Strong readers are able to visualize what they read. Creating mental imagery while reading helps students understand, remember, and take away meaning from the text. Assess comprehension with a quick visualization exercise. First, have students draw a picture that appeared in their mind while reading. Next, have students describe their drawing using one to three sentences. You can do this exercise on blank paper, or download this free visualizing worksheet.
Graphic organizers are another quick way to assess comprehension. You can use graphic organizers to focus on one aspect of the text. For example, you can have students complete a graphic organizer to assess understanding of the main idea, compare/contrast, problem/solution, fact/opinion, inference, point of view, etc. Click the link below to download 20 editable, printable, and digital graphic organizers that you can use to assess comprehension of fiction and nonfiction text.
20 Editable, Printable, & Digital Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers
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Have students demonstrate understanding by retelling or describing the text in their own words. Use the beginning, middle, and end framework to help students remain concise and on the right track. This can also be done orally if you are able to work one-on-one with students.
Assess reading comprehension using a sequence of events timeline or plot diagram. Both will let you know if students have a solid grasp of the text. If you want students to demonstrate understanding with a timeline of events, set the number of events ahead of time. Five to seven events should be enough to assess understanding. Limiting the number of events will provide students with structure and cut down on the assessment time. Click here to download a free printable and digital timeline template.
Predicting requires the reader to use information from the text to anticipate what will happen next. To make a relevant prediction, students must have a strong understanding of the text. You can use prediction writing prompts with quickwrites, bellringers, exit tickets, or journal entries. These types of assignments work well without taking a lot of time. Click the button below to download the FREE Making Predictions worksheet.
If you find that your students are struggling with comprehension, click here to see nine reading comprehension strategies you can use with all levels of learners.