What are reading comprehension strategies?

According to the Institue of Educational Sciences (IES), a research division of the United States Department of Education, reading comprehension stategies are a variety of strategies that are taught to students that will help them to understand and retain what they read and thus become independent, resourceful readers. 
Some of the most effective strategies students can use to help them comprehend include:
  • Monitoring Comprehension 
  • Questioning
  • Visualizing
  • Inferencing
  • Making Connections / Using Prior Knowledge
  • Summarizing /Synthesizing

At Olds Elementary,  teachers voted to teach and implement reading comprehension strategy instruction as part of their 2014-2016 School Improvement Plan (SIP), as school wide data determined reading comprehension as an area for growth. Professional Development sessions have been designed to share the reasearch, raise teacher awareness and to provide idea and information on teaching the reading comprehension strategies.  In January 2016, teachers were surveyed to refelct on their practice and to determine their instructional needs for teaching reading comprehension strategies.  You can find the survey results using the following link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1SnDI7W1ZUcdQzt-TOKN_lHyg06i2uBfeK7k1rmIjTnw/viewanalytics.  

The survey data determined the following:

  • 93% of teachers felt comfortable or very comfortable teaching the reading comprehension strategies.
  •  65% of teachers stated that their students could answer the question "What are some strategies you can use to help you read?" if surveyed.
  • 57% of teachers would like some fresh ideas on the Monitoring Comprehension and Inferring strategies. (see reults below)
Monitoring Comprehension857.1%
Prior Knowledge/Making Connections17.1%

The Needs Assessment on Reading Comprehension data led to the design of this website. The website will include ideas, visuals, minilessons, integration ideas, resource lists, and ideas to help support teachers in their instructional efforts. 

"Is this strategy instruction?'' 

“Strategies” are not the same as comprehension skills typically listed in core reading programs, nor are they teaching activities. 

What a strategy is: 

• Intentional mental actions during reading that improve reading comprehension. 

• Deliberate efforts by a reader to better understand or remember what is being read. 

What a strategy is not:

Instructional activities such as completing worksheets. Worksheets rarely include instruction in what students should do actively in their heads to improve comprehension

• Exercises that are aimed at giving students practice with skills such as sequencing or drawing conclusions, but that lack explicit instruction in how to think in these ways during reading. 


(Most information came from these websites)

Doing What Works 


Reading Rockets