© 1998-2006 by Raymond C. Jones

Strategies for Reading Comprehension

ABC Brainstorm
  [ instructions    |    print chart ]
brainstorming activity, using letters of the alphabet

Carousel Brainstorming
  [ instructions ]
brainstorm similar to graffiti strategy

Clock Buddies
  [ instructions    |    print chart ]
a quick partnering system

Column Notes
  [ instructions ]
a learning guide arranged in columns

Comparison-Contrast Charts
  [ instructions    |    print chart ]
often found in graphic organizer form, a chart for comparing two concepts by looking at the ways they are similar and how they are different

Concept of Definition Map
  [ instructions    |    print map ]
a visually organized word chart for expanding the concept of meaning and enriching one's understanding of an unfamiliar term

Graphic Organizers
  [ instructions ]
visual organization of information, whether for levels of information, sequence or ordering, or relationships; often called concept maps, webs, clusters, or pictorial organizers

History Frames/Story Maps
  [ instructions    |    print history frame    |    print story map    |    print story pyramid    |    print character/plot chart    |    print cross-disciplinary applications ]
based on the story maps that many students already use in English and Language Arts, the history frame is a graphic organizer that looks at key actors, time & place of events, problem or goal, key events, outcome, and larger relevance

Inquiry Chart
  [ instructions    |    print chart ]
a variation of column notes and learning guides, inquiry charts are used specifically to generate questions whose answers will come from combing through a variety of sources

K - W - L
  [ instructions    |    print K-W-L chart    |    print modified K-W-L chart ]
a three-column chart for approaching new content and actively engaging in it; contains components for before, during, and after reading activity

  [ instructions    |    print chart ]
a two-column chart where students seek to provide support or evidence from the content to bolster an opinion they have put forward

Power Thinking
  [ instructions ]
an alternative system of outlining, power thinking involves assigning "Power" levels to information according to whether it is a main idea, subtopic, or detail

Problem-Solution Chart
  [ instructions    |    print chart ]
a two-column chart that is especially helpful for looking at cause and effect; its components invite students to consider consequences, causes, and solutions of problems

Question-Answer Relationships
  [ instructions    |    print chart    |    print QAR concept map ]
an strategy for understanding different levels of questions, from simple recall to more complex, and for recognizing the nature of given questions so that it is better understood what kind of answer is called for

Questioning the Author
  [ instructions ]
a protocol of questions for examining how clearly an author has communicated his or her ideas

Pattern Puzzles (a/k/a Mystery Pot)
  [ instructions ]
a sorting and manipulation activity for looking at the organization of ideas

RAFT Papers
  [ instructions    |    print blank form ]
a framework for approaching writing that can be especially good for encouraging expressions of empathy and understanding of another's perspective

Reciprocal Teaching
  [ instructions ]
a constructed activity for students to collaborate in understanding a selection of content (can also be done individually); students take on roles as Summarizer, Questioner, Clarifier, or Predictor

Selective Underlining/Highlighting
  [ instructions ]
emphasis on the word "selective"; a means for students to read for key ideas, essential vocabulary, cause and effect, etc.

Semantic Feature Analysis
  [ instructions ]
an attribute analysis tool; students can compare different ideas, concepts, people, events, etc. against a cross-referenced set of criteria

Story Maps
same as history frames; see above

  [ instructions    |    print Sum It Up sheet    |    print Sum It Up directions    |    lesson closure framed paragraph ]
a strategy for developing coherent but brief expressions of larger ideas by focusing on key words and main ideas; included are suggestions for various ways to teach summarizing, including an activity called Sum It Up

  [ instructions    |    print chart    |    print pro/con chart ]
a variation of two-column charts where students use key ideas in their content to support a thesis; excellent for pre-writing

  [ instructions ]
a cooperative and structured discussion strategy

Three-Minute Pause
  [ instructions    |    print overhead master ]
a structured pause; a comprehension check

3 - 2 - 1
  [ instructions    |    print 3-2-1 master ]
good quick strategy for summarizing and questioning

Venn Diagrams
  [ instructions    |    Venn Diagram for 2    |    Venn Diagram for 3    |    Venn Diagram w/Summary    |    Venn Variations ]
the most common charts for looking at similarities and differences

Word Map
  [ instructions    |    print map v.1    |    print map v.2 ]
a vocabulary strategy for visually mapping associations of meaning for a new term