Metacognition can be defined as
"thinking about thinking." Good readers
use metacognitive strategies to think
about and have control over their
reading. Before reading, they might
clarify their purpose for reading and
preview the text. During reading, they
might monitor their understanding,
adjusting their reading speed to fit the
difficulty of the text and "fixing" any
comprehension problems they have. After
reading, they check their understanding
of what they read.
Students may use several comprehension
Identify where the difficulty
"I don't understand the second
paragraph on page 76."
Identify what the difficulty is:
"I don't get what the author means
when she says, 'Arriving in America
was a milestone in my grandmother's
Restate the difficult sentence or
passage in their own words:
"Oh, so the author means that coming
to America was a very important
event in her grandmother's life."
Look back through the text:
"The author talked about Mr. McBride
in Chapter 2, but I don't remember
much about him. Maybe if I reread
that chapter, I can figure out why
he's acting this way now."
Look forward in the text for
information that might help them to
resolve the difficulty:
"The text says, 'The groundwater may
form a stream or pond or create a
wetland. People can also bring
groundwater to the surface.' Hmm, I
don't understand how people can do
that… Oh, the next section is called
'Wells.' I'll read this section to
see if it tells how they do it."
Graphic and semantic organizers
Graphic organizers illustrate concepts
and relationships between concepts in a
text or using diagrams. Graphic
organizers are known by different names,
such as maps, webs, graphs, charts,
frames, or clusters.
Regardless of the label, graphic
organizers can help readers focus on
concepts and how they are related to
other concepts. Graphic organizers help
students read and understand textbooks
and picture books.
Graphic organizers can:
Help students focus on text
structure "differences between
fiction and nonfiction" as they read
Provide students with tools they can
use to examine and show
relationships in a text
Help students write well-organized
summaries of a text
are some examples of graphic organizers:
Venn-Diagrams (29K PDF)*
Used to compare or contrast
information from two sources. For
example, comparing two Dr. Seuss
Storyboard/Chain of Events (29K
Used to order or sequence events
within a text. For example, listing
the steps for brushing your teeth.
Story Map (19K PDF)*
Used to chart the story structure.
These can be organized into fiction
and nonfiction text structures. For
example, defining characters,
setting, events, problem, resolution
in a fiction story; however in a
nonfiction story, main idea and
details would be identified.
Cause/Effect (13K PDF)*
Used to illustrate the cause and
effects told within a text. For
example, staying in the sun too long
may lead to a painful sunburn.
Click here for more free graphic
Questions can be effective because they:
Give students a purpose for reading
Focus students' attention on what
they are to learn
Help students to think actively as
Encourage students to monitor their
Help students to review content and
relate what they have learned to
what they already know
Question-Answer Relationship strategy (QAR)
encourages students to learn how to
answer questions better. Students are
asked to indicate whether the
information they used to answer
questions about the text was textually
explicit information (information that
was directly stated in the text),
textually implicit information
(information that was implied in the
text), or information entirely from the
student's own background knowledge.
There are four different types of
Questions found right in the text
that ask students to find the one
right answer located in one place as
a word or a sentence in the passage.
Example: Who is Frog's friend?
"Think and Search"
Questions based on the recall of
facts that can be found directly in
the text. Answers are typically
found in more than one place, thus
requiring students to "think" and
"search" through the passage to find
Example: Why was Frog sad? Answer:
His friend was leaving.
"Author and You"
Questions require students to use
what they already know, with what
they have learned from reading the
text. Student's must understand the
text and relate it to their prior
knowledge before answering the
Example: How do think Frog felt when
he found Toad? Answer: I think that
Frog felt happy because he had not
seen Toad in a long time. I feel
happy when I get to see my friend
who lives far away.
"On Your Own"
Questions are answered based on a
students prior knowledge and
experiences. Reading the text may
not be helpful to them when
answering this type of question.
Example: How would you feel if your
best friend moved away? Answer: I
would feel very sad if my best
friend moved away because I would
generating questions, students become
aware of whether they can answer the
questions and if they understand what
they are reading. Students learn to ask
themselves questions that require them
to combine information from different
segments of text. For example, students
can be taught to ask main idea questions
that relate to important information in
Recognizing story structure
story structure instruction, students
learn to identify the categories of
content (characters, setting, events,
problem, resolution). Often, students
learn to recognize story structure
through the use of story maps.
Instruction in story structure improves
Summarizing requires students to
determine what is important in what they
are reading and to put it into their own
words. Instruction in summarizing helps
Identify or generate main ideas
Connect the main or central ideas
Eliminate unnecessary information
Remember what they read
7. Read a
Variety of Genres
Broaden children's background knowledge by encouraging them to read newspapers, magazines,
internet, and different genres of books.
Bingo is very motivating to students to
get them to read different genres of books.)
8. Anticipate and predict
Really smart readers try to anticipate the author and predict future
ideas and questions. If you're right, this reinforces your
understanding. If you're wrong, you make adjustments quicker.
9. Pay attention to supporting cues
Study pictures, graphs and headings. Read the first and last
paragraph in a chapter, or the first sentence in each section.
10. Highlight, summarize and review
Just reading a book once is not enough. To develop a deeper
understanding, you have to highlight, summarize, and review important
11. Build a good vocabulary
For most educated people, this is a lifetime project. The best way
to improve your vocabulary is to use a dictionary regularly. You
might carry around a pocket dictionary and use it to look up new
words. Or, you can keep a list of words to look up at the end of the
day. Concentrate on roots, prefixes and endings. When it comes to
reading, don't allow your children to skip
over unknown words. Predict what they words
might mean while reading, and then look them
up to find the meaning.
12. Visualize the text.
Create pictures in your head of vocabulary and description
from the story.