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• In order for students to be successful while
reading, they must employ reading
comprehension strategies before, during, and
• The following slides are examples of strategies
that can be used by students to increase
understanding and comprehension by
students while reading non-fiction text.
The goal of the strategies used before
reading is to activate prior knowledge,
increase interest, and to prepare the
student for what they are about to
Activate Prior Knowledge
• This is an important strategy for students
when reading non-fiction text.
• The goal is to create a link between what you
are about to learn and what you already know.
• For example, if you are reading a book about
insects you can activate your prior knowledge
and think about the insects you know about.
• Before reading anything, flip through the text
to look for any pictures or graphics.
• Use these to activate your prior knowledge
like discussed earlier.
• The pictures can play an important role in the
text so this strategy will come in handy.
• Keep these pictures in mind for later when
you start to read.
Analyze Text Features
• With non-fiction text, the text features are
• Look for headers, changes in text size or
color, bold, italics, or underlining to help pick
out important information.
• Text features point out important information
that the author is trying to portray.
BOLD ITALICS UNDERLINE
• Before reading, make predictions about the
• Read the title of the passage and ask yourself
what you think might happen in the text.
• For example, you can make predictions about
history non-fiction text or science non-fiction
text to see what you already know.
• This will be something you can refer back to at
the end of the lesson.
Identify the Purpose
• Before you start to read, it is helpful to
identify the purpose for reading.
• With non-fiction text, many times the purpose
will be to inform.
• It is also important to identify any bias that
might be present before you read.
• Use this information to guide your reading.
• It is crucial for students to use reading
comprehension strategies during reading.
• These strategies guide the students as they
read and make sure they understand the text.
• This is an important step for the students
metacognitively. They will need to actively
think about what they are doing as they read.
Create Mental Pictures
• As you read the text, picture what the author is
• If there are pictures, use these to guide your
• Create images of what is happening or what
might happen next.
• For example, if you are reading about
World War II pictures the conditions as
they are described in the text.
• As you are reading, make connections from
what the author is talking about to what you
• Make sure to adjust your understandings as
• Do not let your prior knowledge interfere with
what you are learning but do make
connections where you can.
Mark the Text
• If you are able, mark the text as you read.
• Highlight, underline, or write in the margins
important details as you read.
• Use post-it notes if you are using a book that
you cannot mark in.
• These small notes will help you keep track of
what you are reading and will you to
remember important details.
Use Graphic Organizers
• As you read, mark down information on a
• There are many different graphic organizers
out there that can reflect different
• For example, graphic organizers can be used
to write down important cause and effect
relationships as well as compare and contrast
Put it in Your Own Words
• After reading a section of the text, put what
the author is saying into your own words.
• By doing so you are clarifying your information
and making sure that your are comprehending
as you go.
• If you cannot put it into your own words
effectively, go back and reread the passage
making sure to note key details.
• The strategies that are used after reading the
text are just as important as the strategies
that are used before and during reading.
• These strategies “help students integrate
information from text with their own core
knowledge” (Bursuck, 2011).
• These strategies reinforce what was learned
and make sure effective learning has taken
• Once you finish the text, reflect on what you
• Ask yourself questions such as:
– Did I understand what I just read?
– Do I need more information?
– What confused me?
• Questions such as these can be very helpful to
• After reading the passage once, a helpful
strategy is to go back and read the text again.
• Before you do so, write down some questions
you might have had when reading the first
• Think about your reflection and use that as a
guide for reading the second time.
Summarize the Text
• After reading, summarize the text as a whole.
• Make sure you are able to identify the key
details and put them into your own words.
• Think about the facts and be able to
summarize the important ones.
• By putting the text into your own words at the
end, you are guiding your comprehension and
creating a solid foundation for knowledge that
can be used later on.
Ask Questions/Clarify Misconceptions
• Once you’ve finished reading, ask yourself
questions about what you read.
• Some questions can include:
– What was the main point of the text?
– How did that align with what I already knew?
– What did I learn?
• This is also a great time to clarify
misconceptions that were identified during
the ‘before’ stage of reading.
Present the Information
• A great way to increase comprehension after reading a
piece of text is to present the information.
• This does not have to be elaborate.
• Grab a friend or peer and present the information you
• If you can clearly explain to someone else what you
have learned you have a good grasp on the material.
• If the other person has questions at the end that you
cannot answer, go back to the text and read it with
those questions in mind.
Using Reading Comprehension Strategies
• Reading comprehension strategies are crucial
for increasing understanding for struggling
• Reading is a process and this is the reason
there are certain strategies that are used
before, during, and after.
• Students will gain more from the text if they
are able to employ these strategies.
Bursuck, W., & Damer, M. (2011). Teaching reading to students who are at
risk or have disabilities: A multi-tier approach (2nd ed.). Upper
Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Coe, G., & Fitzpatrick, A. (n.d.). Reading Strategies for the Social Studies
Keene, E., & Zimmermann, S. (2007). Mosaic of thought: The power of
comprehension strategy instruction (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH:
Nonfiction Reading Strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2015.
Oczuks, L. (2011). Literacy Survival Tips for New Teachers! International
Question-Answer Relationship (QAR). (2013, March 19). Retrieved April 11,