All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Text Structure

Text structure refers to how the information within a written text is organized. This strategy helps students understand that a text might present a main idea and details; a cause and then its effects; and/or different views of a topic.


The Monitoring/Clarifying strategy teaches students to recognize when they don't understand parts of a text and to take necessary steps to restore meaning. This technique is a component of the Reciprocal Teaching model (see below for more information) in which teachers encourage students to think about their own thought process during reading.

Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA)

The Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA) is a strategy that guides students in asking questions about a text, making predictions, and then reading to confirm or refute their predictions. The DRTA process encourages students to be active and thoughtful readers, enhancing their comprehension.

Inferential Reading

Teaching students to "read inferentially" helps them learn how to read more strategically. This technique is derived from the teaching model that learners develop knowledge via the process of interpreting new information in light of past experiences and rethinking past knowledge based on new information.

Paired Reading

The Paired Reading strategy encourages peer teaching and learning. Students are divided into pairs and read along together or take turns reading aloud to each other. Pairs can have the same reading ability or can include a more fluent reader with a less fluent reader.

Word Hunts

Word Hunts are used to enhance students' vocabulary growth. Teachers ask students to look for words and patterns in reading materials based upon selected features. Word Hunts focus on the structure and meaning of words by turning students' attention to spelling patterns and root words.

Selective Highlighting

Selective Highlighting/Underlining is used to help students organize what they have read by selecting what is important. This strategy teaches students to highlight/underline ONLY the key words, phrases, vocabulary, and ideas that are central to understanding the reading.

Paragraph Shrinking

Paragraph Shrinking is an activity that was developed as part of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS). PALS is a classwide peer tutoring program in which teachers carefully partner a student with a classmate (Link to PALS Strategy page). The Paragraph Shrinking strategy allows each student to take turns reading, pausing, and summarizing the main points of each paragraph. The students provide each other with feedback as a way to monitor comprehension.

First Lines

First Lines is a strategy in which students read the beginning sentences from assigned readings and make predictions about the content of what they're about to read.


Think-Pair-Share (TPS) is a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or answer a question about an assigned reading.

Prediction Relay

Prediction Relay is an activity that was developed as part of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS).

Partner Reading

Partner Reading is a cooperative learning strategy in which two students work together to read an assigned text. This strategy is often used as part of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS).

Seed Discussion

A Seed Discussion is a two-part strategy used to teach students how to engage in discussions about assigned readings. In the first part, students read selected text and identify "seeds" or key concepts of a passage which may need additional explanation. In the second part, students work in small groups to present their "seeds" to one another.

Story Maps

Story Maps are used for teaching students to work with story structure for better comprehension. This technique uses visual representations to help students organize important elements of a story. Students learn to summarize the main ideas, characters, setting, and plot of an assigned reading.

Think Alouds

Think Alouds help students learn to monitor their thinking as they read an assigned passage. Students are directed by a series of questions which they think about and answer aloud while reading. This process reveals how much they understand a text. As students become more adept at this technique, they learn to generate their own questions to guide comprehension.

Reading Guides

Reading Guides help students navigate reading material, especially difficult textbook chapters or technical reading. Students respond to a teacher-created written guide of prompts as they read an assigned text. Reading Guides help students to comprehend the main points of the reading and understand the organizational structure of a text.


A mnemonic is an instructional strategy designed to help students improve their memory of important information. This technique connects new learning to prior knowledge through the use of visual and/or acoustic cues. The basic types of mnemonic strategies rely on the use of key words, rhyming words, or acronyms.

Semantic Feature Analysis

The Semantic Feature Analysis strategy engages students in reading assignments by asking them to relate selected vocabulary to key features of the text. This technique uses a matrix to help students discover how one set of things is related to one another.


Jigsaw is a strategy that emphasizes cooperative learning by providing students an opportunity to actively help each other build comprehension. Teachers use this technique to assign students to reading groups composed of varying skill levels.

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