We’re continuing our summer book study of the book Strategies That Work! I have learned so much about reading comprehension and have some great new ideas and strategies to implement in my class. Today we’re discussing chapter 6 which is all about monitoring comprehension using our inner conversation!

strategies that work

Monitoring Comprehension: Key Takeaways

monitoring comprehension

These are my key takeaways from the chapter! I’ll discuss some of these in detail in this post and on Facebook! Remember to participate in the discussions so we can learn from one another!

Reading Is A Social Act

This point in chapter 6 is a huge one for me and something that we get asked about quite often. When I am facilitating PD or presenting to a district about reading in our classroom I always get this question: “I didn’t notice your kids raising their hands…why?” It’s true. When we’re discussing a book or story we don’t generally have to raise our hands. (Now I know some of ya’ll just broke out in hives over the thought of a total breakdown in control…it’s ok….keep reading!).

My thinking in this for years has been that a discussion about books is a conversation. That’s what I want for my students. I want our book discussions to be a conversations and not just a question and answer situation. I mean, as adults, we don’t raise our hands and wait our turn when discussing books, so why would we force our kids to discuss books that way?

Reading Is A Social Act-How It Works

If you’re going to have conversations about books in your classroom, you treat it just like everything-TEACH AND MODEL. Teach the procedures, expectations and then model and practice. We learn over time to know when someone is done talking and we can jump in. This is FAR from perfect and requires near constant facilitation on my part. And that’s ok. Here are the guidelines we follow:

  1. One person talks at a time. When one person finishes someone else may talk.
  2. Listen and look. (You can’t listen if you aren’t looking at who’s sharing!)
  3. It’s ok to disagree but we do it nicely.

Promote Active Literacy

Reading should be an engaging, active process. When students are interacting with the text, they will comprehend more. In our class, we have really focused on improving active reading as a means to build our comprehension. This is accomplished using our Read It Up! creations. And we have seen a noticeable improvement in students comprehension skills with the active reading lessons in Read It Up!

Here are a few simple ways to bring more active reading into your lessons:

  1. Write and draw. After reading a book or even a few select pages of a book, have students write and draw their response to the story. We accomplish this in Read It UP using graphic organizers and student work. After reading, we share our whole group thoughts on a graphic organizer and then students write and draw their thoughts.
monitoring comprehension
monitoring comprehension

2. Turn And Talk.

After reading a story or select pages, allow students to turn and talk to discuss the book. They can even turn and talk before writing and drawing. This helps them focus their ideas. My big take away from this is providing students specific turn and talk prompts. This gets kids talking about a certain aspect of the story. Using these specific prompts allows us to guide students thinking. Listening to their turn and talk discussions also gives us insight into any confusion our students might have. Then we can address those confusions!


What?! Reading is active literacy? Shocker. Simply read a book to your class. No modeling or thinking aloud. Just read. Then let kids write or draw their response to the book. Or share their thoughts or reactions which is their inner conversation. And that inner conversation is monitoring comprehension.

Informational Text: Monitoring Comprehension

When reading informational text, a good teacher stops frequently and allows students to record their thinking. In our class, this is done with our research projects. We use graphic organizers to jot down our thinking AS WE READ. We no longer read the entire book and then record what we learned. As we read a page or pages, we record what we learned. Students then use the graphic organizers to write in their research journals.

monitoring comprehension

For more details on our research projects, check out this post:

For more details on our Read It Up creations, check out this post:

Check out our Read It Up Creations: (NOTE: We offer a Buy 1 Get 1 for 50% off deal in our TKS Store for our Read It Up resources!)

Make sure to visit Abby at Kindergarten Chaos for her thoughts on monitoring comprehension with our inner conversation!

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