Comprehension Strategies Overview

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Prior Knowledge
• Brainstorm before reading
• Topic, events, genre, ideas
• Make connections after reading
• ‘how did what you already know help you to understand what you’ve read?’
• ‘what more do you understand now about?’
• Make concluding statements

• Look at titles, subheadings, illustrations, first and last sentence
• Discuss responses
• ‘do these parts remind you of things you already know?’
• ‘how do the subheadings help you to predict what will happen?’

Reporting back
• Discuss new ideas and learning
• Establish prior and new knowledge
• Prompt cards ‘this is a little like … that I already knew’

Connecting key ideas
• List connections between different texts
• Cover points of view, vocabulary etc

Starting from the known
• KWL approach
• What do you already know?
• What do you want to find out?
• What have you learnt?
• Modify to use for vocab or context etc

Predicting and re-predicting
• Key words
• Provide one key word from text and ask students to predict what section is about

Read, predict, record
• Pause after each section, predict and share giving evidence
• ‘this phrase supports my prediction because’
• Identify clues such as punctuation and sentence structure
• Develop series of cards to record predictions and evidence

• Stop students at critical points and ask them to share their predictions

• Encourage peer feedback
• ‘do you think i could be correct? Why or why not?’

• Vivid descriptions
• Model using texts with strong descriptions
• ‘the picture i get is .... because...’

• Ask students to read a section of text and complete a simple sketch of what they have read
• This can be a verbal report or diagram

• Use a chart to record visual images and the words that helped form them

• Before reading brainstorm around a central image, idea or concept

• Develop a flow chart that shows a visual image developing

Teaching to infer
• Model author’s intent by reading aloud example: ‘water dripped off the leaves and landed as puddles on the already sodden ground..’. I can infer that it is raining, using clues and other strategies:
1. Clues from text: water, dripped, landed, puddles, sodden
2. Prior knowledge: that rain forms puddles
3. Visualisation: I can see the rain hitting the leaves, bouncing off and splashing on to the ground
• ‘The letter was written on thin, yellowing paper and rustled when she unfolded it.’
1. I know the letter must be old because the author says the paper is yellowing.
2. I worked this out because i know that some kinds of paper go yellow when they are very old.
3. The author says the paper rustled. That’s something else that tells me it’s probably old. I know that thin paper becomes brittle when it’s old, so it would make a rustling noise when you open it.

• Use charts to identify those messages actually stated in the text (what I know) and those inferred based on clues in the text (what I feel).

• Bookmarking or charting
• Provide starters ‘a question I have is.....’, ‘I am wondering ...’
• Ask literal questions (5W and H is appropriate) to recall facts directly
• Inferential questions which require thinking from clues. Take literal information and combine it with other information.
• Investigative questions require students to draw conclusions from given clues
• Evaluative questions require students to make judgments based on text content, author style and purpose

Seeking Clarification
• Backtrack and jot
• Refer back to text and jot down key points

• What part of the text is unclear?
• Why am I confused?
• What could this mean?
• Which is most probable and why?
• How can I seek assistance?

• Work with group to develop strategies for getting help

• Independent small group practice

• Highlighting
• Begin by reading a section of text
• Highlight the most important ideas
• Return to text and record key words

• Complete table with headings ‘key sentence selected’ and ‘reason’
• Students need time to share their reasoning and decide on the effectiveness of their decisions

Sequence of main ideas or events
• Suitable for texts conveying information in a sequence
• Make notes summarising each stage

• Identify supporting evidence to justify their choice of important ideas

• Considering evidence
• Powerful with nonfiction texts
• Use as a brainstorm activity

• Record the processes they went through to work out the main idea from a text
• Complete as 1st step, 2nd step etc till ‘I concluded that the main idea was ...’

Analysing and synthesising
• Why is it ...?
• Use with texts which might allow for more than one interpretation
• Students complete a table with the headings ‘the author states’, ‘why this could be so’ and ‘questions I have are ...’

• Identifying cause and effect relationships
• Look for relationships between events and actions
• Use a graphic organiser to record any cause and effect relationships which are noticed

• Students compare 2 or more versions of a text and identify the elements that are the same or different
• Make notes of the details they consider important
• Analysis – chart information as you read
• Synthesis – connect this list of ideas
• Ask questions – what did you notice, were there differences, did they matter?

• Identifying assumptions, points of view and bias
• Use with persuasive texts, reports, explanations and narratives
• Analyse the development and sequence of ideas
• Analyse the information and the conclusions
• Draw together the results of their analysis
• Comparing characters using a graphic organiser

• Using a story map
• Show how the elements of a narrative come together to create overall meaning
• Use with finding the main idea

• Record an idea they have learnt from their reading and list facts about this idea
• Analyse the parts of the text that have the key messages
• Explain the key messages
• Identify the evidence the author used to convey these messages
• Identify evidence to support a point of view
• Explain the relationship between 2 pieces of information
• Explain how what they have read relates to what they already know
• Explain how they can combine their new learning with their prior knowledge

• Draw on prior knowledge to ask and answer relevant questions
• Analyse and synthesise ideas
• Recognise inconsistencies
• Recognise when the author is trying to influence their thinking
• Respond to the text in a personal, yet informed way
• Make judgements about what an author is saying
• Describe and demonstrate to others how they arrived at their opinions

• What do you think?
• Select a task:
• Express an opinion
• Ask an evaluating question
• Challenge the text or author
• Look for bias
• Say how effectively the text was developed in view of the purpose

• Challenge and justify
• The inclusion of a particular inclusion
• Their own evaluation of the text
• A recommendation of the text for other audiences
• An opinion on the content of the text
• Priorities within the text (most important to least)
• The overall effectiveness of the text
• Whether the author met the purpose for which the text was written