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Strategies to Build Comprehension

Reading comprehension is the ability to process and understand text for its meaning and to integrate that information with what is already known. Proficient reading is dependent on the following skills: the ability to recognize words quickly and effortlessly, understanding the meaning of words, the ability to follow the organization of a passage, to draw inferences from that passage, reading for recall and identifying the main thoughts of a passage, the ability to recognize the writer’s purpose, intent and point of view, and to effectively answer questions from the text.

1. Monitor comprehension

  1. What do you understand?

  2. What don’t you understand?

  3. Restate and retell

2. Metacognition 

– is thinking about thinking and includes knowledge about when and how to utilize a specific strategy for learning or problem solving. Use metacognitive strategies to help students analyze, evaluate and control their reading comprehension.

  1. Clarify the purpose for reading

  2. Monitor understanding of the text during reading

  3. Adjust reading speed and “fix” problems to better understand the text

3. Monitor strategies

  1. Identify where the difficulty occurs (in the sentence, paragraph or chapter)

  2. Identify why the student is having difficulty (what does the author mean?)

  3. Restate the difficult statement or passage (the author means this…)

  4. Look back through the text and make connections (self, world, book)

4. Graphic and semantic organizers (illustrate concepts)

  1. Use frames, clusters, chain of events, story maps

  2. Focus on text (fiction/nonfiction)

  3. Tools to recognize relationships in text

  4. Write well-organized summaries

5. Recognize story structure

  1. Identify the categories of content: characters, setting, events, problem, and resolution.

6. Generate questions

  1. By generating questions students become aware of their understanding and if they can accurately answer and retell what they’ve read.

7. Answer questions

  1. Give a purpose for reading

  2. Focus attention

  3. Active thinking

  4. Monitor comprehension

  5. Review content

  6. QAR (Question Answer Relationship)

8. Types of questions

  1. Right There – (questions found right in the text) What type of hair does Sandra have?

  2. Think and Search – (questions based on recall of text) Why does Sandra want a “real” house?

  3. Author and You – (questions that require student to understand the text and relate it to prior knowledge) How do you think Sandra felt when the nun asked her, “You live there?”

  4. On Your Own – (questions based on prior knowledge and personal experience) How would you feel if you lived in a house that was like the house on Loomis Street?

9. Teaching comprehension

  1. Direct explanation

  2. Modeling

  3. Guided practice

  4. Application

About the author

Vikki Carrel

Academic Language Therapist, Multi-book Author, National Speaker

Vikki empowers people! She is an Academic Language Therapist, multi-book author and a national speaker. Vikki grew up in Salt Lake City, met her husband at the University of Utah, and has owned several companies across the United States. In 2010, Vikki and her husband moved back to Utah from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and she founded Vikki Carrel & Company, a speaking and training organization. Read more about the Author

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