Best Practices in Reading




Anticipation Guide

Activating thinking about a particular topic by presenting issues or vocabulary prior to reading the text (e.g., Word Categorization, Agree/Disagree, Opinionnaire).

Provides a focus for reading and encourages students to be actively involved with the text by anticipating issues the student will encounter.

Chunking the Text

Breaking the text apart into smaller, manageable units of sense (words, sentences, paragraphs, whole text) by numbering, by separating phrases, by drawing boxes, and so on.

Provides a strategy for understanding difficult or challenging texts by reducing the intimidation factor of long words, sentences, or whole texts.

Close Reading

Reading passages from text, word for word, sentence by sentence, line by line.

Helps students develop a deeper understanding of a text by requiring multiple readings of the text.

Dialectical Journal

Creating opportunities for students to interact with the text via a two-column journal (passage on the left; student responses on the right) in specified ways (e.g., questioning the text, forming personal responses, interpreting the text, reflecting on the process of making meaning from the text).

Creates opportunities to write about literature in thought-provoking ways and to actively involve students in making sense of their reading.

Graphic Organizer

Representing information visually.

Helps students transform information from one form to another and facilitate increased comprehension and discussion.

Guided Reading

Setting a purpose for reading a text by directing students to ask questions, make predictions, make personal connections, draw conclusions, make comparisons, and make judgments (oral or written) as they read a text.

Helps students be actively involved in reading and making sense of the text.

Interactive Reading Guide

Writing about assigned reading in various forms such as quickwrites, letters, and/or personal thoughts in a journal or reading log.

Provides a way for students to connect informally with and respond to texts.

KWL Chart

Charting a discussion with an organizer that allows students to activate prior knowledge by asking "what I know," sets a purpose by asking "what I want to know," and reflects on new knowledge by asking "what I learned."

Helps students organize, access, and reflect on learning, which increases

Marking the Text

Highlighting, underlining, and/or annotating text for specific components, such as main idea, imagery, literary devices, and so on.

Helps students focus the reading for specific purposes, helps students understand the author's craft and organize information from selections, and encourages students to reexamine a text.


Making guesses or thinking ahead about what information will be presented next, based on evidence in the text.

Helps the reader be actively involved, interested, and mentally prepared to understand ideas.


Giving students background information they will need to better comprehend what they are about to read.

Helps students activate and extend prior knowledge; increases engagement and comprehension.

Questioning the Text

Requiring students to develop their own literal, interpretive, and universal questions about the text as they read.

Helps students engage more actively with texts, read with greater purpose and focus, and ultimately answer questions and lead their own discussions.


Writing for a short, specific amount of time about a designated topic related to a text.

Activates background knowledge, clarifies issues, facilitates making connections, and allows for reflection.

Read Aloud

Having student and/or teacher read text aloud for the whole class or small groups.

Provides students with an opportunity to hear multiple voices reading a text and assists students in becoming actively involved in making sense from their reading.

Skimming/ Scanning

Facilitating the rapid or superficial reading of a text in order to form an overall impression or to obtain a general understanding of reading material (skimming); focusing on key words, phrases, or specific details and providing a speedy recognition of information (scanning).

Helps students quickly form an overall impression prior to an in-depth study of a text; helps students to answer specific questions or quickly locate specific information or detail in a text.


Analyzing text using a process that identifies Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, and Tone.

Helps students use analytical process to understand the author's craft.

Summarizing/ Paraphrasing/ Retelling

Restating by students in their own words the main idea or essential information expressed in a text, whether it be dialogue, narration, or nonfiction.

Helps students comprehend and recall text.

Think Aloud

Engaging in a form of metacognition in which the student and/or teacher talks through a difficult passage or task, saying how they made sense of it.

Allows students to reflect on how readers make meaning of challenging texts.


Analyzing a poetic text by using a process that identifies and discusses Title, Paraphrase, Connotation/Denotation, Attitude, Shift, Theme, and Title.

Helps students use analytical process to understand the author's craft.


Picturing by students (mentally and/or by drawing) what they read as they encounter text.

Helps to increase reading comprehension and promote active engagement with text.

Activate Prior Knowledge

Providing an opportunity for students to think about what they already know about a concept, place, person, culture, etc., and share their knowledge with a wider audience.

Prepares students to encounter new concepts, places, persons, cultures, etc., prior to reading a text.


Responding to and analyzing text by brainstorming various roles (e.g., themselves, characters from other texts), audiences (e.g., letter, brochure, essay, travel guide), and topics. Students then choose one particular role, audience, format, and topic in order to create a new text.

Initiates responses and analysis of a text in order to gain focus prior to creating a new text