25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area


reading-strategies-graphic25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area

Reading is reading. By understanding that letters make sounds, we can blend those sounds together to make whole sounds that symbolize meaning we can all exchange with one another.

Without getting too Platonic about it all, reading doesn’t change simply because you’re reading a text from another content area. Only sometimes it does.

Science content can often by full of jargon, research citations, and odd text features.

Social Studies content can be an interesting mix of itemized information, and traditional paragraphs/imagery.

Literature? Well, that depends on if you mean the flexible form of poetry, the enduring structure of a novel, or emerging digital literature that combines multiple modalities to tell a story. (Inanimate Alice, for example.)

This all makes reading strategies somewhat content area specific. Stopping (maybe the most undervalued strategy ever) and Rereading might make more sense in science, while Visualization and Text Connections may make more sense reading literary works. Questioning the Text may make equal sense in both.

But if you’d like to start with a basic set of strategies, you could do worse than the elegant graphic above from wiki-teacher.com. (Useful site, by the way. Check it out.) It lists 12 basic reading comprehension strategies.

For related reading, see 50 of the best reading comprehension appsdifferent ways your school can promote literacy, or how reading in the 21st century is different.

25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area

1. Reread

2. Activate Prior Knowledge

3. Use Context Clues

4. Infer

5. Think Aloud

6. Summarize

7. Locate Key Words

8. Make Predictions

9. Use Word Attack Strategies

10. Visualize

11. Use Graphic Organizers

12. Evaluate Understanding

To the above list, we’d add:

13. Question the Text

14. Stop!

15. Monitor & Repair Understanding (While Reading)

16. Paraphrase

17. Annotate the Text

18. Adjust Reading Rate

19. Prioritize Information

20. Use Graphic Notetaking

21. Predict

22. Set a Reader Purpose

23. Text-connections (text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world)

24. Skim

25. SSQ (Stop, Summarize, Question)

We’ll gather these and put them in a Before Reading, During Reading, and After Reading matrix soon. Only because we like you.

25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area


  • Miss Elaine Kao

    Thanks for sharing! This will come in handy for myself and for my future students :)

  • Claudia

    Great tool!

  • Laurel A Gilmore

    Love this! Clean graphics.

  • Rachel

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Antonio Carlos Viegas Silva

    Thanks ! Love this.

  • http://www.standardsco.com John R. Walkup

    What is meant by “use graphic organizers”? Are teachers filling out the graphic organizers for the students so that students will understand the structure of the passage beforehand, or are the students filling out the graphic organizers?

    • terryheick

      Generally the latter. Graphic Organizers can help frame the complexities of a text–narrative structure, supporting details, thematic development, etc.

      Teachers can fill out though as a kind of review. Model how it’s done, or to simply summarize a text before moving on without asking students to do the same. Good question.

  • Emily

    Reading with a partner helps, especially in a World Language Class.

  • Mrs. Literacy

    Great Image! Can I use this to create a comprehension activity for TpT? I will give you credit on the credits page. Thanks!