AFTER Reading Strategies

  • The following strategies are useful to apply AFTER reading a text in the high school classroom.

    Opportunities to Discuss/Write

    What is it?

    Students can discuss or write responses as a class or small groups.

    How it Works

    The teacher asks the following questions (FOR FICTION) and students respond.

    1. What was the most interesting or memorable part of this story to you?  Why did you find that part especially interesting?
    2. What is this story really all about?
    3. What part of the story can you visualize most clearly?  What part is most vivid to you?
    4. What did you notice about how the author told the story?
    5. What interesting words or phrases from the story do you want to discuss?

    The teacher asks the following questions (For NON-FICTION) and students respond.

    1. Which of our questions did we answer?
    2. What questions have we not answered and what new questions have we raised?
    3. What else did we learn that we didn’t talk about or didn’t have questions about?
    4. What was the most surprising or interesting thing you learned from reading?
    5. What was the most important thing we learned today?
    6. What do we know now that we didn’t know before?

    Writing Prompts for Responding to Narrative Texts


    Why do you think subject verb when …


    What is this story really about?


    Which scene did you find especially vivid? Describe what you imagined…

    Writer's Craft

    What are some interesting words or techniques used by the author to describe the character and settings?


    Did your thoughts and feelings about _____ change from the beginning to the end of the story? How? Why?


    Was it all right for ______ to… Why or why not?


    Does this story remind you of any other story? In what ways are the similar? Different?


    Tell of a similar situation in which someone…


    ______ is described as ______.  How else would you describe ______?

    Borrowed from The Comprehension Experience, by Dorsey Hammond and Denise Nessel, 2011

    Make Connections

    What is it?

    Connections at this point create rich opportunities for response.  Good readers draw on prior knowledge and experience to help them understand what they are reading and are thus able to use that knowledge to make connections. By teaching students how to connect to text they are able to better understand what they are reading (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000). Accessing prior knowledge and experiences is a good starting place when teaching strategies because every student has experiences, knowledge, opinions, and emotions that they can draw upon.

    • Have you ever…

    How it Works

    There are THREE ways to connect to a text:

    • Text-to-self
    • Text-to-world
    • Text-to-text

    Teachers should spend time modeling for students how to make meaningful connections. The easiest connection to teach is text-to-self. Teachers should model text-to-self connections initially with selections that are relatively close to the student's personal experiences. A key phrase that prompts text-to-self connections is, "this reminds me of...."

    Next, teachers should model how to make text-to-text connections. Sometimes when we read, we are reminded of other texts we have read. Encourage students to consider the variety of texts they have experienced which will help them understand the new selection.

    Finally, teachers should model how to make text-to-world connections. When teachers suspect that students may lack the ability to make meaningful connections, classroom instruction will be necessary to bridge the gap between reading experiences and author assumptions. Building the necessary background knowledge is a crucial means for providing text-to-world support and may be used to pre-empt reading failure. Harvey and Goudvis (2000) caution that merely making connections is not sufficient. Students may make tangential connections that can distract them from the text. Throughout instruction, students need to be challenged to analyze how their connections are contributing to their understanding of the text. Text connections should lead to text comprehension.

    Some question examples for each connection:


    • What does this remind me of in my life?
    • What is this similar to in my life?
    • How is this different from my life?
    • Has something like this ever happened to me?
    • How does this relate to my life?
    • What were my feelings when I read this?


    • What does this remind me of in another book I’ve read?
    • How is this text similar to other things I’ve read?
    • How is this different from other books I’ve read?
    • Have I read about something like this before?


    • What does this remind me of in the real world?
    • How is this text similar to things that happen in the real world?
    • How is this different from things that happen in the real world?
    • How did that part relate to the world around me?