Comprehension Strategies

Model Comprehension Strategies

Teacher-librarians play a critical role in engaging students in thoughtful reading, writing and discussion to foster their thinking and comprehension skills. School library sessions should focus on comprehension strategy instruction through explicit modeling; use of anchor lessons and anchor charts; and ample opportunities for students to practice these strategies both dependently and independently.

The seven comprehension strategies, as outlined by Keene and Zimmerman (2007), are:
  • Monitoring for Meaning
  • Connecting or Using Schema
  • Asking Questions
  • Visualizing (Mental Imagery)
  • Inferring
  • Determining Importance
  • Analyzing and Synthesizing

Comprehension development involves purposeful instruction to help readers enhance their repertoire of strategies for tackling more complex texts, reflective conversation, and making their thinking visible.
Essential to explicit teaching is Making Thinking Visible AND Making that Inner Conversation that good readers have audible.
Explicitly model grappling with the unknown - “Hmm, this part puzzles or confuses me. I wonder what the author means.” Students need to hear that adults grapple with their understanding as well, so they know it is okay to question their understanding and the environment is safe for risk-taking.
Engage students in monitoring their comprehension independently. Choice of text is important – and this encompasses not only the readability level (multi-level material), but self-selection as well.


Resources

Into The Book - A comprehension resource for K-4 students and teachers