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Strategies for Reading

Reading is an important way to learn information. Whether or not you are trying to help a younger child learn to read or if you are trying to improve your own reading skills, it is important to take a multi-tiered approach to reading. This will allow you to improve reading skills on several levels at the same time and to be sure that the basic ideas and concepts are being understood.

Making Connections

  • When students make connections with the reading they should be able to apply what they learned to something else in the text, something happening in their lives or something happening in the world around them.
  • One good question to ask is: “What does this remind you of?”
  • Kindergarten students will focus mainly on their lives, whereas high school students should be able to make broader connections.
  • Class discussions can help make the connections clearer for people who are struggling to understand a topic.


  • When students use the questioning strategy they can use it to review information, make predictions or to make sure that they understand the text.
  • It is important that students regularly stop and assess whether or not they understand what they are reading. Asking questions about what they are learning can help them do this.
  • Students can ask questions before they start reading and then answer them as they read. This is particularly helpful when reading nonfiction work.
  • Class discussion on key events can help students learn which questions they should be asking. A teacher can model good questions and encourage students to ask questions about the text as well.


  • Visualizing is a great technique that can help bring the information students are learning to life. This strategy can be applied to both fiction and nonfiction reading. It can be particularly helpful when it comes to concepts that involve time or space.
  • Have the students draw pictures of short stories or poetry. Explain that this needs to be what comes to mind when they are listening to the story.
  • Class discussion about how people may visualize things differently will help students understand that people can have different interpretations of meaning.


  • Inferring is done when the reader makes connections or guesses about things that are not directly stated. Making predictions, or looking for meaning in texts can do this. Generally this is not done until the reader is a bit older.
  • Kindergarten students practice inferring information from a text by pausing halfway through and making a prediction at the end.
  • Older students will make inferences by looking for deeper meaning in the text.
  • Inferring is one of the best reading strategies to use in a classroom discussion. Literary theories often work using this strategy.
  • Information on inferring for older readers.

Determining Importance

  • Determining importance helps students determine which material is the most essential to learn and understand. This strategy is best taught with nonfiction material.
  • Teach students to look for bolded words and headings in a textbook. This will help them as they study for tests and read textbooks on their own.
  • In elementary school talking about how to look for this information and reading a few texts as a class is an excellent way to model this strategy


  • Synthesizing information is one of the deepest reading strategies. It occurs when students take the information that they have learned and begin to connect it to other information they have learned. This changes the way they think about the world in general.
  • Teaching synthesizing can be difficult, it is best done through classroom discussion. Asking questions that challenge the students’ viewpoints is one way to have the students begin synthesizing information.
  • Writing a research paper is another excellent way to demonstrate synthesizing. This paper should go deeper than simply reporting back information, but should address how that new information should be applied to the text or to the project.
  • Synthesizing strategies for high school students.
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