Comprehension Monitoring Strategies

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  • 0:00 Self-Monitoring
  • 0:52 Pausing
  • 1:54 Self-Questioning
  • 2:49 Self-Diagnosis
  • 3:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

There's much more to reading than simply sounding out words. Novice readers must also learn how to self-monitor for comprehension. Today's lesson takes a look at how the use of pausing, self-questioning, and self-diagnosis can help them in this process.


When I was a kid, the words monitoring and classroom usually went together to mean someone watching to make sure none of us were giggling with friends, passing notes, or taking a peek at someone else's answers. Today, educational monitoring means way more than this. With a much more positive spin, it now usually denotes checking for learning. This is especially true when discussing reading comprehension and how young students can be taught to monitor their own progress. Rather than a teacher doing all the checking and measuring for understanding, today's schools see students charged with the job of self-evaluation. Keeping this paradigm shift in mind, today's lesson will explore some strategies beginning readers can use to monitor their own reading comprehension.


Our first strategy for helping beginning readers learn to monitor their own comprehension is to teach the value of pausing while reading. Many times, young readers steam roll along sounding out word after word, yet failing to grasp the meaning behind the words. To help them halt this habit, novice readers should be encouraged to occasionally pause at natural text breaks. Rather than running ahead to the finish line, encourage your beginning reader to take a break at the end of a paragraph or section.

Of course, getting young readers to slow down can be a difficult task. To help encourage pausing, some text publishers actually place stop signs in their beginner readers' texts. Teachers also get in on the game by requiring young readers to actually keep track of their pauses. Some creative ways to do this are to give each student a mini-stop sign and instruct them to raise it up each time they pause or to have students actually give the time out sign each time they pause.


Of course, pausing for pausing's sake isn't quite enough. Reading pauses must be productive. While paused, young readers should be taught to ask themselves questions about what they just read. Two very common queries often taught to new readers are, 'Can I paraphrase what I just read?' or 'Can I share the main points of what I just read?' The strategy of self-questioning is so useful in reading comprehension that many teachers choose to post questions like these all over their rooms or reading corners. Others choose to have their students keep reading logs in which these questions are answered each time a text is read. Rather than depending on a teacher to measure their comprehension, these self-questioning strategies teach self-direction and self-monitoring in the comprehension process. This brings us to our next strategy, self-diagnosis.

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