Comprehension Strategies

Graphic Organizers


Comprehension of text involves interaction between the literal word and what the reader is thinking while reading. This distinction is not always clear, as readers who have difficulty often will read the words, but make no connections. Good readers make these connections to their own experiences, other texts they may have read that are similar or different to what they are reading or they make connections to their knowledge of the world.


Comprehension is key to being able to read a variety of texts. One must be able to know the literal terminology, look for facts and details, make inferences by using the text to "read between the words", be able to make and support judgments, and apply the meanings they gather from the information to their personal knowledge and experience base. They must be able to "relate" to the type of text they are reading. Teacher tracking chart::::Student Handout----Bookmark-Fix up Strategy check

      What purpose do Comprehension Strategies Serve?

     Comprehension strategies are procedures that good readers access to interact with written text, and to understand writing on a literal, inferential, critical and creative level. Good readers employ such strategies automatically prior to reading, as they read and once they have finished reading. This automaticity is critical if students are to progress to a higher level of comprehension (e.g., inferential, critical and creative).  Another Book mark for comprehension

      Good readers understand the dynamics of the comprehension process like word identification, background knowledge and experience, interest and purpose of and for reading.

     Comprehension strategy lessons occur within three time frames in an instructional frame of reference: prior to, during and after reading  is completed.

     The teacher should use on-going questioning techniques to try and elicit additional responses from the  students. These leading questions  are a way of probing for a deeper understanding on the part of the reader. Follow-up activities can be utilized now to encourage the students to demonstrate their newly learned comprehension strategy. 

The Big Six Plus One Comprehension Strategies

larger view

Student print out here.

When Working with difficult text like Non-fiction, textbooks and Magazine Articles it is best to use the following strategies to help students understand what they read.

Before Reading -- Prior to reading, a teacher needs to introduce a process model of the strategy, and demonstrate how/when/why this strategy should be utilized by a student. A teacher might also decide to include specific background knowledge or experiences, as well as any critical vocabulary or concepts, which would help a reader fulfill his/her task of reading for meaning during the next time frame. Prior to reading, a teacher might provide an overall purpose for a student's reading, as well as specific advance graphic organizers to guide the initial silent reading.

During Reading -- A teacher should monitor the silent reading of the students, providing assistance only when requested by a particular student. Monitor for overt signs of frustration, enjoyment, and on/off-task behaviors.

After Reading -- A comprehension check is undertaken here, utilizing the overall purpose. A teacher may decide to use a graphic organizer as the initial discussion starters.