete the summary blueprint by filling in the setting,
characters, plot and ending.
4. The students create a written summary about the text using information
gathered from the summary blueprint.
5. The students share and discuss their work.
Reference Hare, V., & Bingham, A. (1986). Teaching students main idea
comprehension: Alternatives to repeated exposures. In J. Baumann (Ed.),
Teaching main idea comprehension (179--194). Newark, DE: International
Reading Association.

FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 35 of 35

5.3 Two-Column Notes for Plot & Conflict Resolution

This strategy helps students with a story's plot development and resolution by
using a graphic organizer. This organizer uses two columns. The first column lists
the following story elements; setting, characters, problem(s), event(s), and
resolution. The second column is for the students to complete using information
from the story.
1. The teacher introduces the graphic organizer.
2. The students read an assigned story.
3. The students complete the two-column notes using their knowledge of the
4. The students share and discuss their notes with the class.
5. The students may add illustrations.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 36 of 36

5.4 Story Mapping

Story mapping is a way of visually representing the major parts of a story. The
focus is typically on the three main elements of a story: the beginning, middle,
and end. The students are directed to concentrate on the most important events
of the three main elements, and not get hung up with minor details.
1. The teacher reads the story to the class, or has them read it silently. The more
familiar they are with the story, the more successful they will be.
2. The teachers draws an outline of the story map onto the board. The middle
circle will contain the title of the story. From that circle, the teacher draws three
lines to connect to three other circles containing the terms; beginning, middle,
and end.
3. The students recall and list the most important events connected to each of
the three story element parts. This is done by drawing lines from the story
element (beginning, middle, end) to another circle with the event written inside.
4. After the story map is complete, the students use it to orally retell the story,
illustrate main events, write a summary ,or act it out.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 37 of 37

5.5 Plot Diagrams

Plot diagrams are another strategy involving story structure, specifically the plot
and the sequence of events surrounding the main character(s). Most story plots
involve a main character or characters who must solve a problem or reach some
goal. To do so there is typically a series of events or challenges that must be
overcome in order to reach a resolution. In this strategy students are asked to
imagine the plot structure as a journey in order to reach their destination.
1. The teacher will read a story to the class or have them read it silently.
2. The teacher will record the main character's journey onto a transparency or
large piece of paper as dictated by students.

3. The teacher will record each obstacle or challenge the main character
experiences onto the transparency or chart paper with a sentence and a picture.
The plot diagram will look similar to a map when complete. For example, a
challenge for the main character to overcome may be shown as a hill, mountain
or bridge to cross.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 38 of 38

5.6 Story Clock

This strategy helps students with plot development by using a graphic organizer.
1. The students read an assigned story.
2. Using a graphic representation similar to a clock, the students draw 12
pictures depicting events from the story.
3. The students start at the 1 o'clock position and draw a picture of the starting
4. The students continue around the circle with pictures relaying the story events
in successive order.
5. The final event is placed at the 12 o'clock position.
6. The students add a sentence near each picture to further explain the events.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 39 of 39

6 Cause & Effect / Fact & Opinion

Cause & Effect - Recognizing and exploring the relationship between events,
actions or situations by looking for the results or consequences of these
particular actions, events or ideas.
Fact & Opinion - Recognizing the difference between facts, things that can be
verified and proven true or not, and opinions, which are someone's personal
values expressed.
Sunshine State Standards
Strand E - Literature
Standard 2 - The student responds critically to fiction, nonfiction,
poetry, and drama.
Benchmark - LA.E.2.2.1 The student recognizes cause-and-effect
relationships in literary texts.
Strand A - Reading
Standard 2 - The student constructs meaning from a wide range of
Benchmark - LA.A.2.2.6 The student recognizes the difference
between fact and opinion presented in a text.

FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 40 of 40

6.1 Two-Column Notes for Cause & Effect

This strategy helps students identify and/or explain cause and effect relationships
found in both informational and literary texts by using a graphic organizer.
1. The teacher introduces the graphic organizer.
2. The students read an assigned text.
3. The students complete the two-column notes using their knowledge of the
4. The students list causes on the left-hand side of the chart.
5. The students identify the effects of the listed causes on the right-hand side of
the chart.
6. The students share their cause and effect notes with the class.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 41 of 41

6.2 Cause and Effect Tree

This strategy helps students identify cause and effect relationships. It is important
to stress that sometimes one cause may have several effects, or several causes
may lead to one effect. There is not always a one-to-one relationship in cause
and effect.
1. The students read an informational or literary text.
2. The students brainstorm cause and effect relationships found in the text.
3. The teacher introduces a visual aid of a tree with many branches either on the
board or chart paper, as well as on worksheets for each student.
4. The students write the cause on the trunk of the tree.
5. On each branch the students write the effects of the cause. If there is more
than one cause and effect relationship in the text, use another tree.
6. The students share their cause and effect trees and/or extend them into
paragraph form.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 42 of 42

6.3 Opinion/Proof Notes

This strategy helps students learn to develop an opinion, and support it through
evidence from a text.
1. The students read an assigned chapter or book.
2. The students develop an opinion about a character from the text. The opinion
is written down in the left-hand column.
3. The students write supporting evidence for their opinion in the right-hand
column. The evidence must be derived from the text along with the page number
for reference.
4. The students share their opinion/proof notes with the class. Extension: The
students may use their opinion/proof notes to develop a persuasive paper.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 43 of 43

6.4 Fact and Opinion in the Newspaper

This strategy helps students distinguish between fact and opinion. Students are
taught that facts, unlike opinions, can be verified to see if they are true or not,
and that key words may help in identifying an opinion.
1. The teacher shows the students a variety of samples from the newspaper. It
can be either headlines or complete articles.
2. The students discuss whether the samples are facts or opinions. The teacher
alerts the students to look for key words, such as, perhaps, in my opinion, I think,
probably, and I believe, that may signal an opinion.
3. After practicing with the teacher, the students are placed in cooperative groups
and given more newspaper samples to decide which are fact or opinion.
4. The students may write an "O" or "F" after each sentence to distinguish
between which is fact and which is opinion as they read the article.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 44 of 44

7 Compare & Contrast

Recognizing similarities and differences. How are they alike? How are they
Sunshine State Standards
Strand A - Reading
Standard 2 - The student constructs meaning from a wide range of
Benchmark - LA.A.2.2.7 The student recognizes the use of
comparison and contrast in a text.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 45 of 45

7.1 Venn Diagrams

This strategy will help students to compare and contrast information attained
from a text or unit of study through the use of a graphic aid.
1. The students write the attributes of one concept in the left-hand side of the
circle that which only it possesses.
2. The students write the attributes of the other concept being looked at in the
right-hand side of the second circle those characteristics only it possesses.
3. The students write those attributes shared by both concepts in the middle area
where the two circles overlap. These should be the characteristics that are
shared by both concepts.
4. The students share their venn diagrams, and/or use them in putting the
information into paragraph form.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 46 of 46

7.2 Three-Column Notes

This strategy helps students with comparing and contrasting. Attributes are
compared and contrasted using three-columns (different-same-different). This is
similar to a venn diagram, but in column form.
1. The students read an assigned story.
2. The students are to compare and contrast the story to one previously read, or
within itself. If you wish to compare and contrast within one story , you can do so
with the characters.
3. The students take notes underneath the three columns to compare and
contrast between any two concepts (characters, settings, subjects or topics,
events, etc.).
4. The students share their notes with the class, and may extend the activity by
putting their information into paragraph form.
Reference Reading FCAT Ideas from Pinellas County Teachers, Grades K-5,
April 1998, p. 22.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 47 of 47

7.3 Character Mapping

This strategy helps students select and describe a character from a story, and
then compare/contrast it to another character from either the same story or
1. After reading a story, the students choose a character they wish to describe in
2. The students draw a picture of their character and/or write its name in the
middle of a blank piece of paper.
3. The students draw a short line outward from their picture for each description
they attribute to their character.
4. The students do a character map for two characters in their story to
compare/contrast them, or take characters from two different stories to compare
and contrast.
5. The students share their character mappings with the class.
Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade
4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 48 of 48

7.4 Character Frames

This strategy helps students select and describe a character from a story, and
then present evidence to justify the character's description. The students can
also use this strategy as a way of comparing/contrasting between two different
characters from either the same story or from another.
1. The students choose a character that they wish to describe in detail.
2. The students complete a character frame by filling in information about the
character under three headings; character, personality characteristics, and
evidence. The evidence comes from the story and supports the personality
3. The students share and discuss their character frames with the class.

Reference Santa, C. (1993). Pegasus: Teacher implementation guide for grade

4. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 49 of 49

7.5 Semantic Feature Analysis

This strategy effectively teaches vocabulary by activating prior knowledge and by
classifying the new words by features using a matrix.
1. The teacher selects a list of words that have similarities, and places them on
the matrix in the left-hand column.
2. The teacher then writes features associated with these words across the top of
the matrix, or asks the students to supply the features associated with these
3. Students are to complete the matrix by placing either a check if the word has
the feature, or a zero if it does not have the feature. Accept all predictions.
4. Once the matrix is complete and the students have discussed the reasons for
their answers, the students should then read the assigned passage.
5. Review matrix for any necessary changes.
Reference Anders, P., & Bos, C. (1986). Semantic feature analysis: An
interactive strategy for vocabulary development and text comprehension. Journal
of Reading, 29(7), 610-616.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 50 of 50

8 Organizing Information
Using maps, graphs, charts, tables, and other graphic aids to help organize
information found in a text.
Sunshine State Standards
Strand A - Reading
Standard 1 - The student uses the reading process effectively.
Benchmark LA.A.1.2.2 The student uses a table of contents,
index, headings, captions, illustrations, and major words to
anticipate or predict content and purpose of a reading selection.
Strand B - Writing
Standard 1 - The student uses the writing processes effectively.
Benchmark - LA.B.1.2.1 The student prepares for writing by
recording thoughts, focusing on a central idea, grouping related
ideas, and identifying the purpose for writing.
Standard 2 - The student writes to communicate ideas and
information effectively.

Benchmark - LA.B.2.2.2 The student organizes information using

alphabetical and numerical systems.
Benchmark - LA.B.2.2.6 The student creates expository
responses in which ideas and details follow an organizational
pattern and are relevant to the purpose.
Strand E - Literature
Standard 1 - The student understands the common features of a
variety of literary forms.
Benchmark - LA.E.1.2.3 The student knows the similarities and
differences among the characters, settings, and events presented
in various texts.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 51 of 51

8.1 K - W L
KWL is a strategy typically used with nonfiction material. The students are to
recall what they already know about a topic, what they want to know, and later
what they have learned. it is also highly effective in introducing new themes or
units of study, as well as a culminating activity.
1. The teacher prepares a K-W-L chart on posterboard.
2. The students brainstorm what they already know about the topic. The teacher
records this information under the K on the chart. Important: Accept all
predictions. This is not a "teaching" time, you are merely recording what they
think they know about the topic. Later you can reexamine their speculations as to
whether they were indeed true or not.
3. Under the W, the teacher lists what the students want to know about the topic.
These must be formed as questions.
4. After completing the reading assignment, or unit of study, the students
complete the K-W-L chart.
5. Under the L, the teacher lists what the students have learned through their
assigned reading or unit of study.
6. Items listed under the L can be categorized using a key. For example, when
listing what they have learned about mammals, the class could devise a key such
as, D for description, F for food and L for location. These designations can then
be placed next to each item listed under the L.
Reference Ogle, D. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active
reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher, 36(6), 564-570
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 52 of 52

8.2 Previewing
This strategy helps students to read and learn from content area texts. The
students are taught several techniques to use in preparation to reading a text

independently through teacher demonstrations and modeling. The goal is to have

students approach textbook reading strategically and independently.
The teacher will draw attention to the following features:
1. Title - This can be used to predict what the assigned text will be about, as well
as to activate the students' prior knowledge.
2. Introductions and Summaries - Point out to the students that introductions and
summaries are two places where lots of important information can be found.
3. Bold Print Headings - Direct students' attention to headings and subheadings
found in the chapter. Have students speculate what information may be found
under these headings, as well as anticipate what questions may be answered
4. Graphic Aids - Draw the students' attention to any charts, tables, graphs or
maps that may be used in the chapter. Explain that these graphic aids are
valuable resources for summarizing important information found in the text. If
students are having difficulty reading or understanding a certain graphic aid, the
teacher may wish to conduct mini-lessons at a later date.
Reference Vacca, J. L., & Vacca, R. T. (1996). Content area reading (5th ed.).
New York: HarperCollins.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 53 of 53

8.3 Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers help students develop an awareness of the various structures
found in informational texts to improve comprehension and recall. Graphic
organizers are pictorial arrangements of ideas showing major ideas connected by
supporting details through geometric shapes, lines and arrows. Once students
have been trained in the use of graphic organizers and have an understanding of
text structures, they can create their own as needed.
1. Choose a graphic organizer to use.
2. Read a text or complete a unit of study.
3. Complete the graphic organizer. The type of graphic organizer used will dictate
how to complete it. (see Graphic Organizers in the Teaching Strategies section
for more help)
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 54 of 54

8.4 Hierarchical Summaries

This strategy helps students learn to outline and summarize textbook material,
specifically content area texts. It is extremely effective with textbooks that are
organized with boldface headings and subheadings.
1. The students skim over three to four pages of the assigned text, taking note of
the headings.
2. The students use this information to make a skeletal outline using a capital
letter for each section designated by a heading with two to three lines underneath
to write sentences.
3. The students read the section under the first subheading.

4. The students write a main idea sentence next to the letter A in their own words.
Underneath they write two to three sentences that support the main idea, again
in their own words.
5. The students continue reading sections one at a time, and filling in the skeletal
outline as in step 4.
6. When the assigned reading is complete, the students review their summaries.
7. The students share their summaries in small groups.
Reference Taylor, B. (1986). Teaching middle grade students to summarize
content textbook material. In J.F. Bauman (Ed.), Teaching main idea
comprehension (pp. 195-209). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
FCAT 4TH Grade Reading Additional Teaching Strategies Page 55 of 55