Researchers have identified six essential reading strategies for developing comprehension abilities. Each of these strategies is integral to comprehension, and together they represent the active mindset children must assume in order to become effective learners as well as readers.
q Making Connections: This strategy engage students in thinking about whether any of their experiences and knowledge --self, text, or world-- can be applied to what they are reading to help them better comprehend. A key phrase that prompts this strategy is "This reminds me of . . ."
q Questioning Strategy: This strategy involves children becoming self-questioners, as opposed to others providing comprehension questions for them to answer. Self-questioning is an attribute of independent learners, in contrast to children who read only to answer questions from a worksheet or listed by a textbook author. As a result, some children may become overly dependent on the teacher or a worksheet exercise for relevant questions that can be asked about a specific text. The questioning reading strategy emphasizes that children need to be taught how to pose good questions themselves rather than how to find answers to questions posed by others.
q Visualizing Strategy: This strategy refers to the mind's capacity to imagine what is being suggested by the words on a page. As proficient readers follow along in a story, they can just "see" what is happening, almost as if they were running a video in their mind's-eye.
q Inferring Strategy: To make an inference, a reader must combine a number of pieces of information from a text. They must "read between the lines" and think about what may be only suggested or hinted at in a selection.
q Determining Importance: The strategy of determining importance helps a reader make decisions as to what parts of a text deserve the most attention. Not all information presented by an author is of equal importance.
q Synthesizing: The strategy of synthesizing is perhaps the culmination of the other five essential comprehension strategies Synthesizing draws upon making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring and determining importance. This strategy allows a reader to step back from a text, and make a generalization, create an interpretation, draw a conclusion, develop an explanation.