Applying the Cloze Procedure to Reading Passages

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  • 0:04 What is the Cloze Strategy?
  • 1:24 Create Effective Cloze…
  • 3:01 The Cloze Cycle
  • 4:26 Wy Use Cloze Reading Passages?
  • 5:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Many strategies exist to help children master reading, among them is the cloze method. This strategy of deleting words from within a passage is seemingly straightforward and simple. This lesson will explore how to best use this strategy in the classroom in order to enhance reading instruction.

What is the Cloze Strategy?

The word cloze is a shortened form of closure, and was first introduced to the academic field in 1953. The procedure of reading a cloze passage is simple; a reading passage is provided with words intentionally deleted. For example: The farmer uses a (blank) to prepare the fields for planting. The student uses knowledge, experiences, and cues from surrounding text to fill in the blanks. The proper use of the cloze procedure requires the teacher to be selective when deleting words depending on the intent. It also requires the reader to use varying strategies that have been previously taught. Students using cloze need to consider things such as knowledge and the understanding of words, phonics cues, vocabulary, prediction, inferring and logic. Using cloze passages can increase a student's understanding of language structure, ability to understand and apply context cues, vocabulary, and subject fluency.

Many teachers use the cloze method successfully in their classrooms. However, without specific intention, the cloze procedure may not be effective. Cloze is not meant to be a simple fill in the blank exercise but a purposeful technique for practicing and putting to use previously taught reading skills.

Create Effective Cloze Passages

To create an effective cloze passage, you must first:

1) Determine the purpose.

Deletions can fall into several categories depending on the purpose of the exercise. A teacher may be teaching content (such as geography), or text structure (including nouns, verbs). Teachers could also be teaching students on predicting and inferring (or what would make sense). The intention of the lesson depends on the words being deleted. However, many cloze passages are a combination of all three, particularly in more advanced student work.


2) Select an appropriate text.

Two main thoughts should be present when selecting text for use for cloze passages. The text should be meaningful and interesting to the students. And the passage needs to be at an independent reading level. If the text is too difficult or too simple, the exercise won't be useful. The length of the text is also dependent on the ability level of the child, shorter passages for younger students or English Language Learners and longer for more proficient ones.

Third, be sure to:

3) Chose the correct number of words to delete.

When determining the number of words to omit from a passage it is important for a teacher to consider the students and purpose of the particular cloze exercise. There is no standard or set number of words to delete, but a general guideline to be used is determined by reading level. For beginning readers, delete one word for every 8-10; developing readers, delete one word for every 10-15; and emergent readers, delete one word for every 15-20.

The Cloze Cycle

When teaching students how to determine the appropriate word in cloze reading passages, let them know there is a predictable structure or cycle to be followed: guess, defend, compare, discuss.

First students guess the correct word. Some cloze passages offer a few choices, perhaps in parentheses or multiple choice formats, while others do not. When a choice is made, the student next defends or explains the choice. Doing this makes the readers' thinking visible as well as holds accountability for the choice. The reader should compare the choices, when multiple choice is given, to make sure the selected word sounds best. Finally, the student and teacher discuss to see if opinions differ.

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