Reading Comprehension Strategies

In his article, “Using Young-Adult Literature to Enhance Comprehension in the Content Areas”, Bean has many suggestions for literature classes.  Some strategies we may just discuss in class, others you may incorporate into our literature circles, and still others you may try out in your classrooms and report on your experiences. They are as follows:

  • Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)- is found to have a positive impact on fluency and attitude toward reading.  Research has also indicated that “students who were engaged in frequent SSR earned higher grades and were more likely to read for pleasure outside the classroom” (6).
  • Reading Aloud to Students- Some of the benefits considered are that it can “enrich content learning in many subject fields” … and it can have a “soothing effect on students” (6).  Also as an introduction to reading aloud the teacher can offer opportunities for students to make predictions.  I personally found this to be equally as therapeutic for me when I was teaching.
  • Use of a Simple Taxonomy to Guide Discussion- Three levels of comprehension are used to determine the location of information.  “Right on the Page”- means just that—it can be found “right on the page”.  “Think and Search” means that you must infer the answer.  “On your Own” relies on past experience and therefore has no right answer (7).
  • ReQuest- This stands for Reciprocal Questioning.  It is designed for struggling readers and helps them to interact with the text at the “think and search” and “on your own” levels (11).
  • Body Biographies- explores a character in a novel through a multimedia project (13).
  • Dinner Party- a role playing activity.  Students act out a character in the novel answering questions in role (14).

For more complete descriptions of the activities above see the full article.

Bean, Thomas W. Using Young-Adult Literature to Enhance Comprehension in the Content Areas. Las Vegas: Learning Point, 2003.


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