Comprehension Connection Header Image-literacy resources and tips for classroom teachers
comprehension connection
literacy ideas for elementary teachers
about me
freebie icon
shop comprehension connection
contact comprehension connection

Quick and Easy Comprehension Strategies for Before, During, and After

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. When students use comprehension strategies throughout their reading, you know you're a successful reading teacher. In this post, we'll explore strategies and guided reading ideas that work well for all levels.

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. When students use comprehension strategies throughout their reading, you know you’re a successful reading teacher. 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. Each child has different experiences and therefore, a different schema for the text. In this post, we’ll explore strategies and guided reading ideas that work well.

Comprehension Strategies that Build Schema

Give One, Get One

The first strategy I’d like to share is Give One, Get One. It is used before reading or after reading. 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 give you is for use with The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.

This activity is used before reading and as a get to know you activity.  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 (one per person).  Once they’ve exchanged ideas or signed the form, 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.

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. When students use comprehension strategies throughout their reading, you know you're a successful reading teacher. In this post, we'll explore strategies and guided reading ideas that work well for all levels.

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

The next strategy in my list is a 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 camping prior to reading Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping. Students can build schema about what it’s like to go camping.  They might include words like tent, campfire, s’mores, hiking, sleeping bag, and hotdogs.  Again, you can then use them post reading for writing extension.

Comprehension Strategies Board for Guided Reading

Resources that build comprehension strategies

Comprehension Graphic Organizers for Small Group Instruction

If you like the activities I shared, I do have several comprehension related products available in my store you might check out.

The first resource is a collection of comprehension graphic organizers that focus on many comprehension strategies. These are for during and after reading. They can be printed, laminated and bound for use with small groups or in partners, used electronically on Google Slides TM, or used individually as a graphic organizer.

Skill Based Anchor Charts for Modeling

The next resource I love using are my reading anchor charts. This set includes 17 anchor charts you can use for modeling comprehension strategies on your Smartboard or print for small group lessons. These work very well with interactive notebooks.

Guided Reading Binder for Grades 2-5

Another resource I’d like to share is my Guided Reading Binder. It was the most beneficial resource for comprehension strategies my team’s used. I set up my guided reading binder and placed it in our reading room. It helped my teachers speed up planning for small group instruction because teachers could just grab their books and the pages needed. Since it was organized by skill and by difficulty, it was easy to use.

As new resources were created, they were added to the binder to keep learning fresh and fun. The resource above is in digital for Google Slides TM and in pdf, but if you only want one or the other, you can buy just the pdf version or just the digital version.

Comprehension Checks for Guided Reading Groups

The last resource I thought I’d share is geared more to the primary grades. For instance, they are designed with more space and a little less content. If you’re wanting your guided reading groups to be skill focused, these skill checks might come in handy. Using these helps your students think more deeply, and they keep the focus on the reading skills you’re teaching. Plus, they provide accountability if you want to use them in your work stations. To learn more, you can view the previews. Click them image to visit my shop.

Get the Download

If you’d like to have a copy of the strategies I shared at the beginning of this post, I’m happy to share them. Simply subscribe below to get the file. Plus, you’ll gain access to my resource library.

What strategies do you enjoy? Share your ideas in the comments.


Carla with Comprehension Connection
Comprehension Connection Photo

Hello and Welcome to the Comprehension Connection Blog!

I’m Carla, the author of Comprehension Connection. I’m a recently retired Literacy Coach and TPT author. I’m a Wife to a great guy, Mom to two grown children and two fur babies. I’m a Virginia Blogger, a Travel Lover, a Coffee Drinker, and a Gal who loves All Things Techie.


Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors




Vocabulary Task Cards