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3 Comprehension Strategies We are Loving Right Now

It’s no secret that the last few months of the school year we focus heavily on comprehension strategies. So, today I want to share the three comprehension strategies that my class is loving right now!


3 Comprehension Strategies that are highly effective in an Elementary classroom: 

  • Non-text activities
  • Sentence stems
  • Comprehension focus questions

Non-Text Activities

I know you are feeling the pressure to focus on students independently reading and answering comprehension questions based on their text. But don’t be afraid to throw in some non-text activities also.

Non-text activities are an excellent way to shake things up while also helping student focus back in on the skill with a book in front of them.

My favorite non-text activity that I seriously use all year long is Pixar videos. They are so great for just about any comprehension skill AND the kids absolutely love them!!! It’s such a refreshing change from our typical read alouds and super effective.

I ask the same questions and use the same language for comprehension for a Pixar video as a I do for a traditional text!

Where can you find them? Simply search “Pixar short films” on YouTube!


Sentence Stems

I know this seems too easy and even a little bit silly, BUT I strongly believe that consistently using the same sentence stems for whole group, small group and independent/buddy reading is one of the keys to locking in reading comprehension!

This strategy is super simple. I create a list of sentence stems for each of my essential comprehension strategies (problem/solution, inferences, retell, etc.). I use the same sentence stems EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. that I review that skill.

The reason this strategy is successful is simple… common language.

Students are so familiar with the language that I’m using, they can focus on the skill itself.

Comprehension Focus Question

Okay guys, this one is my favorite. It’s the same concept as using consistent sentence stems. A comprehension focus question is ONE question that is your “theme” for every comprehension question you are going to ask your students about the text.

For example, your comprehension focus question might be “How did the character respond to the events in the story?”. Your goal might be for students to understand how a character changes in the book or discover their underlying motives. You ONLY ask questions that relate to how a character responds to events in the story. You don’t ask about the setting. You don’t ask about author’s purpose. You only focus on the character in relation to the plot/problem solution, etc.

This strategy is successful because you are helping students FOCUS on one skill and deepen their understanding of that skill rather than just skimming the surface of several skills.

Love these ideas but want to simplify it?

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Three comprehension strategies for the elementary classroom that are highly effective.

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!