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Classroom Strategies



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. Monitoring/Clarifying helps students learn to be actively involved and monitor their comprehension as they read. 


Monitoring/Clarifying helps students to focus their attention on the fact that there may be reasons why the text is difficult to understand. Students can be taught to ask questions, reread, restate, and visualize making the text more comprehendible. 

Create and use the strategy

Pre-select and introduce the text to be used based upon each student’s reading level. Next, model the Monitoring/Clarifying process while providing students with ample time and opportunities to practice.

Ask students to begin reading the assigned text and use the following steps as they encounter difficulties:

  • Stop and think about what you have already read. 
  • Reread. 
  • Adjust your reading rate: slow down or speed up. 
  • Try to connect the text to something you read in another book, what you know about the world, or to something you have experienced. 
  • Visualize. 
  • Reflect on what you have read. 
  • Use print conventions (key words, bold print, italicized words, and punctuation). 
  • Notice patterns in the text structure

Further reading

Research citations

Oczuks, L. (2003). Reciprocal teaching at work: Strategies for improving reading comprehension. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. 

Palincsar, A. S. & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal Teaching of Comprehension-Fostering and Comprehension Monitoring Activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1(2), pp. 117-175.