A Few Comprehension Resources

I was looking through old documents on my computer and found some things that I decided to provide as a resource.  I must have put these together originally for a class I took, but I can’t remember now.  Enjoy.

Questions to ask Yourself While you are Reading:

Does this phrase/passage make sense?

How do I say that word? (when you come to a word you don’t know)

What does that word mean? (when you come to a word you don’t know)

What did I just read?

What is the main idea?  How can I find it?

What are the implied meanings of this passage?

How does this connect to the real world, to my life, or to something I remember?

What is the author trying to say?—what is the message?

Close Reading Questions:


            Read the problem 2 or 3 times

State what the problem asks you to solve

Select data that will help you solve the problem

Decide if there is a formula you can apply

Set up an equation/chart/graph

Sketch to help you see the problem

Does my answer make sense?

Graphics and Charts (any subject area):

Look at the graphic and read the title—what does it tell you the graphic is about?

Read all of the text in the graphic

Think about the information—how does it relate to the topic?

Ask:  “what’s important?”

Connect this important info to life and experiences

Prompts for Making Connections

How does this information apply to your life?

What feelings did the reading raise for you?  Why?

What have you learned about yourself by studying this (event/person)?

What new information did you learn from the article that the book didn’t discuss?

Ideas for Teaching Vocabulary

Predict and clarify:  write some vocab words on the board and have students predict what they think the meaning is.  Then, preview the reading—bold faced words, titles, graphics (etc…) and write a refined explanation of the word.  Next, read the sentence/passage with the word and show students how the passage tells you about the word’s meaning—get the meaning down if the students don’t already have it.  They can move to doing this independently with reading material they can handle and they can share their responses with the group.  Help them refine their explanations/definitions into phrases they will remember.

List, Group, Label:  Brainstorm a list of words associated with a topic.  Categorize the words into different groups/headings.  Explain why words are in certain groups/headings (this is a group activity).

Ways for Students to Keep Track:

Learning Logs:  a small notebook or handmade book where students jot down what they learned that day in the subject.

Inquiry Log:  like a learning log, except that students write down further questions they have on the topic and you address that question with additional resources or activities—this can be part of the learning log as well.

Fast-write:  before learning do a freewrite where students write all they can think of about the topic in a short amount of time…after learning, this would be a technique where students write all they’ve learned about the topic and their thoughts about it in a short amount of time.

Coding System (sample you can use):         √ = agree with this point

X = disagree with this point

* = new information

? = don’t understand this

­­underline something interesting

Here is a PDF of some generic Graphic organizers as well.


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