Reading comprehension is one of the most complex skills to teach. It’s also arguably the most important. Students will only succeed in other subject areas (and make a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure) if they understand what they are reading. Many factors go into the development of reading comprehension, including building an extensive vocabulary, asking questions, making connections, and using visualization.

Below, you’ll find 35 anchor charts for reading comprehension that tackle some of the trickiest parts. Use them as models for your own teaching and pass them along to a teacher friend!

1. Story Elements

SOURCE: Teaching With a Mountain View

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.

2. Making Predictions

SOURCE: Crayons, Pencils, and Students…Oh My!

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!

3. Choosing a Just-Right Book

2 - Just Right Book

SOURCE: McDee’s Busy Bees

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.

4. Monitoring for Meaning

SOURCE: The Curriculum Corner

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.

5. Understanding What Reading Looks Like

3 - What Reading Looks Like

SOURCE: Head Over Heels for Teaching

Setting expectations for what reading really looks like can help lay the groundwork for comprehension, as illustrated in this reading anchor chart.

6. How to Mark a Text

SOURCE: Terra Shiffer

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. 


7. Defining Words 

4 - What a Word Means

SOURCE: Creating Readers and Writers

In order for students to understand what they’re reading, we have to give them strategies for when they encounter an unknown word. This anchor chart for reading is a great place to start. (An M&M word, for those who don’t know, is one with multiple meanings. Get it?)

8. Decoding

SOURCE: Tejeda’s Tots

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.

9. Using Context Clues

6 - Context Clues

SOURCE: Teacher Trap

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.

10. Nonfiction Text Features

SOURCE: Elementary Nest

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. 

11. Visualizing 

7 - Visualizing

SOURCE: Teaching With a Mountain View

Visualizing is an important part of achieving reading comprehension—get kids to see the “movie in their minds” as they read.

12. Types of Figurative Language

SOURCE: Teacher Trap

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. 

13. Building Fluency 

8 - Building Fluency

SOURCE: Step into Second Grade

Fluency is another important part of reading comprehension. When students are robotic in their reading expression and pacing, they have trouble understanding meaning.

14. How to Overcome Distractions

SOURCE: Creating Readers and Writers

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. 

15. Retelling the Story

SOURCE: The Teacher with the Owl Tattoo

Retelling or summarizing is an important check on comprehension—can the student identify the main events and characters of the story? This anchor chart gives a hand in explaining the concept.

16. Finding the Main Idea

SOURCE: Teaching Down by the Bay

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 comprehension.

17. Understanding Character

12 - Understanding Character

SOURCE: The Teacher Next Door

Ask students to distinguish between what’s on a character’s outside versus a character’s inside to help them understand the text.

18. Setting

SOURCE: Terri’s Teaching Treasures

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. 

19. Point of View

13 - Point of View

SOURCE: Wise Guys

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.

20. Criticizing Literature

SOURCE: 4th Grade Unicorns

It’s never too early to teach students the importance of questioning everything. Reading with a critical eye is a skill that will serve them well later on in life. 

21. Character Journey 

14 - Character Changes

SOURCE: Literacy & Math Ideas

Encourage your students to think about how a character changes over the course of a story. Ask them questions like: What made the character change? Who was involved in the change? What did the character learn along the way?

22. Theme vs. Main Idea

SOURCE: Mrs. Smith in 5th

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.

23. Going Deeper

16 - Going Deeper

SOURCE: Life in Fifth Grade

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.

24. Making Connections


SOURCE: Growing Brilliance

You can be sure kids comprehend what they read when they can start connecting it to themselves and to the world around them.

25. Reading Conference Guidelines

SOURCE: The Craft of Teaching

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. 

26. Understanding Plot

SOURCE: Denise Braun

This basic plot anchor chart can help students understand the “engine” that makes most stories go.

27. Making Inferences

20 - Making Inferences

SOURCE: Book Units Teacher

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 explaining.

28. How to Write a Book Review

SOURCE: youngteachmd

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 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. 

29. Inference Thinking Stems

Reading Anchor Charts

SOURCE: True Life: I’m a Teacher

These thinking stems can help students put their ideas about stories into words.

30. Evidence-Based Reading

reading anchor charts


Students show they understand what they are reading by pointing to evidence within the reading.

31. Poetry Explainer

SOURCE: Teaching With a Mountain View

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. 

32. Author’s Purpose

Reading anchor charts

SOURCE: Lucky Little Learners

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.

33. Synthesizing

Reading Anchor charts

SOURCE: TeacherKarma

Synthesizing is when readers change their thinking as they read. They are putting together all of the strategies they have learned to form thoughts, opinions, and conclusions.

34. Question-Answer Relationships

SOURCE: teachingandsofourth

If your class is struggling with how to find answers to questions while reading, this anchor chart might just help them. 

35. Teaching Theme

Reading Anchor Charts

SOURCE: Upper Elementary Snapshots

Another great way to teach theme. Books are like a cream-filled cupcake. You never know what’s hiding inside.

What are your favorite reading anchor charts? Come share in our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook. 

Plus, check out our article on how to use anchor charts.

35 Anchor Charts That Nail Reading Comprehension