Texts for Modeling Comprehension Strategies

Yesterday we delved into useful strategies to model reading comprehension.  Today we are going to explore some of my favorite books to use when modeling each strategy.  Let’s get started.

Making Connections

It is so important to find books that you really connect with when modeling this strategy.  It’s pretty hard to have a text-to-self connection with a story when you have no background knowledge (schema) for the text.  These are some texts that I like to use because I do have a connection with them.

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry


When selecting texts for this strategy, you want to select authors who do a great job at crafting visual images.  Look for juicy descriptive words that describe both the setting and the characters.

*Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

*Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Meteor by Patricia Polacco (Almost all of Polacco’s books are great for visualizing and most other comprehension strategies too!)

*Note- I don’t like to use either of these books if the child has already seen a movie version of the story.


Texts for this strategy need to have a meaty problem/solution or a deep meaning to generate lots of good questions.

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Friedman

Big Al by Andrew Clements

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

Determining Importance

Non-fiction texts work really well with this strategy.  I love to use kid’s magazine articles for determing importance.  My favorite magazines include Ranger Rick, National Geographic for Kids and Sports Illustrated for Kids.


Don’t be afraid to use wordless books when introducing this strategy regardless of the age of the learner.

A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting

Any of the Carl books by Alexandra Day which are wordless books.  Wordless books are great for teaching inferring.

Fables by Arnold Lobel


Texts that really make you think or where your thinking changes over the course of the text work best for modeling this sophisticated strategy.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

Stone Soup by Jon Muth

These are a few of my picks.  What are your favorite books to use with each strategy?

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9 responses »

  1. Again another interesting post. Liked your book selections to illustrate your points. Love Patricia Polacco’s Pink and Say, Judi Barret’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and tne Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. There are a few I’m not familiar with, but so many have stood the test of time.

      • Jodie, she’s one of my favorite authors. Back in the 90 she did many book tours to Dayton. When she wrote the Keeping Quilt, she brought the original quilt along with her and used it to tell the story to kids and showed the many she used it as a child. The kids got to touch it. My daughter has many of her books packed away in boxes. Loved Thunder Cake — my daughter loved to make the recipe. Her writing style was a bit different, as I review her books again.

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