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Activating Prior Knowledge
Previewing and Using Text Structure
Setting a Purpose for Reading
Adjusting the Rate of Reading
Predicting Ideas and Events
Using Imagery
Using Cueing Systems Effectively
Employ Vocabulary Techniques
Connect Text to Experience
Monitor Comprehension
Check for Understanding
Teaching Reading Strategies
More Reading Strategies
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Monitor Comprehension

Curriculum Strategies for Reading

Strategies for Helping Readers

Monitor Comprehension

On-going awareness of the quality of the processing of text. It is the continual realization that a text is or is not making sense. Coupled with monitoring comprehension is the employment of "fix-up" strategies to address a comprehension obstacle.

Watch a Video About This Strategy

Video Link

Suzanne Clewell

"For monitoring comprehension one of the best ways is to get a paragraph or a piece of text that's not too long and put dots at different points in the paragraph. As students come to those dots they then tell exactly what’s going on in their head, what they're thinking. They may be making prediction. They may be asking a question."

"They may be even thinking about something that’s confusing or something that needs some clarification. For a lot of students that dot procedure really seems to be the cognitive cop on their shoulder and to let them know that they need to pay attention to what they’re thinking as they're reading."

"Many middle school readers like to just read and they can read the words but they never stop to think that what they're thinking about is important. Yet we know that without comprehension we’re not really reading."

When Can It Be Used?

During and after reading.

What You Can Do to Support This Strategy:

Learn about monitoring comprehension by using altered texts.

Help students monitor their own comprehension by giving them the vocabulary to discuss what is happening to them as they read. Find out how.

Discover some strategies that can help students when their reading comprehension slips. You can also use this student checklist to remind students of ways they can get back on track.

Assess use of this strategy by observing whether students show signs of understanding or lack of understanding while they read, such as; an emotional reaction, a look of puzzlement, stopping to reread or accessing graphic support.

Find Out More

Navigating Meaning: Using Think-Alouds to Help Readers Monitor Comprehension, Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Improving Comprehension with Think-Aloud Strategies by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. Copyright 2001 by Jeffery D. Wilhem talks about eliciting student responses through think-alouds.

Monitoring Comprehension: Teaching Comprehension Strategies to Students is an in-depth presentation by master teacher Caryn Lewis, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.


Next Strategy: Checking for understanding



U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program