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Synthesizing Reading Comprehension Strategy: Ideas and Activities

Definition: What is the Synthesizing Reading Strategy?

Synthesizing is when the reader takes their initial understanding of a topic and has it evolve throughout the text. The reader gains new insight and a new understanding after reading. Students might say something like, “Now, I understand that…” or “I’m beginning to think that…” Students are merging their old ideas with new ideas. When students synthesize, the information becomes internalized.

Anticipatory Set

Synthesizing 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.

Synthesizing is taking what you know about a topic and molding it into something new after learning or reading more about a topic. Put some playdough into a ball and ask students what they know about a topic before reading. As you learn more about the topic while reading, mold the playdough into a new shape! Have enough playdough for all? Hand out a little to each student. As they read, have them form the playdough into a new shape and have them explain to each other what they started out knowing and what they know now!

Teacher Tip: For synthesizing, it is easiest to have books where students learn a lesson, such as fables. Students start to learn what the lesson is throughout the book. They gain a new understanding and then internalize the moral. Another possibility is to pick a picture book with a science or history lesson. Students can state what they know at the beginning, and then again at the end. I like to put post-it notes along the way that are clues for the students!

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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 synthesizing is students point to their heads, then put their hands together to form a book and act like they are reading, and finally act like there is a “light bulb moment.” This shows that reading takes what they knew and gives them new ideas!

Book Recommendations for Synthesizing

The best picture books to use with synthesizing should have a lesson that students learn, or a theme. Some examples are:

-Just a Dream By Chris Van Allsburg  https://amzn.to/2NyCnj3

-Stone Soup  By Ann Mcgovern  https://amzn.to/2Oa5wOn

-Stellaluna By Janell Cannon https://amzn.to/2oYKtTU

-Tight Times By Barbara Shook Hazen https://amzn.to/2CPgqYR

-Wednesdayโ€™s Surprise By Eve Bunting      https://amzn.to/2x7Mh0B

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

Synthesizing Lessons

Students need to have multiple opportunities to access Synthesizing 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 and foldables. 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 Synthesizing

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!

Intervention for Reading Strategies

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 synthesizing, we pull a Synthesizing 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 Comment

  • ๐Ÿ™‚ Excellent Article, Excellent Blog , Excellent Site โœ…โœ…โœ…

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