Comprehension Strategies
Comprehension Strategies

1. Create Mental Images

Good readers create a wide range of visual, auditory, and other sensory images as they read, and they become emotionally involved with what they read.  “I get a picture in my head.”  “It’s like a movie in my head.”


2. Use Background Knowledge
Good readers use their relevant prior knowledge before, during and after reading to enhance their understanding of what they’re reading.  “This reminds me of…”  “I can make a connection to something that happened to myself or something I read in another book or saw on TV.”


3. Ask Questions
Good readers generate questions before, during and after reading to clarify meaning, make predictions, and focus their attention on what’s important.  “I wonder.”  “What does this mean?”


4. Make Inferences
Good readers use their prior knowledge and information from what they read to make predictions, seek answers to questions, draw conclusions, and create interpretations that deepen their understanding of the text.  “I predict that…”  “I think that this will happen…”


5. Determine the Most Important Ideas or Themes
Good readers identify key ideas or themes as they read, and they can distinguish between important and unimportant information.  “This is really important to the story.”  “This has nothing to do with it.” 


6. Synthesize Information
Good readers track their thinking as it evolves during reading, to get the overall meaning.  “Yes this makes sense now.”    “I get it.”


7. Use “Fix-Up” Strategies

Good readers are aware of when they understand and when they don’t.  If they have trouble understanding specific words, phrases, or longer passages, they use a wide range of problem-solving strategies including skipping ahead, rereading, asking questions, using a dictionary, reading the passage aloud, and asking for help. 


If your child understands that it’s great to visualize, make connections to his/her life, ask questions during reading, predict what’s going to happen, and to have an ongoing dialogue with the author, then he/she will be well on his/her way to understanding that…  the point of reading is to gain meaning.


Hutchins, Chryse and Susan Zimmerman.  7 Keys to Comprehension.  New York, New York:  Three Rivers Press, 2003.