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Monitoring Comprehension Reading Strategy: Ideas and Activities

Definition: What is the Monitoring Comprehension Reading Strategy?

Monitoring Comprehension is when the reader realizes that they are not understanding what is happening in the text and they know what to do to correct it. They are taught “fix up” strategies that include rereading, looking at illustrations, pausing and thinking, reading ahead, defining unknown words, asking questions, visualizing, etc. Students become aware of their understanding and know what to do when they are struggling with the comprehension of a text.

Anticipatory Set

Monitoring Comprehension Reading Strategy Engagement

When you are teaching reading strategies, it is worth your time to put a little extra effort into these lessons. When students have strong reading strategies, they are more likely to access the rest of the curriculum during your year together.

Not understanding what you’re reading? STOP! Grab your toolbelt or toolbox and use a “Fix Up” strategy! We love grabbing some tools as a visual for our students. Students are taught many strategies for monitoring their comprehension such as to stop and reread, look at visuals, read ahead or adjust their rate of reading. Each tool represents something the student can do to “fix” their reading comprehension! Students love coming up at stop points in the text, grabbing a tool and offering advice on how they could “fix” the problem if someone is not understanding the text at that point!

Teacher Tip: For monitoring comprehension, choose a book that has a lot going on instead of just a simple plot. Look ahead and place post-its in the book where you think some students might get lost or think it’s confusing. Ask “If I didn’t understand why ___ happened, what could I do?” A student might come up, grab a hammer, and share with the class, “If I didn’t understand why ___ happened, I could look at the illustrations or go back and reread.” Get your students to restate the solutions to comprehension issues that might come up.

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Monitoring Comprehension Freebie

Gestures (TPR- Total Physical Response)

Something that I have ALWAYS used in my classroom is TPR, or Total Physical Response. This is a movement or gesture that the students use to remember a concept. This helps those kinesthetic learners, not to mention, it’s just FUN! The gesture that I use for monitoring comprehension is giving a confused look, pointing to their head like a lightbulb moment and reaching into their toolbelt and pulling out a tool for the answer.

Book Recommendations for Monitoring Comprehension

Human Body Theater By Maris Wicks

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker By Robbie Robinson

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh By Sally M. Walker

Time for Kids Explorers: Robots

Want more book recommendations for reading strategies? We have a list HERE for all of the reading strategies!

Monitoring Comprehension Lessons

Monitoring Comprehension Reading Strategy Lessons

Students need to have multiple opportunities to access Monitoring Comprehension if you want the strategy to stick and become part of their reading process. Never think of reading strategies as, “Okay, I taught it, now I’m moving on.” Instead, do mini lessons throughout the year to reinforce the strategy! We love running copies of activities and putting them in a drawer. When there is an extra ten minutes or I need something quick to do, I go to the drawer, pull out the activity and grab a book! I use these ALL YEAR LONG!

Students start by filling in the notes page. We love having students glue them into their notebooks, so they can reference them all year long. Students fill in the blanks and practice the strategy with a read aloud and a book of their own. We also provide sentence frames that students use throughout the year. Other activities we use are art activities, exit tickets, foldables and show what you know pages. Having all of these activities ready to pass out and use with students is a life-saver! They also make for amazing centers!

Want to try these lessons in your class? We have a bundle available on Teachers Pay Teachers! CLICK HERE for the link! (We also have ALL of the Reading Strategies available in a bundle to save you money! If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE!)

Independent Practice for Monitoring Comprehension

After we have taught the reading strategy using the lessons mentioned above, we like to have students work on a Reading Strategy Brochure that reviews the strategy. In the brochure, students get notes, practice and application. The brochures are the perfect follow up activity to have students master the strategy!

Reading Strategies Brochures

Intervention for Reading Strategies

Reading Strategy Groups

Through the lessons, it becomes very clear which students are understanding the strategies. For the students that are struggling, we use Reading Strategy Groups. We have an entire blog post on this! If you haven’t read it, YOU MUST! Click HERE! Once we see around 4-6 students that need help with Monitoring Comprehension, we pull a Monitoring Comprehension Strategy Group!

Guided Reading Groups for Reading Strategies

Another way to improve Reading Strategies is to use Guided Reading Groups! Pull groups of students at the same reading level and have them complete guided reading sessions that focus on the strategies! This is yet another way to train students to be good readers! We usually hold these groups after all of the strategies have been taught.

Want to grab our Guided Reading Bundle that focuses on Reading Strategies? We have 7 passages at 3 different levels with questions that focus on reading strategies! CLICK HERE! We also have a Guided Reading Toolkit that gives you all the tools you need to successfully implement Guided Reading Groups in your classroom!

Take Reading Strategies to the NEXT LEVEL!

Are you looking to take Reading Strategies to the next level? You NEED to try Book Clubs! We have a Book Club Bundle that FOCUSES on Reading Strategies! Your students will love getting a job that connects to each reading strategy! This is the perfect way to get your students to apply what they have learned during your unit. You will love the ease of this Book Club resource. Each page walks students through exactly what they need to do! Prep once and watch your class rock reading strategies!

Let’s Wrap It All Up!

As you can see, we value reading strategies in our classrooms. If students have a hard time understanding their reading, they (and you) will be pulling your hair out all year! We start with an anticipatory set to build engagement, move to lessons, practice using MANY different resources, hold strategy groups, hold guided reading groups and then have students apply reading strategies to book clubs. When students have a strong foundation, they understand the material and enjoy reading!

Teaching Reading Strategies Materials
Reading Strategy Resources


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  • One of the most important concepts to teach! I think this would be great to use as reinforcement during independent work time 🙂

  • This bundle looks so complete with so many ideas. But I really like the brochures, seems like an easy way for students to have the info all in one place.


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