Interventions for Comprehension – Reflection: Readers use their prior knowledge to help them determine the importance of, reflect on

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Interventions for Comprehension – Reflection:

Readers use their prior knowledge to help them determine the importance of, reflect on, and evaluate what they read. The reflection question on every DRA2 is essentially an exercise in determining importance. When evaluating a student’s ability to reflect on significant events and/or messages, consider whether the student identified a significant event or message and whether he or she gave a relevant reason for his or her opinion.

Skill- Comprehension: Reflection

Intervention – Determining Importance – gym bag

Source or adapted from - “Comprehension Connections” by Tanny McGregor


a purse or gym bag filled with various objects, some of which would be important for a workout at the gym (sweat band, MP3 player, watch), and others which would not (lipstick, camera, book)

2 column chart: important/ interesting
Instructions for administration:

  1. Explain to the students that when you are trying to determine what is most important, you must think about all parts of a situation (or a reading passage). Sometimes it’s helpful to think of what’s unimportant along with what is important.

  2. Show students the purse or gym bag and pull out the items one by one. Discuss each one and its purpose.
  3. Tell the students that you will be going to the gym to work out after school and you need their help to decide what is important to keep in the bag and what items are not important, but just interesting.

  4. As items are chosen to return to the bag to be used at the gym, be sure to have the students justify why that item is important and belongs in the bag.

  5. Tell students that when reading a passage or book, some information is very important to the story. Other elements of the story or book aren’t important, but may be interesting.

  6. Model this by rereading a short book the students are familiar with, such as “Goldilocks”. After reading, decide with the students which parts were important, and which were interesting. For instance, the fact that Goldilocks went into the house without asking is important (if she hadn’t, there wouldn’t be a story to tell). Likewise, the fact that she broke Baby Bear’s chair is also important. However, what the bears were eating (porridge) or what they were doing while they were gone (going for a walk while the porridge cooled) is not important. Add these items to your chart as you discuss them.

Skill- Comprehension: Reflection

Intervention – THIEVES

Source or adapted from - “Nonfiction Reading Power” by Adrienne Gear


overhead transparency of the THIEVES acronym

sample nonfiction text

Instructions for administration:

This strategy helps students preview nonfiction texts or textbooks in order to determine what is the most important information.

  1. Tell students that sometimes there is a lot of information on a page and not all of it is important. But there are certain places in texts that often have the most important information. If you know where to look it might help you when you’re trying to figure out which information is important.

  2. This strategy is called THIEVES: T-H-I-E-V-E-S. Think about what a thief does – he enters a home and steals things, right? But a thief doesn’t just enter a hallway and stand there, considering what to take first. Usually thieves know what it is they want to steal, and more importantly, where they’re going to look to find it. For instance, a thief would probably want to steal a nice TV set, so he knows to go look in the living room to find it.

  3. Each letter in the word THIEVES stands for a place in the text where good readers know to look for important information:

T – Title

H – Headings

I – Introduction

E – Every first sentence

V – Visuals

E – Ending

S – So what?

  1. Proceed through the acronym THIEVES and explain what each letter stands for. It can be helpful to have an overhead transparency of a page and use the strategy directly with a piece of text.

  2. The most important letter is the final letter – S: So what? So what do you think the most important ideas of this chapter (or article) are?

  3. Repeat this activity with other books or articles on the overhead, gradually encouraging students to independently apply all letters from the acronym. As they become comfortable, give students bookmarks with the THIEVES acronym and ask them to apply the strategy with occasional support from you.

Skill- Comprehension: Reflection

Intervention – Turning it into a question

Source or adapted from - “Nonfiction Reading Power” by Adrienne Gear


model piece of text on an overhead transparency

3 column chart: heading/ turn it into a question/ answer
Instructions for administration:

This simple, effective strategy takes no prep but works well to help guide readers into locating important key pieces of text. It takes the simple principle of turning each title and heading into a question and then reading to find the answer.

  1. Today I’m going to show you a quick strategy that can help you find the most important information in a text. As you know, information in nonfiction books is organized into sections with headings (point to headings on a transparency).

  2. We are going to use these headings to help us find the main points of this article. Copy the title onto the first column of the chart. For example: “A Mammal, Not A Fish”

  3. Model turning the heading into a question and record it in the second column. For example: What is a mammal? Why are they not fish?

  4. Continue in this manner with the rest of the headings. Have students help you turn the headings into questions.

  5. Teacher: Now I’m going to read this article to find the answers to these questions. I’ll use these questions to guide me to determining the important points of this article.

  6. Read aloud the section and model answering the question on the chart.

  7. Continue to read each section reminding students they are reading to answer the question.
  8. After modeling one or two examples, invite the students to participate to complete the chart.

  9. End the lesson: Using the headings to guide our reading is a way for us to find the important information in a text. Turning the headings into questions helps us focus on the important information rather than the details.

Skill- Comprehension: Reflection

Intervention – What is Important?

Source or adapted from - “Revisit, Reflect, Retell” by Linda Hoyt


“What is Important” form

Instructions for administration:

The importance of this organizer is not the form itself, but rather the thinking and the conversations it can generate. The goal is to help students understand that all events and characters are not of equal importance in a story. As they begin to evaluate comparative levels of importance, nuances of understanding begin to emerge. The important question at all levels is: “Why do you think so?”

  1. Read aloud a story to students.

  2. Have students reflect on key story elements and list the four believed to be the most critical.

  3. Rank the elements with #1 being the least important to the story (see form below).

  4. List words under each selected element which describe that element and/or provide justification for the ranking.

What is Important?

The book ___________________________________ Date ______________

The reader ____________________________________________________

Focus on: ___ characters ___ events

Least Important Moderately Important Most Important

1 2 3 4

Describing words to justify ranking:
___________ ___________ ___________ ___________
___________ ___________ ___________ ___________
___________ ___________ ___________ ___________
___________ ___________ ___________ ___________

Tell about your rankings:


Skill- Comprehension: Reflection

Intervention – Three Circle Map

Source or adapted from - “Revisit, Reflect, Retell” by Linda Hoyt


Three circle map (see below)

Instructions for administration:

  1. Model using the three circle map with a story that students are familiar with. Reread the story, paying special attention to the problem and solution.

  2. After reading, think aloud as you complete the three circle map. When drawing the events inside the three circles, model making a good choice about choosing an important event. Think out loud about an insignificant event and talk to the students about why you will NOT draw it, but why you will instead choose a more significant event.
  3. Ask students to participate in choosing the significant events you will draw. It is important to have students justify why they are suggesting the events and what makes them significant.

  4. Repeat this activity on subsequent days until students are able to confidently participate.

  5. Reread aloud another “old favorite” story the students have heard before.

  6. Give pairs of students their own copies of the three circle map to complete and provide support as needed. Ask students to justify why they chose some events and not others, and what makes these events significant.

Three Circle Map

Name of reader: ___________________________________________________

The story: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________

Problem: _________________________________________________________

Solution: _________________________________________________________

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