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reading comprehension strategies steps to literacy

Building a Classroom Library with Reading Comprehension Strategies

Mastering reading comprehension strategies is essential for students to become active and purposeful readers. The pedagogy staff at Steps to Literacy works with hundreds of publishers to build successful Reading Comprehension Collections by grade, and are sharing some of their strategies for building their custom collections. Reading thousands of books each year, the pedagogy are able to create the perfect mix in their collections. They consist of new favorites, beloved classics, familiar illustrators and award-winning books, making this the key to providing range and balance for your readers. The strategies below are in order of teaching methodology.

Check out the carefully curated Reading Comprehension Collections - by grade - from Steps to Literacy

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension Strategies and Collections by Age

Activating & Connecting to Background Knowledge

All new knowledge must pass through the lens of the previous experiences in order for meaningful connections to be made.Students can build upon their prior knowledge by making three different connections.

Text-to-Self: Create webs of connections between personal experiences and the themes, subjects, and ideas from a text.

Text-to-Text: Compare and contrast subjects and themes between multiple texts.

Text-to-World: Take concepts from the text and connect them to the outside world by relating to past, present, and future experiences.


Formulating questions about a text requires a student's curiosity and comprehension. Questioning and searching a text for answers develops an engaging and interactive way to obtain a deeper understanding of new information. Creating an atmosphere of ongoing dialogue and questioning encourages students to analyze and critique the texts they encounter.


Readers create mental images with imagined sensory perception during and after they engage with a text. From vivid, descriptive passages to wordless adventures, students can assign certain pictures, emotions, or ideas to stories they read.


Many thoughts in a text are implicit, not explicit, and it is up to the reader to read between the lines to ascertain the author's implied meanings. Scaffolding students in finding visual and context clues, thinking outside the text, and looking back on prior knowledge will facilitate students' abilities to infer the meaning of new words or ideas.

Summarizing & Synthesizing:

Although summarizing and synthesizing are two different strategies, they go hand in hand in processing information after engaging with a text. Summarizing is the process of concisely restating the main ideas of a text in one's own words. Synthesizing requires students to build upon their background knowledge by connecting newly obtained information to what they already know in order to deepen one's understanding of a text.

Determining Importance in Text:

Students are bombarded with information from hundreds of sources each day and they must decipher whether the information is relevant, interesting, or important. Many texts, specifically nonfiction, can be difficult to decode with multiple descriptive paragraphs on a page. Finding the essential information in a text that pertains to understanding a subject, versus information that is supplementary to the subject, is a crucial strategy in having students transition from trade books to textbooks.

Check out Reading Comprehension Collections - by grade - from Steps to Literacy.