Read with Purpose-These Three Strategies Make the Difference

To better prepare youth for the complexities of 21st century literacy, teach students to read with purpose and engage with text by utilizing these three strategies: Retell, Summarize, Sketch.

While reading fiction or non-fiction, pause every few paragraphs and ask students to write a "RETELL" sentence (first, then, finally) and then share it with a partner.  This is a simple skill that is often mastered in the primary grades but it greatly improves comprehension. 

Before reading further, have students also write a SUMMARY sentence (who/what/when/where/why/how); this is a more complex skill that requires even further analysis of the text. 

Finally, after completing the Retell and Summary sentences, have students SKETCH a picture or symbol of the section as a visual (logograph) reminder of the information. I find it even more effective when students sometimes complete this task in pairs. 

Though any one of these three strategies used alone would improve comprehension, the three combined makes a differentiated and strategic tool that vastly improves accountability for learning and retention. Julie Adams, Adams Educational Consulting,