Teaching Students to Think about Text

Just the other day, when Clarissa was giving a reading assessment to one of her students, the importance of thinking while reading was validated to her once again. To measure the student’s accuracy and fluency, she asked him to read a passage aloud. When he completed the reading, she asked him to retell the story. At that point, he squirmed and muttered under his breath, while almost shrinking into his seat. It was obvious to her that he had no recollection of what he had read.


Often, we forget that our students do not naturally “think” about the text while reading. For most students, this is not a skill that they have acquired. It is not uncommon for a student, like the one mentioned above, to fluently read text, yet have little to no comprehension. Since thinking while reading is not innately done by all students, we have to explicitly teach this skill to them. In other words, we must teach the skills we use as adult readers when comprehending new or difficult text.

High-quality instruction requires teachers to follow direct instruction with modeling. The modeling should include reading text aloud to students and stopping to share their thinking by questioning, visualizing, and connecting. This modeling will assist students as they further develop this skill. Students will ultimately be able to better comprehend text and form connections with their already existing knowledge.

We have developed a template to guide students as they practice questioning, visualizing, and connecting (QVC) while reading. We remind our students to “tune in to the QVC channel because comprehension is the students remember to stop and “think” about their reading.

The template can be used in guided practice with the teacher or independently by students. It is truly amazing to see the connections students begin to make to text and how this development increases comprehension.


Q+V+C Template
This template helps students ask questions, visualize, and make connections while reading. Try it while reading Life on the Ice (Cube), this month’s Feature Story!

Life on the Ice (Cube) Literacy Set
Everything you need to help students think about text – a pdf of this article, the QVC template, and the print book and electronic book versions of Life on the Ice (Cube) at K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 reading levels.


This article was written by Tracey Allen and Clarissa Reeson. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Tracey or Clarissa at beyondpenguins@msteacher.org.

Copyright April 2010 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under anĀ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

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