English Instructional Tip – Comprehension Strategies


Reading comprehension can be easily defined as understanding what is being read. While the definition seems to be simple, the process is no such thing. “Reading comprehension is an intentional, active, interactive process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a particular piece of writing.” (1)  Within the Eye Level program, Levels C through I and 5 through 8, students are challenged with the opportunity to deepen their comprehension skills. The following comprehension strategies can be utilized with their Key & Note as well as directly in their booklets.  

Make Predictions Before the student begins to read, ask them to look at the pictures and title of the text. Ask them what they think is going to happen or who the story is going to be about. While reading, they can revise the predictions or make new ones. Making predictions about a text could activate prior knowledge that will positively affect a student’s comprehension.

Underlining & Highlighting While answering comprehension questions, students should go back in the text and underline or highlight the answers. The students can also use this strategy to express words that were difficult for them to understand. Older students can use their Key & Note to write down those words and find them in the dictionary. After writing down the definition have them take another step forward by using it in a sentence.

Generate & Ask Questions Asking questions can help students clarify information and deepen their understanding of a text. Students must be taught how to ask themselves questions about what is happening within a reading. While reading, stop occasionally and have the student reflect and ask a question aloud relating to the text.

Discuss the Text Structure Students can comprehend a text when they understand the text structure. Some examples include descriptive writing, sequencing, compare and contrast, and cause and effect. During instruction time, discuss with the student the type of structure the story is. This will also help the student determine the main idea of the story.

Make Connections When reading a passage, students can connect to the reading in order to retain the information. When students connect reading to their own lives, they have a better change being able to recall the information in the future as well as make it more personal and memorable.

Visualize Not all students learn through audible range. With the different learning styles and abilities, many students benefit from visualizing what is taking place within a passage or story. Talk with the student about picturing what they read in their head or taking the time at home to draw different pieces of the reading.

Summarize the Story Once the student has read through a passage, have them summarize the main idea and details within the reading. Summarizing allows the students retell the story in their own words as well as discriminate between the main idea and details of the text. This also allows them to talk about the text and provide clarification of understanding.

1. What is Reading Comprehension? (2012). Retrieved from http://www.k12reader.com/what-is-reading-comprehension/