School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 1.0 General Reading Processes

Topic E. General Reading Comprehension

Indicator 3. Use strategies to make meaning from text (during reading)


To show proficiency of the skills stated in this indicator, during the reading of a literary or informational text, a reader will develop an understanding of the key elements in that text. Some of these elements are stated directly in the text while others are not. Identification and explanation of these elements rely upon strategic reading and serve as a basis for a general understanding of the text. In turn, a general understanding of the text is the beginning of interpretive and critical analysis of the text.

As students read a text, they should reread any parts of that text that were difficult for them to understand. Rereading helps a reader clarify a text. It is helpful if a reader sets a purpose for rereading and while rereading, thinks about the connection of the reread part to the entire text.

After rereading a difficult part of a text, a method to build understanding is to restate that part of the text in a student's own words. Once a student has thought about the reread section of text, he/she may restate it orally to the teacher, a student partner, or write it in a reading journal.

As a student builds understanding of a text through rereading and restating, he/she should continue reading the text while periodically returning to the previously identified difficult sections to make connections between those sections and the proceeding text. This practice should help a student more firmly grasp an understanding of complex parts of the text and integrate them within the scope of the entire text.

Whether or not a student has difficulty with text comprehension, that student should look back or skim the previously read text to develop connections about ideas, information, narrative elements, etc…to create an understanding of the whole text. Younger students should be directed and monitored by the teacher to create connections within a text. More advanced students should be taught how to read for connections and then prompted to revisit text before moving on.

Just as a student makes predictions based upon a preview of text prior to reading, that same method works equally well as a student reads. When students make predictions about text as they read, they move through the text while learning if their predictions were right or wrong, or simply that the text neither confirmed nor refuted their ideas. During reading, predictions must always be based upon previously read text. If a student prediction proves correct, it is useful for the student to determine what element of text evidence was most helpful in making a correct prediction.

When a student reads and frequently forms a summary of the information or story, etc…this practice assists with understanding. Summarizing is essential when reading informational text. A reader can better comprehend informational text if he/she can restate the important ideas in simpler language. To comprehend literary text, summarizing by isolating the most important story elements allows a reader to focus on the most essential parts of the text. During reading, pausing to summarize equips the student to continue reading with a better understanding.

When comprehending informational text, paraphrasing a text is an important skill. A reader can better understand the essential information if he/she can restate those ideas in simpler language. Paraphrasing a literary text allows a reader to take a story, play, poem, etc… and tell it in his/her own words. The ability to paraphrase correctly reveals understanding.

When comprehending informational text, visualizing of a text is a necessary skill. Readers can better comprehend the important information in a text if they can create a mental picture in their minds. When readers can see a picture of that information in their minds, those readers are visualizing. Visualizing becomes a vital tool of a reader and can help a reader "see" and remember what has been read.

Visualizing a literary text allows readers to take any text and make mental pictures throughout the story, poem, or play. For example, when a reader can make a mental picture of the details of a setting, plot, or character, that reader is visualizing. Visualizing while reading a literary text makes that work become real and engages a reader.

As a student reads and takes notes either in a traditional manner, on a graphic organizer, or in a literary or informational response journal, etc…that student is employing rereading, paraphrasing, summarizing skills, etc…before note taking begins. When a student pauses to review those notes, he/she will have a "hard copy" of his/her thoughts during reading. Returning to review the notes allows a revision of thoughts. Information or details that had seemed important initially may, farther into the text, become non-essential. An organization pattern for a text may emerge. Tracking the development of a character may appear more clearly. Helping students to view note taking as a resource rather than simply a demand can be developed through modeling and monitoring.

Finally, connecting with a text as one reads is an integral part of comprehension. Connecting with text occurs when a reader can identify something in a text that relates to him/her. Readers also use their beliefs and background knowledge as sources of connections. This type of interaction with a text is thought provoking and allows a reader to think beyond an initial understanding of a text.