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Reading Comprehension Strategy Tools

by Model Teaching | October 25, 2016.

Use these 7 reading comprehension strategy tools and graphic organizers to guide reading lessons and tutoring sessions with your student(s).  Designed for teachers, parents or students, these tools help build reading comprehension by allowing students to more effectively organize information found within reading passages, in books or on exams.  Feel free to download, print, or share!  If you are interested in more free reading tools, please let us know in the comments section below.

Reading Comprehension Strategy Tools

Reading Comprehension Strategy Tool – Define Unfamiliar Words Using Context Clues in the Text

Use this tool to teach students how to use context clues to identify the meaning of unfamiliar words. This reading strategies tool gives students 7 different word identification methods to use when taking an exam or reading passages. In this reading comprehension tool, each of the 7 context clues methods are explained and further defined using a real-world example. By incorporating these different methods into guided reading and reading strategy tutorials, students will quickly be able to make inferences about the meaning of new words simply by identifying context clues in the surrounding text. In addition, this tool contains a graphic organizer to help students practice identifying new words, associating the surrounding context clues, and applying an inference to determine the word’s meaning.

HOW TO USE: During guided reading tutorial sessions, have student(s) write down unfamiliar words in the graphic organizer. Ask the student(s) to identify any associated context clues in the surrounding text using any one of the 7 context clue strategies. Finally, have the student(s) write the inferred meaning based on the relevant context clue then check the word’s definition in a dictionary to see how close the student(s) got to the correct meaning.

Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizer Tool – Identifying the Sequence of Events in a Passage

This reading strategy tool helps students track the sequence of events taking place while reading. By completing the sections of this graphic organizer while reading passages, students will learn how to instinctively follow the order of events taking place in specific stories, a critical factor for reading comprehension.

HOW TO USE: During Guided reading sessions, have student(s) complete the various sections of this graphic organizer for the relevant character(s). After the story, have students use the identified sequence of events to summarize the complete story in the correct order.

Reading Comprehension Strategy Tool – Reading Strategies Checklist

Use this checklist to identify key activities students should be engaged in while reading passages and stories to maximize reading comprehension. The action items are categorized as key activities to be completed, before reading, during reading and after reading the passage.

HOW TO USE: Teachers and parents can use this tool first to help direct students on what key activities need to be completed before, during and after reading a passage. Have students check off each of these items as they go through the lesson. Eventually, students should instinctively do this as they read books or passages in class. Also, this tool will help students organize their thoughts as they prepare to make arguments and address questions on the text’s content during exams and writing assignments.

Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizer Tool – Making Inferences

A key component of reading comprehension; inferences, are conclusions that are drawn by combining clues in the text and schema (what you already know). This is a concept that is often taken for granted by experienced readers, but is a critical reading strategy deficiency for students struggling with reading comprehension. This tool helps students practice identifying, understanding and finally drawing inferences as they practice reading books or passages.

HOW TO USE: Give this tool to students during guided reading sessions. At first, help the student(s) to identify key events, feelings or character transitions by asking them specific questions such as “what is the character feeling”. Then ask students to use this tool to write down clues in the text (ex. it is raining outside and Susan is looking out of the window), then list associated schema (when it is raining outside, I cannot go out and play). Finally ask students to draw an inference for each clue and schema set (ex. Susan may be feeling sad or unhappy because it is raining outside and I know that when it is raining outside it means I cannot plan, which makes me sad). With practice in writing out inferences, students will eventually be able to make these connections naturally while reading passages or books.

Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizer Tool – Someone-Then Character Summary

The purpose of this tool is to help students organize their thoughts when summarizing events and story lines concerning a specific character “someone”. This reading comprehension tool helps students practice explaining concepts such as character transitions, struggles or basic story lines in essays or while answering questions about specific passages.

HOW TO USE: While reading a passage or story have your student(s) fill out the information relevant to each section for the main character or another key character in the story. Once all sections are complete, have your student(s) summarize the full story from the character’s point of view. This will help students learn how to process the overriding theme within short stories, passages or books, a skill-set essential for reading comprehension, preparing essays or answering reading and writing questions on exams.

Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizer Tool – Finding Text Evidence

This tool helps students identify direct evidence, pulled from the text, to answer specific questions. The graphic organizer helps students organize and clarify their reasoning and directs them to locate specific evidence to form arguments supporting their claims. Also, this tool helps build the skill-set of identifying the most relevant quotes when forming an argument. These reading comprehension strategies are essential to forming well-researched arguments when preparing essays or answering passage questions on exams.

HOW TO USE: After the completion of a passage or story, give students a specific question drawing from the events in the text. Next, have students answer the question on their own from their own general comprehension of the text. Then ask students to identify the specific evidence in the text by having them write reasoned arguments using specific examples taken directly from the text. Finally, ask students to select specific passages or quotes from the text that support their arguments.

Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizer Tool – Who, What, Where & When Summary

Use this graphic organizer tool to help guide students on preparing short summaries of a passage or story. This tool helps students focus on the key elements that need to be addressed when writing a summary for an exam or as part of an essay, and is also a critical skill needed for reading comprehension.

HOW TO USE: While reading a passage, have students fill in each area with a short 1-2 sentence summary pertaining to who, what, when, where, why and how. Finally, after completing these steps, have students then write a short summary of the text by drawing upon each of these elements.


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