Comprehension Strategies

How to Teach Reading Lesson Plans: Uses comprehension strategies to get information from a wide range of materials.

1) Utilizes prior knowledge
Ask students to read the following headings from board. (1) What I Know (2) What I Want to Know (3) What I Learned Have the student answer questions 1 and 2, and then read a selection and answer question 3.

2) Identifies analogies
Discuss the rule for analogies which is to determine the relationship in the first part and extend to the second part. Present one list at a time to teach similar relationships. Use a graphics/drawing tool to illustrate analogies.


On the board, the teacher will have students give opposites for a list of words. As a group, the students will give an example for each word, and then do an analogy.

Opposites: friend : enemy

hot : __________

Part and whole : finger : hand

toe : __________

3) Summarizes information
Give the students time to read a selection more than once.
Reduce the amount of material the students read at one time.
Make certain students always consider the first sentence as the main idea.
Demonstrate how to map a selection in order to determine main topics for a summary.
Use a writing/publishing tool to illustrate the main idea and supporting details of the selection.

4) Utilizes visual aids to completely understand the passage (e.g., picture, list, table, chart, graph)
Have the students use a story map to determine main ideas (MI) and supporting details (SD).

5) Identifies and applies knowledge of organizational patterns (e.g., sequence, cause and effect, comparison/contrast)
Give students passages containing two sequential components and then progress to passages containing three or more sequential components.
Have the students write or tell a sequence for a personal event (e.g., getting dressed for school, preparing cereal, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich).
Have the students use a Venn diagram to show differences and likenesses of a passage or short story.
Use a brainstorming/mapping tool to illustrate the organizational pattern of the selection.

6) Identifies and summarizes main idea and supporting details
Encourage the students to consider the first sentence or the last sentence of a paragraph as a possible main idea.
Use a mapping format to make sure the student understands that the main idea of a paragraph or a short selection will contain one or more of the following: Who, What, Where, When, How, Why.
Have the students use a web to identify the main idea and name supporting details. Afterwards, summarize the story using the web as a guide.
Use a brainstorming/mapping tool to identify supporting details.

7) Makes predictions, draws conclusions, and infers meaning
Have students use cues from a story and personal experience about similar situations to predict what might happen. Ask students to list and explain predictions. Later, have them explain their reasoning. Finally, discuss whether or not they predicted the events that did occur. Have students write predictions using details from the story. Exchange predictions and conclusions with a partner in another school via e-mail or U.S. mail.
Illustrate a prediction. Have students use cues from a story to create a drawing that illustrates their predictions of the story’s ending. After completing the drawings, students may share their illustrations and predictions. After the teacher reads the entire story, the students will compare their predictions to the actual ending. Use a graphics/drawing tool to illustrate predictions of story ending.
Play or sing the beginning of a new song. Students will take turns predicting the outcome (or the next melody line) of the song.
Have the students create a story map and character map from a selection to draw conclusions from the reading. Present the events of the story, relationships of characters, and elements of story, etc. Use a brainstorming/mapping tool to create the story map.
Story Map Example: Problem caused by Villain resolution . . . Conclusion
Character Map Example: Hero attributes, emotions, Why? What?, etc.
Read sentences containing inferences to student, and then ask student to fill in the correct inference. Examples:
Bill tried as hard as possible, but he could not get his feet in his shoes. The shoes were too . (small, tight)
There was a huge crowd in the front yard. Water was being sprayed on the roof. The house was on .
It had snowed all night. The next morning the cars had trouble staying out of the ditches because the roads were so ____.

8) Retells a story
Have students listen to oral reading of story and then retell story (oral/written intervention for whole group). Retelling should include the following concepts:

Concepts of Comprehension include:
Specific details
Relevant content
General details
Concepts of Metacognitive Awareness include:
Connects background knowledge
Summarizes text and connects to real life
Concepts of Language Development include:
Controls use of mechanics of speaking and writing (vocabulary, sentence structure, language conventions)
Organizes details and structures composition

Videotape students retelling the story to share with peers, parents, and administrators.
Have students retell a story using a presentation tool.

9) Describes story elements (e.g., characters, setting, plot, theme, mood/tone, conflict and solution as the teacher utilizes questioning techniques
Have students read a story and then identify and discuss the story elements.
Have the students use journals to make predictions, write story summaries, determine cause and effect, identify story problem/solution, etc., then read journal entries during sharing time (not mandatory, but by choice).
Have the students use keep response logs to respond to stories.
Have the students use story maps to answer questions about setting, characters, plot, story conflict, story solution and theme.
Use a brainstorming/mapping tool to create story maps.
Allow the students to write a book review of a story. The students will give a brief synopsis of story. The students will tell why they liked or disliked the story and who they think would like to read this story (book). Next, they make a recommendation being sure to give details to support their reasoning.

10) Skims and scans to locate key information
Give the students a list of questions to answer by skimming and scanning the table of contents or index.
Have the students skim or scan a telephone book to find specific numbers (emergency, businesses, government agencies, etc.).

11) Rereads to determine meaning
Assign partner-reading to read and discuss the story for story elements.
Assign a shorter passage for the students to read so that details can be remembered.
Reinforce the student for successful rereading.

12) Utilizes parts of book (e.g., table of contents, title page, index, glossary, headings and captions)
Refer to the table of contents of a textbook. The teacher will ask questions that apply to the table of contents.
Provide information about the index, and have students determine the page number for a subject.
Refer to the glossary of a textbook, and have the students determine the meaning for a given word.

13) Identifies and utilizes variety of resource texts to gain information (e.g., dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, atlas, computer)
Assign several words for students to find antonyms using a thesaurus.
Have students use an encyclopedia or online resource to find information about an assigned topic (animal, plant, etc.) using guide questions such as:
(1) Find two interesting facts about the plant or animal.
(2) Describe the plant’s or animal’s habitat.
Have students locate their state and city in an atlas.

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