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20 Proven Reading Comprehension Strategies With Actionable Reading Responses

Reading comprehension strategies play a predominant role in students’ ability to comprehend text. For reading responses to be effective, they must be explicitly taught in a supportive classroom environment.

So what does a supportive classroom environment that promotes reading comprehension strategies and effective reading responses look like? Duke and Pearson (2002, pp. 207-208) advocate:

  • students need to read engaging texts daily
  • teachers must select texts for students based on interest or topic
  • students should be provided with a range of texts in different genres (multimodal, print-based, images, animations, graphic representations, video, audio, diagrams/charts, newspapers/magazines, fiction, non-fiction)
  • teachers ought to identify and discuss vocabulary from rich texts with their students
  • students are to be given time to talk to each other about the texts they read and have listened to
  • students would benefit from writing and reflecting on their reading.

The 20 proven and effective reading comprehension strategies that should be taught in an elementary classroom are:

  • Author’s Purpose
  • Asking Questions
  • Cause and Effect
  • Characterization
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Context Clues
  • Determining Importance
  • Drawing Conclusions
  • Fact and Opinion
  • Main Idea and Details
  • Making Connections
  • Making Inferences
  • Making Predictions
  • Problem and Solution
  • Setting
  • Sequencing
  • Story Elements
  • Summarizing
  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing

To complement the explicit teaching of reading comprehension strategies, there are many print and digital resources that teachers can use. In this blog post, I’ll outline what I use in my classroom.

1. Print Resources That Complement Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies

Graphic Organizers

Documenting information in a graphic organizer whilst reading provides an interactive reading experience. It helps document, structure and organize information read.

reading comprehension strategies

Each of the 20 reading graphic organizers targets a specific reading strategy.

A definition of the reading strategy in question is included on each reading organizer

This is followed up by a graphic representation of the guiding prompts that facilitate the organization of content read.

A glance at the completed reading graphic organizer will help students summarize the main points and ideas about the reading.

Or provide insight into the character if characterization is the reading strategy under study.

Interactive Notebook Templates

Interactive notebook templates go beyond simple notetaking. Each template focuses on a particular reading strategy and consequently documents a practical application of that strategy.

For example, in the ‘Making Connections’ reading strategy, the template provides a definition of the strategy and guiding question prompts to help the reader make connections to text to self, text to text, and text to world.

The templates require basic cutting and folding. There are two templates for each reading strategy.

reading comprehension strategies interactive notebooks

The Cover Template features the question prompts.

The Recording Template further scaffolds the writer’s response with guiding prompts.

Each Cover Template is glued over the Recording Template at one or either end.

Lifting the flaps of the Cover Template reveal information documented on the Recording Template.

Task Cards

Task cards are particularly popular because information on a task card is presented in manageable chunks.

Like the interactive notebook template, each reading task card features a definition of the reading strategy.

There are also guiding questions to facilitate the collecting of information.

The 20 task cards do ample justice to the application of 20 reading strategies and can be used with any book.

reading comprehension strategies task cards

2. Digital Resources That Complement Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies

Digital Graphic Organizers in Google Slides

Like the print version of the reading graphic organizers, the digital version in google slides features a definition of the reading strategy in question.

However, instead of writing out their response, students will type out information.

The guiding prompts will facilitate students to collect and document information on any text focusing on the reading strategy in question.

Digital Reading Responses in Google Forms

Using a google form to document information read is yet another digital medium of teaching reading comprehension strategies.

Students will reflect on a book they are reading or have read by typing their responses in a Google Form. This is an effective way to authenticate students’ reading logs.

A visual definition of the reading comprehension strategy in question aids in student responses.

A guiding question also facilitates response.

Students simply type in their answer in the text box and all responses are automatically saved for analysis.

The questions require an open-ended response and it would be interesting to read what each student has written.

reading comprehension strategies reading response google forms

Best of all, student responses can be remotely accessed by accessing the ‘Responses‘ tab on the Google Form.

The ‘Summary‘ tab gives an overview of all student responses for all questions.

The ‘Question‘ tab shows student responses for each question.

And the ‘Individual‘ tab reveals the responses of each student.

Analyzing this data is indeed very useful to dictate further teaching and learning.

And if you want to export this data into an excel spreadsheet, all you have to do is access the green cross tab on the right.

Sharing this form with all student responses with the class is easy too – simply access the ‘Share’ tab.

To make a question mandatory for students to respond, access the ‘Required’ tab below on the right.

Post Teaching of Reading Comprehension Strategies

Once students have been explicitly taught the reading comprehension strategies, they should be given the opportunity to apply these strategies in practice. This can be done:

  • when reading independently
  • in small groups
  • during whole-class discussion time
  • by writing and reflecting on their reading

Making use of the print and digital resources to document, comprehend and reflect on text read gives me a good idea of my students’ comprehension skills.

I’ve also assigned these resources to students with much success during Book Week, the Premiers Reading Challenge, Book Study and for any text students choose to read and document.

No doubt, these reading resources have also created a hall-stopping display other than documenting students’ reading.

Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies With QR Codes

Another fun activity for students to do after explicit teaching of the 20 reading comprehension strategies is to reinforce the teaching of each strategy. This can be done by assigning students task cards. Each task card includes a QR Code that links to a video of the strategy when scanned.

This way students get to visually hear and see an explanation of the comprehension strategy in question prior to responding to the guiding questions on the task card.

A Free Reading Response Resource

I hope this post was helpful in shedding some light on the resources that complement the explicit teaching of reading comprehension strategies.

A take-away from this would be to try out the digital reading response resource that features ten reading strategies. This Google Form may be assigned to your students via an assignment in Google Classroom. It can be used with any text students are reading and requires students to reflect on the text via guiding question prompts. Each question is followed by a visual definition of the comprehension reading strategy in question.

Reading and writing do go hand-in-hand, so read all about how writing doesn’t have to be boring.

Shop the Post

The print and digital resources including graphic organizers, interactive notebook templates, task cards, QR Codes, and Google Forms featured in this post to teach and reinforce the 20 reading strategies are available in the Reading Strategies Bundle.

reading comprehension strategies

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