Reading Comprehension Strategies

Activity: Comprehension Strategies with hand signals
Making Connections, Asking Questions, Visualizing (Creating Mental Images), Summarizing, Rereading to Clarify

Objective: Students will know how to intentionally interact with text to create meaning.

Materials: Text, posters

Demonstrate to students that word calling is not reading. I read the first paragraph from our story and ask students to judge whether I am reading or word calling. At first glance, It appears that I am a good reader because I am reading at an appropriate pace and I don’t need help with words. But then I share with them that although it sounded pretty good I can’t remember anything I read. We can fix this! There are strategies that will help us comprehend what we read.

Before reading I introduce hand signals for each reading strategy. I use the ones listed below. You could use these or make up your own hand signals. We will stop and use one of the strategies below when it feels natural or when we finish a paragraph. I begin reading the story aloud to my students. I use a place holder as we stop and use the strategies to interact.

Making ConnectionsStop and say,
“I have done this before…if you have also done this, show me your hand signal. This is your connection to the story. If you have never done this show me your hand signal. This is also your connection. If you would like to do this, show me your hand signal. Wanting to do something is also a connection.”
Other examples:
“This is cool!” “This is sad.” “I like this.” “ I don’t like this.” “I agree.” “ I don’t agree.”
“ I can’t believe this.”

Asking QuestionsStop an say,
“I wonder if…” or “I wonder why…” When we come across the answer to our question in reading, we stop and acknowledge the question and answer by saying, “Here’s the answer to what we were wondering earlier…”

Visualize (create mental images)
We will also stop and visualize the story. I chose this hand signal to remind us to use all five senses when visualizing or making a mental movie of the text. Stop and make a movie in your mind using your five senses. Imagine what this would look like, feel like, smell like, taste like, sound like.

Making PredictionsStop and make a prediction, and see if they come true.

Reread to ClarifyWhen I do not understand what I just read, I do not have to go back to the very beginning and start over. I can go to the last place marker because I know I understand everything up to that point. If something doesn’t make sense I can reread to get a better understanding.

Don’t try to memorize the sentences. Retell what you just read in your own words. If I can’t retell it, then I go back to my last place marker where know I understand and reread that portion.