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5 Reading Comprehension Strategies

So, you’ve made your way through the majority of your scope and sequence.  You’ve got the digraphs, the diphthongs, and the vowel teams down.  Your students are even beginning to read fluently – acting like real readers!  When students finally arrive at this place in their reading journey, it’s a beautiful and exciting thing.  Also residing at this place is the ability to comprehend what we read, and this can be a daunting task.  Comprehension is so important because it’s the reason why we learn to read in the first place: for information and entertainment!  If your students are struggling in their comprehension (or you’re simply looking for more ideas), you’ve come to the right place.  Here are five reading comprehension strategies and ideas you can do with your students!

Reading Comprehension Strategies and Ideas

If you’re looking to get students to apply reading comprehension strategies, it helps to first have texts that can be used for comprehension. Before you dive into these reading comprehension strategies, I recommend you grab and prep your classroom with Phonics Focused Review Passages.  These reading comprehension passages are sure to be a staple in your classroom because of their versatility.  These passages are great to review phonics patterns and help students decode words in context.  After students work their way through these passages, they’re met with comprehension questions at the end.  Sometimes when students are met with a longer passage, they can easily become frustrated before they even begin.  Well, not with these passages!  One of the best aspects of these reading passages is that they are short, which means students won’t be intimidated by their size.  This means that students go into them with confidence while focusing on reading comprehension.  

These review passages have everything from short vowels to r-controlled vowels to diphthongs to silent letters – and everything in between based upon your grade level and student needs!  If you’re looking to differentiate, grab the Phonics Focused Review Passages bundle to make it easy for you to meet your students where they are.  And no worries if you’re still on the fence about these passages-, try them for free right here and see what all the fuss is about! If you’re looking to learn more about these passages, check out my blog post that can give you all the details.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Allow students to read questions before reading a text.  Sometimes we are so ready to dive into a passage that we forget to focus on pre-reading skills.  Giving students a chance to go over the comprehension questions before reading a text is important.  Encourage the students to use highlighters to highlight the most important part of the questions so that students can be on the lookout for those parts while reading the text.  And really, this is just best practice.  Take book walks, for example.  When we chat about a book to younger students, we look at the cover, illustrations, take a look at the inside, and see what it’s about.  It’s just the same as looking at the questions before the text – we are simply taking a “walk” through the passage!

When students read these questions before a text, it tells them what purpose they are reading for.  It gives students direction and a clear vision of the text they’re about to encounter.  While they’re reading, they will be more readily able to determine the answers to the questions so they can…

…highlight important portions of a text.  Students can use highlighters, highlighter tape, and sticky notes while they read to take note of important parts within a text, find answers to previously-highlighted questions, and search for textual evidence.  Allow students to use these tools in whatever way they can. For example, a student may choose to use a sticky note to signal an answer to a comprehension question by numbering the note to the matching question.  Or rather, students can choose to use their highlighter to mark a word they feel is important to understanding the text.

These two reading comprehension strategies can easily be incorporated into your routine, especially when using these Phonics Focused Review Passages!

Focus on Reading Comprehension Strategies

reading comprehension worksheets

All of these reading comprehension strategies are not only great ways to focus on reading comprehension, but also make good writers out of students as well.  Dissecting a text and pulling it apart to comprehend it helps when students go to write (or answer questions) about what they’re reading.  When they’ve searched for the answers to the questions as well as textual evidence, they’re ready to respond to what they’ve read.

Offer different ways to focus on comprehension.  Practicing comprehension can look like a lot more than just answering a few questions at the end of a passage.  Comprehension can come in the form of verbal discussions.  This can look like reading a passage during whole group (or small group) and discussing key points.  These are so much fun because they encourage the entire class discussions and can also help students practice what it feels like to be a part of a larger discussion.  On a smaller scale, partner discussion is particularly beneficial because it’s personal and students can feel free to share detailed information about a text when they’re one-on-one.  

Comprehension practice can also come under the guise of graphic organizers.  These are particularly helpful for students who are organized, visual learners. If students seem disenchanted with answering questions at the end of the text, simply put them into a graphic organizer and – poof! – they become unintimidating.  Written response questions are great for students who love writing and giving detailed responses.  On the other hand, multiple choice questions for comprehension are perfect for those who may need extra support or who don’t have the necessary writing skills.

And, of course, we as teachers can always lean on the age-old chart paper and fun markers.  The combination of these two things is as old as time, and for good reason!  Students love filling in large chart paper with fun colors, and one of the best aspects of these is that after you’ve written a text summary or answers to comprehension questions, it can be easily taped anywhere in the room!

Use a variety of texts while practicing comprehension.  This is so important, teacher friends.  Not only will this allow for students to be introduced to different genres and authentic texts, but it will also give all students a chance to practice comprehension with a text that they enjoy or that’s at their level.  We also want to give students the opportunity to practice these skills with different genres, as they will be reading from a plethora of different ones throughout their educational journey. 

Comprehension is such a huge focus for elementary students. By incorporating a combination of these reading comprehension strategies into your routine, you’ll notice readers starting to have improved comprehension! 

Free Passages with Comprehension Questions

If you’re interested in exactly how to use a variety of genres in your classroom, we’ve got a blog post for that! In the post, you’ll find the importance of why we should introduce different genres, as well as some examples you can use for reading comprehension skills.

Also, in case you missed it above…I’ve also got a few set of these Phonics Focused Review Passages for you to try out. They’ll give you a chance to use some of the reading comprehension strategies with your students! Grab the free Phonics Focused Review Passages for Kindergarten-5th Grade

Comprehension doesn’t need to be filled with just answering questions.  With my Phonics Focused Review Passages and these fun reading comprehension strategies and ideas and activities, you’ll be loving that sweet spot students find themselves in when they’ve reached the fluency and comprehension stage of their reading journey!

Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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