Deepening Understanding with Comprehension Strategies Before, During, and After Reading


For my students, I work hard to build motivation and interest in the topic we're reading about. Whether the book I'm using is fiction or nonfiction, there is typically a related theme.  I love using cooperative groups and discussion to get my students talking about the topic as several heads are better than one since each child has different experiences.  

Give One, Get One

As a before and after reading activity, one activity I like to use is Give One, Get One.  You can list descriptors in each box, and students get with each other to exchange the information.  It might be used to get answers to comprehension questions after reading too. The sample page I gave you is for use with The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.  This activity could also be used for Grandparents Day if you have that at your school.  The strategy works like this.  Each student is given the page, and when time has begun, students locate a friend to sign his/her form and provide the information in the block.  Once they've exchanged ideas, the students move on to another friend.  This continues until all of the information is gathered sort of like a scavenger hunt.  When time is called, the whole group discusses what was learned.

Inside/Outside Circles

Another fun brainstorming idea is called Inside/Outside Circles.  This allows two related topics to be explored such as camping and fishing or soccer and football.  The organizer has a smaller circle inside a larger circle with a topic placed in each. The goal is to fill the space with related words. Students can work in pairs or groups to brainstorm related vocabulary.  No words are incorrect if the student explains how the word is related.

Word Splash

A Word Splash is similar to Inside/Outside Circles, but focuses on one topic. It is used before, during and after reading, and they're great for supporting related writing assignments after reading like a word bank for post reading responses.  For example, you might choose the topic of frogs prior to reading Froggy Goes to School. Students can build schema about frogs.  They might include words like sticky tongue, slimy, amphibian, pond, and lily pad.  Again, you can then use them post reading for writing extension. 

Guided Reading Resources

Comprehension Learning Mats If you like these activities, I do have several comprehension related products available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store you might check out.  The first are the comprehension workmats I have uploaded for during and after reading. They can be printed, laminated and bound for use with small groups or in partners or used individually as a graphic organizer.

Skill Based Anchor Charts


This bundle includes 18 anchor charts you can use for modeling reading skills on your Smartboard or print for small group lessons. These work very well with interactive notebooks. 


Guided Reading Binder

One of the most beneficial resources I've created to use with small groups is my guided reading binder. I set it up by skill to make it easy for the teachers in my building. They can quickly pull their guided reading books and the page or two that they want to use with the book. As new resources are found or created, they're added to the binder to keep learning fresh and fun. The resource to the right is the PDF version, but I also have a digital version too that can be used for skill modeling on the Smartboard or with one-to-one devices using Google Slides TM. You can check that out HERE.
What strategies do you enjoy? Share your ideas in the comments.

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