This post looks at the six strategies that are used most commonly in classrooms today. Direct instruction to support comprehension development includes what is referred to as the ‘super six’.




1. Making Connections – a process of shared thinking, includes sequencing, problem-solving, relating background knowledge Teachers provide explicit instruction to teach students to draw on their prior knowledge, or schema, as a strategy to help them comprehend a text.

Students are taught to:

  • make personal connections from the text with something in their own life (text-to-self)
  • make connections with another text (text-to-text)
  • make connections with something in the known world (text-to-world)
2. Predicting and inferring – includes comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions Students are taught to draw on their prior knowledge to make inferences and draw conclusions.
  • use clues such as graphics, text and experiences to anticipate or predict the content of the text and to predict ‘what may happen next’
  • list 5 to 10 words that might be in the text
3.  Questioning – includes self-questioning Learners are taught to ask questions of the author, about the text and about their own predictions, questions and understanding of the text.
  • pose and answer questions that clarify meaning and promote deeper understanding of the text
4. Monitoring – sequencing, checking for understanding Learners are taught to think about their own thinking: What do I understand? What am I unsure about?
  • briefly explain or retell the story so far, for eg reread to check for meaning, read ahead to check predictions, review what they have read, discuss ideas in pairs/small groups
5.  Visualising – includes forming mental images Learners are taught to develop this skill when the teacher shares their own visual imagery or mental pictures invoked by the text.  This is a great way to draw on personal experiences.
  • visualise a scene or image
6.  Summarising – includes identifying key ideas, facts and relevant details Students learn to identify the key ideas or information contained in the text.
  • Restate main ideas – for eg ‘Write 3 sentences that summarise the story.’
  • Ask to list 3 to 5 facts contained in the story and 3 to 5 facts the students has inferred from the story.
  • Use graphic organisers/storymaps, maps, charts, webs, graphs as helpful pictorial tools.

Comprehension skills build over time and can be developed when students are engaged in discussion, questioning, retelling or recalling, summarising and identifying key points and points of interest.


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Our programs ~ Literacy for Boys and Literacy for Kids ~ have had a huge uptake with schools and homeschoolers this year.  It reflects  two things:

a) the need for quality reading material that engages students 

b) a decline in reading skills nationwide

We are incredibly passionate about improving kids’ literacy – research consistently supports the fact that confident readers achieve more highly than disengaged learners. 

If we can get our children to enjoy reading they will grow into a reader, and that reader has more doors open to them in this world.

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Check out our blogs for more ideas and tips.

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