COMPREHENSION Ability to understand text, both literally and inferentially
• Literal meaning: Facts stated directly in the text
• Inferential meaning: Knowledge gained by pulling together the text and one’s own knowledge to grasp ideas not stated directly. For example, understanding a character’s personality traits from her actions in a story.
• Inference-making: Various theorists have constructed hierarchies of thinking skills that divide this broad category into specific types, such as predicting outcomes, making generalizations, analyzing relationships like cause and effect.
EVALUATION The highest levels of inference-making: analyzing the author’s point of view in a text, determining its theme or main idea, making generalizations about the tone or style of writing.
CHUNKING Pausing while reading long explanatory sentences to check understanding of each phrase or idea.
CONTEXT CLUES Indications of what an unfamiliar word means based on the topic and how it is used within a passage.
FLUENCY The ability to read words quickly and easily, regardless of whether a person understands their meaning.
METACOGNITION Thinking about thinking, or the ability to analyze one’s own thinking process and to develop strategies for improving weak areas.
PSR for Preview, Skim, Reread A technique to help increase comprehension. Previewing and skimming help readers get a sense of the whole picture, which deepens as they reread.
QAR for Question-Answer Relationship Examining questions that accompany a text to determine what knowledge is required to answer them. For example, a “right there” question requires stated, factual information. To practice, students often make up questions about what they’ve read and then classify those questions.
TIMED READINGS Short passages with comprehension questions that students must finish quickly, often in 5 minutes or less. Used to build fluency.