49 Anchor Charts That Nail Reading Comprehension
Reading is both an art and a science in so many ways. Once young readers move on from word recognition to reading for meaning, a whole new world opens up. Reading comprehension activities within the ELA block help students develop skills that will deepen the meaning of literature, while also leading to an understanding of material in other subjects. As students learn to make connections within a text, lifelong reading skills are born and cultivated. Check out these ELA anchor charts to help your students analyze the many elements necessary for reading success.
1. Questions To Ask While Reading
Questions like these help students think about the purpose of reading itself. They also encourage kids to consider important basics, like setting and characters.
Learn more: Babbling Abby
2. Story Elements
Going over the key components that make up a story will make your students better readers. They’ll know exactly what to look out for, and searching for these pieces will make reading seem like a fun scavenger hunt.
Learn more: Story Elements/Teaching With a Mountain View
3. Read, Cover, Remember, Retell
Stop students from skimming longer texts with this concept. This way, they’ll break the text into bite-sized chunks and truly understand what they’re reading.
Learn more: Leslie Hatcher/Pinterest
4. Making Predictions
Making predictions is a great way for students to interact with a text. Just introduce them to these three simple steps and watch them succeed!
Learn more: Crayons, Pencils, and Students … Oh My!
5. Beginning, Middle, End
Have students look for growth throughout a story by paying attention to the beginning, middle, and end. They should think about where the characters start, what happens to them, and how they’re different at the end.
Learn more: Beginning, Middle, End/Teaching With Terhune
6. Choosing a Just-Right Book
Comprehension is deeply connected to children’s current reading abilities, and knowing how to choose a just-right book can help them gain confidence in their skills.
Learn more: The Animated Teacher
7. Summary Sentences
Make sense of more complicated passages by writing summary sentences for each paragraph or section on sticky notes. They’ll be helpful when reviewing for tests or writing a paper.
Learn more: Summary Sentences / Upper Elementary Snapshots
8. Monitoring for Meaning
Self-monitoring is key for success in reading comprehension at all levels. Giving students some questions to ask themselves as they read is a great first step toward understanding.
Learn more: The Curriculum Corner
Use the UNWRAP method to guide students through a thorough reading. This is an especially valuable technique for nonfiction passages.
Learn more: Flipping With Fisher
10. Understanding What Reading Looks Like
Setting expectations for what reading really looks like can help lay the groundwork for comprehension, as illustrated in this reading anchor chart.
Learn more: Real vs. Fake Reading / Teaching With Terhune
11. Literary Elements
This is like combining four anchor charts for reading comprehension into one! It’s the kind of chart that kids can refer to over and over.
Learn more: The Creative Apple Teaching
12. How To Mark a Text
Use an anchor chart and strategy like this one to teach your students how to properly mark up texts. Afterward, have a group discussion and ask students to utilize the sections they emphasized in their texts to support their individual points.
Learn more: Terra Shiffer / Pinterest
13. Cause and Effect
Considering cause and effect is an excellent way to improve reading comprehension. Learn to watch for words like “because” and “so” with this anchor chart.
Learn more: Cause and Effect / ELA Anchor Charts
14. Decoding Tricky Words
Decoding strategies help students step back from a frustrating word or sentence and revisit it from another angle. Especially when they’re just starting out, your class (and their parents) will appreciate having access to these tips.
Learn more: Tejeda’s Tots
15. Coding Thoughts
Shortcut symbols allow students to annotate texts without slowing down or interrupting the reading flow. Be sure to teach them how and when to use each symbol as they read.
Learn more: One Stop Teacher Shop
16. Using Context Clues
This anchor chart for reading helps students use context clues, such as synonyms and word parts, to become “word detectives” when they stumble upon a word they don’t know.
Learn more: Context Clues / Crafting Connections
17. Types of Conflict
Dig deeper into characters by understanding the conflict they face during the story. Remind students that more than one of these often applies.
Learn more: Types of Conflict / Crafting Connections
18. Nonfiction Text Features
If you’re doing a nonfiction unit, consider creating an anchor chart as a guide. It can be difficult for some students to understand the differences between fiction and nonfiction, but a chart like this one will immediately orient them within a text.
Learn more: Second Grade Style
19. Visualizing as They Read
Visualizing is an important part of achieving reading comprehension. Get kids to see the “movie in their minds” as they read.
Learn more: The No-Prep Teacher / Pinterest
20. Figurative Language
Figurative language can be challenging to teach. Make it easier with this anchor chart and a few pieces of text to act as examples. Then, set your students free and see how many elements of figurative language they can find in their individually chosen books.
Learn more: Angela A-W / Pinterest
21. Building Fluency
Fluency is another important part of reading comprehension. When students are robotic in their reading expression and pacing, they have trouble understanding meaning.
Learn more: Amy Lemons
22. Overcome Distractions
Even the best readers sometimes have trouble focusing on their books! Make your students more effective readers by going over how to overcome wandering thoughts.
Learn more: Andrea Knight
23. Retelling the Story
Retelling or summarizing is an important check on comprehension—can the student identify the main events and characters of the story? Reading anchor charts like this one lend a hand in explaining the concept.
Learn more: @theteacherwiththeowltattoo
24. Find the Main Idea
Understanding the main idea, or identifying what the text is mostly about, even if it’s not explicitly stated, is one of the first higher-level tasks of reading comprehension.
Learn more: Teaching Down by the Bay / Pinterest
25. Understanding Character
Ask students to distinguish between what’s on a character’s outside versus a character’s inside to help them understand the text.
Learn more: The Teacher Next Door
A story’s setting is made up of more than just where it takes place. Help your students fully grasp everything the concept encompasses with a fun and simple visual.
Learn more: Terri’s Teaching Treasures
27. Point of View
Understanding point of view in a story can be challenging for beginning readers. This chart will help them pick it up and then implement it in their own writing too.
Learn more: The Art of Learning
28. Theme vs. Main Idea
It’s so easy for young readers to confuse the theme of a text with its main idea, which is why comparing the two concepts side by side is sure to set your students up for success.
Learn more: @mrs.smithin5th
29. Thin and Thick Questions
Teach your students the difference between basic yes-or-no (thin) questions and more involved (thick) questions. When students can answer harder questions about the story, their level of understanding will go through the roof.
Learn more: Life in First Grade
30. Making Connections
You can be sure kids comprehend what they read when they can start connecting it to themselves and to the world around them.
Learn more: growing_brilliance
31. Reading Conference Guidelines
Implementing one-on-one student-teacher conferences during individual reading time can be really helpful for students, especially when you set expectations and guidelines ahead of time. This will give your students time to think about what they will focus on during their time with you and how it will help them become better readers.
Learn more: @craftofteaching
32. Plot Structure
This basic plot anchor chart can help students understand the rising action, climax, and falling action that make up a plot.
Learn more: Mrs. Renz’ Class
33. Making Inferences
To make an inference, students have to differentiate between what’s being said on the page and what’s not. This anchor chart does a great job of explaining.
Learn more: Book Units Teacher
34. Writing a Book Review
The key to writing a successful book review is being aware of what to focus on during the reading stage. If you plan on having your students write a book review, go over what they should take notes on or pay close attention to while they are reading with an easy anchor chart like this one.
Learn more: @youngteachmd
35. Inference Thinking Stems
Reading is an active endeavor; readers often make predictions based on what they already know. These thinking stems can help students put their ideas about stories into words.
Learn more: True Life: I’m a Teacher
36. Evidence-Based Reading
Students show they understand what they are reading by pointing to evidence within the reading. These words are the key to finding those bits of evidence.
Learn more: Evidence-Based Terms / ELA Anchor Charts
37. Elements of Poetry
Poetry is tricky and reads a lot differently than most other texts students tend to gravitate toward. Nevertheless, it’s an important art form to explore in the classroom—so why not use a pretty anchor chart as a primer? We guarantee it will take the fear out of reading poetry.
38. Author’s Purpose
Why did the author write this book? Was it to persuade, inform, or entertain? The author’s purpose may dictate how students read an article or story, and this chart helps students identify it.
Learn more: Brittany McThenia Stein / Pinterest
39. Questions and Answers
If your class is struggling with how to find answers to questions while reading, this anchor chart might just help them.
Learn more: @teachingandsofourth
40. Themes in Literature
Another great way to teach theme. Books are like a cream-filled cupcake: You never know what’s hiding inside!
Learn more: Upper Elementary Snapshots
41. Vowel Teams
Vowel teams can be confusing for young readers. This chart color-codes each vowel team and incorporates example words with pictures to help students remember these tricky sounds.
Learn more: HeadStartAnchorChart
42. Stop and Jot
It is always a good idea to have students write about their reading in a Reader’s Notebook so they can look back on their thoughts. Anchor charts like this one remind students of great reasons to stop, think, and jot while reading!
Learn more: Michelle Krzmarzick
43. Using Think Marks to Dig Deeper
Some students are great at remembering to stop and jot as they read, while others are more reluctant. Motivate your students by incorporating these fun symbols that can be placed on sticky notes throughout a text.
Learn more: Monica Jasso / Pinterest
44. Thinking Questions To Ask While Reading
Use this chart to help students apply higher-order reading comprehension strategies as they read independently. These also make great conversation starters for whole- and small-group activities.
Learn more: The Balanced Literacy Diet
45. Understanding Why Readers Close-Read
Close reading helps students dig deeper as they read to better understand the text. Give them the background knowledge on this strategy to help motivate them to take a closer look.
Learn more: Jennifer Findley / Pinterest
46. Steps to Close Reading
Your students will become expert reading detectives with these helpful close-reading tips you can put on anchor charts.
Learn more: Two Little Birds
47. Tone and Mood
As students think about their feelings while reading a particular piece, they will learn to build their own opinions of literature and poetry. Help them understand how the the author’s tone also has an impact.
Learn more: Life in 4B
48. Reading Comprehension Strategies Summed Up
This is an excellent summary of multiple reading comprehension strategies used in the classroom all year long. It works well across most grade levels too.
Learn more: SLPResources4U
49. ELA Test-Taking Strategies
Help ease the pressure of test taking with these practical reminders. These great tips are well-suited for ELA and beyond!
Learn more: Tara Surratt / Pinterest
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