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 on an ingrained level. Many factors go into the development of reading comprehension, including building an extensive vocabulary, asking questions, making connections, and visualization.
Below, you’ll find 25 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. Self-Monitoring Anchor Charts for Reading
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.
2. 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.
3. Understanding What Reading Looks Like
Setting expectations for what reading really looks like can help lay the groundwork for comprehension in this reading anchor chart.
4. Defining Words Anchor Chart
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?)
Giving fun names to decoding strategies can help students feel less intimidated by new vocabulary.
6. 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 on an unknown word.
7. Visualizing Anchor Chart
Visualizing is an important part of achieving reading comprehension—getting kids to see the “movie in their minds” as they read.
8. Building Fluency Anchor Chart
Fluency is another important part of reading comprehension. When students are robotic in their reading expression and pacing, they have trouble understanding meaning.
9. Tackling a Text
While this anchor chart is specifically for test passages, we like the approach of breaking down a longer piece of reading into specific tasks to aid comprehension.
10. Retelling Anchor Chart
Retelling or summarizing is an important check on comprehension—can the student identify the main events and characters of the story? This anchor chart nails the concept.
11. Finding the Main Idea
Understanding the main idea is one of the first higher-level tasks of comprehension: identifying what the text is mostly about, even if it’s not explicitly stated.
12. Understanding Character Anchor Chart
Ask students to distinguish between what’s on a character’s outside versus their inside to help garner their understanding of the text.
13. Point of View Anchor Chart
Understanding a story’s point of view can be challenging for beginning readers. This chart will help them pick it up and then implement it in their own writing, too.
14. Character Journey Anchor Chart
Encourage your students to think about how a character changes from the beginning to the middle to the end of a story. Ask them questions like, “What made them change? Who was involved in the change? What did the character learn along the way?”
15. Asking and Answering Questions
Questioning is at the heart of comprehension, helping students to bridge the gap between surface-level understanding (what happens in the story) and deeper meaning (the theme or moral).
16. Going Deeper Anchor Chart
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.
17. Cause and Effect Anchor Chart
Understanding cause and effect is another higher-order comprehension task. We love this anchor chart’s Angry Birds take on it!
18. 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.
19. Understanding Plot
This basic plot anchor chart can help students understand the “engine” that makes most stories go.
20. 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 explaining.
21. Inference Thinking Stems
These thinking stems can help students put their ideas about stories into words.
22. Evidence-Based Reading
Showing you understand what you are reading by pointing to evidence within the reading.
23. Author’s Purpose
Why did the author write this book? Was it to persuade, inform, or entertain? The author’s purpose may dictate how you read an article or story.
SOURCE: Lucky Little Learners
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.
25. Teaching Theme
Books are like a cream-filled cupcake. You never know what’s hiding inside.
SOURCE: Upper Elementary Snapshots
Add your favorite reading anchor charts to the comments below.