Glossary of Instructional Strategies


3-2-1 Strategy

This strategy gives students a chance to summarize some key ideas, rethink them in order to focus on those that they are most intrigued by, and then pose a question that can reveal where their understanding is still uncertain.


Anchor Activities

Anchor Activities are designed for students to work on either immediately at the beginning of class time or after their class work has been completed, so that their instructional time is maximized.  These activities are intended to review or extend learning of the subject matter, not to be busy-work.  Activities may be designed for students to complete independently or in small groups.

Anchor activities 1

Anchor Activities 2

Anticipation Guide

An anticipation guide is a series of statements, usually between five and ten, to which students must respond individually before reading a certain text.  The statements are designed in such a way as to activate thought about particular events, ideas, plots or issues that will be introduced in the text about to be read. 

Anticipation Guide.pdf




ABC Brainstorm

The idea is meant to be fairly simple. Students try to think of a word or phrase associated with the topic, matched to each letter of the alphabet.


Associate & Illustrate

Students completing a graphic organizer with the synonyms, antonyms, analogies, & illustrations of words helps them problem-solve with words and identify key associations among words.

Associate and Illustrate

Associate and Illustrate Organizer

Background Knowledge

Background knowledge helps the teacher to activate, develop, and assess student background knowledge and then teaches students how to monitor their own background knowledge.

Background Knowledge

Buddy Journals

Two students share one journal and write letters back and forth to each other.


Cause & Effect

These are discipline-specific graphic organizers that can help students understand the
relationship between cause and effect in a core concept

Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect Template

Chalk Talk

This silent thinking strategy allows students to generate ideas, check learning, solve problems, reflect, or capture collective thought processes of students.


Choral Reading

Choral reading is reading aloud in unison with a whole class or group of students. Choral reading helps build students' fluency, self-confidence, and motivation. Because students are reading aloud together, students who may ordinarily feel self-conscious or nervous about reading aloud have built-in support.



This strategy involves the use of syntactically meaningful phrases or small portions of text for practicing fluent reading with proper intonation. The teacher can provide marked text that has been chunked for the student to practice with. Amounts of text increase as the student demonstrates fluency.


Clock Buddies

A quick, partnering technique

Cloze Technique

A variety of sentence completion techniques in which words are strategically left out of a text so that readers can supply the missing words




Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. For Spanish-speaking ELLs, cognates are an obvious bridge to the English language.

Column Notes

Focused note-taking strategy with many different variations

Column Notes 1

Column Notes 2

Concept Definition Map

A graphic organizer for vocabulary development

Concept Definition Map

Concept Definition

Content Area Logs

Content Area Logs are used to provide students with the opportunity to write about their thinking and learning processes and record their accomplishments in content-area learning.



Contextual Analysis

Instruction in contextual analysis involves teaching students to use both generic and specific types of context clues.

Contextual Analysis


Students explore a topic through Blooms taxonomy, from the following six perspectives:

Describe it, Compare it, Associate it, Analyze it, Apply it, and Argue for or against it.


Cubing Handout


Curriculum Compacting

A content acceleration strategy that enables students to skip parts of the curriculum they have already mastered and move on to more challenging content and activities.



Debate is a structure to use to generate discussion about the pros and cons of a given issue.

Determining Essential and Non-essential information

This teaches students how to determine essential and non-essential information in a content area (Mathematics) using the gradual release model.


Determining Essential and Non-essential Information

Developing Fluency

This is a repeated reading technique in which students read and reread a text many times to improve reading fluency.

Developing Fluency

Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

A step-by-step process that guides students through understanding and thinking about text.

Directed Reading Activity


Use this strategy to assist struggling students with decoding unfamiliar words by using a combination of context clues and word
analysis strategies.


DISSECT Activity

Double Entry Diary

The Double Entry Diary creates an interactive setting between the reader and the text
by allowing students to record dual entries that are conceptually related.

Double Entry Diary

Echo Reading

Echo reading is a rereading strategy designed to help students develop expressive, fluent reading. In echo reading, the teacher or parent reads a short segment of text (sentence or phrase), and the student echoes back the same sentence or phrase while following along in the text.


The practice of helping students in identifying and considering word origins to enhance their overall vocabulary development


Etymology 2

Exit Slips

Used to engage students with summarizing their learning, or synthesizing learned information, skills, and processes.


Find Someone Who

This is a good activity to do with students at the beginning of a course. It provides a quick way for students to connect with one another and helps them overcome initial shyness in a new situation.

Find Someone Who

Flexible Grouping

A temporary grouping of students by criteria that is specific for the task at that time.

(Frayer) Four-Square Strategy

This strategy provides students with a visual representation of words and concepts in the form of a graphic or spatial organizer thereby helping students to make a personal connection with words




Gallery Walk

This is a strategy that assists studentsí verbal articulation of their thoughts by viewing pictures and chartsthat illustrate a key concept or idea




Students write down all the information that they know on a particular topic. Then, they flip the paper over and walk around the room sharing ideas and receiving new ones from their classmates.


Graphic Organizer

Graphic organizers, pictorial organizers, webs, maps, and concept maps are visual ways to represent information.

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is a method to foster independent reading among emergent readers.

Guided Reading

Guided Reading Explanation

Guided Reading Videos




Herringbone Pattern

This graphic organizer helps students see the relationship Main Idea and Details

Herringbone Pattern

Herringbone 2


Ideas for making idioms transparent to improve student comprehension

Idiom Visual


Idioms Chart

Inferring Strategies

These strategies include visualizing, making connections and using text clues.


Inferring 2  

Inquiry Chart

Within this strategy, learners will identify a topic, document what they already know, and gather information from a variety of sources. Once
gathered, the students can summarize and compare their findings from the multiple sources

Inquiry Chart

Insert Strategy

The Interactive Notation System for Effective Reading and Thinking, or INSERT for short, was originally created by Vaughn and Estes (1986); it uses symbols or notations such as a check
mark or a plus sign as a way for the reader to respond to the text while reading


Insert 2

Inside-Outside Circles

This is a summarization technique that gets students up and moving.  It provides a way to get students who normally would not talk to interact with others. 

Inside Outside Circle



Interactive or Dialogue Journals

Interactive journals provide a context for writing between the student and the teacher. Students select a topic of their choice and write a journal entry. The teacher reads this entry and responds in writing with questions and comments. This process promotes students' independent writing and writing for an audience.



This lesson plan format is particularly effective for LEP students because the lessons build on students' prior knowledge, cultural backgrounds, experiences, insights, and perceptions.


Into-Through-Beyond 2

Inverted Triangle

This strategy is often best known for assisting writers in refining a broad topic of interest to a narrow focused topic.

Inverted Triangle


Assists your students with working together, developing thinking, content-specific and social skills, all while learning from one another at the same time.


Jigsaw 2

Jigsaw 3


Finds out what students know, wonder about, and have learned.



Language Experience Approach (LEA)


This approach helps beginning learners bring their own knowledge and experience to bear in constructing meaning from the printed word.

Language Experience Approach

Learning Contracts

A method of making students more responsible for their own learning.

Literature Circles

Literature circles are small, student-led discussion groups whose members have chosen to read the same text.

Literature Circles



Making Connections

By teaching students how to connect to text, they are able to better understand what they are reading.

Making Connections

Making Connections Handout

Metacognitive Journal

This type of journal is a writing journal that encourages students to identify what they know, what they want to know, or what they have learned about a subject and how they have learned it.




A short lesson with a very precise, directed objective.


Painted Essay


A highly structured approach to writing essays that is color coded to help students succeed.

Paired or Partner Reading

Paired reading is a research-based fluency strategy used with readers who lack fluency. In this strategy, students read aloud to each other. Paired reading can be used with any book, taking turns reading by sentence, paragraph, page or chapter.

Paired Reading


Pattern Puzzles

Students sort key ideas into different types of categories

Phrase Cued Text

The strategy of phrase-cued text, also known as phrased text, assists developing and struggling students with both their fluency and comprehension by focusing on one of the key areas of prosody known as juncture, or appropriate text phrasing.

Phrase Cued Rubric

Phrase Cued Text

Prediction Wheel

This is a visual that helps a student make logical predictions and can be used in any content area.

Prediction Wheel 1

Prediction Wheel 2

Prior Knowledge

Teaching students how to access their prior knowledge helps them to understand text by making connections to what they already know.


Question-Answer Relationships (QAR)

Teaching QARs to students begins with helping them understand the core notion: that when confronted with a question, the answer will come either from the text or from what kids know.

Question Answer

Questioning the Author

This during-reading strategy allows teachers to ask specific questions of students that will help them create meaning and reflect on the text while they read.

Questioning the Author

QuickWrite/Quick Draw


Students use drawings and/or words to express thoughts or feelings about a given topic.

Quick Write Draw





This strategy provides a way for students to think about the four main things that all writers have to consider: Role of the writer, Audience, Format, and Topic.



RAFT Writings

Write with a predetermined Role of writer, Audience, Format, and Topic

Read Alouds

Reading aloud allows the students to hear the classroom teacher model fluency and expression. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate how reading is a source of enjoyment, humor, learning, communication, and fun.


Readerís Response

The reader response theory of reading suggests that a reader can approach a piece of text with 2 different motivations; efferent (information/facts) or aesthetic (past experience) stance. Having students approach text from both stances will invigorate critical thinking and increase the potential for a thoughtful response.

Reader's Response

Reader's Response Handout

Readerís Theater

The reader's theater strategy blends students' desire to perform with their need for oral reading practice. Reader's Theater offers an entertaining and engaging means of improving fluency and enhancing comprehension.


Reader's theater

Reader's theater 2


Reciprocal Teaching/ QAR(Question-Answer Relationships/SQ4R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review, Reflect)

A formatted way to summarize, question, clarify, and predict when reading

Reciprocal Teaching 1

Reciprocal Teaching 2

Reciprocal Teaching 3

Reciprocal Teaching 4



(or Dialectical) Journal

The Response Journal is a nonthreatening way for students to reflect, explore and record their personal responses to the content being taught.


Scaffolding is an instructional technique whereby the teacher models the desired learning strategy or task, then gradually shifts responsibility to the students.




SCAMPER is a mnemonic acronym that provides a structured way to assist students and teachers with understanding creative problem solving and developing extensionbuilding activities based on prior ideas and processes

Semantic Feature Analysis

Examine related concepts but make distinctions between them according to particular criteria across which the concepts can be compared.

Semantic Feature Analysis

Semantic Feature Analysis 2

Six Thinking Hats

This popular strategy is used to promote parallel thinking and to help students look at a problem or decision from many different perspectives

Six Thinking Hats


The SOAPS strategy can be used to teach students how to read and understand narrative and expository texts. It includes the following: SOAPS- Speaker; Occasion; Audience; Purpose; and, Subject




A sociogram is a visual representation of the relationships among characters in a literary text.  Students can make use of pictures, symbols, shapes, colors, and line styles to illustrate these relationships, to understand the traits of each character, and to analyze the emerging primary and secondary conflicts.



Socratic Circles

Assists students in developing dialogue, building knowledge based on prior experiences and applying them to new situations, creating hypotheses, and challenging perceptions of themselves and others while working through rhetoric and discourse

Socratic Circles

Socratic Circles 2

Socratic Circles 3


Sourcing is a disciplinary specific strategy that can help students take a critical evaluative perspective on primary source documents


Sourcing 2

SQ4R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review, Reflect)

SQ4R provides students with a systematic approach to reading textbooks and promotes efficient study practices.


SQ4R 2

SQ4R 3

Story Maps/History Frames

Focus on the "elements" of story: setting, characters, plot, and theme, among others, in historic contexts


By using storytelling as a part of classroom instruction, students gain insights about the thoughts and feelings of their teacher an each other, and also become engaged in the material in a way that is different than with the textbook alone.

Story Telling 1

Story Telling 2

Structural Analysis

Structural analysis activities help students learn how to use what they already understand about words and word parts so that they can add it into their arsenal of word attack tools

Structural Analysis




Summarizing can be highly effective for helping students identify main ideas, generalize, remove redundancy, integrate ideas and improve memory for what is read.

Summarization 1

Summarization 2

Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)

SSR offers students the opportunity to read a book, magazine, or newspaper of their choice.The teacher and the students read silently for a period of time with no interruptions.


Synectic thinking is a creative problem solving technique which uses analogies. This technique distinguishes 2 phases: making the strange familiar and making the familiar strange.





The T-Chart is a strategy to help students clarify concepts or ideas and to give specific examples. This strategy will help students learn to be specific.

T Chart

Tape-Assisted Reading

Tape assisted reading is an individual or group reading activity where students read along in their books as they hear a fluent reader read the book on an audiotape. As confidence and reading skills develop, students read the same passage or text without the assistance of the tape.

Tape Assisted Reading

Tea Party

Offers students an opportunity to actively participate in discussions and consider parts of a story or content-area text before they ever actually read it.

Tea Party 1

Tea Party 2

Text Features

Text features and elements support studentsí abilities to navigate through the textbook and increases their understanding of how the concepts presented are related to the structure of the text.

Text Features

Text Sets

Texts sets can be considered a collection of books related to a common element, topic, theme, or type of text

Text Sets

Text Structure

The structural pattern, or the way text is organized, and the relationships those ideas form to communicate meaning are different in narrative and expository text.

Text Structure

Think Ėa-loud

Used to slow down the reading process, this strategy lets students get a good look at how skilled readers construct meaning from a text.

Think Aloud 1

Think Aloud 2


Think-Pair-Share OR Turn and Talk




A cooperative and structured discussion strategy


Three Minute Pause

A structured pause; a comprehension check

Venn Diagram/ Compare Contrast

A visual representation of the similarities and differences between concepts

Venn Diagram


A great way to check for understanding (CFU) by giving each student a small whiteboard to use when responding to questions - scroll to the bottom for lesson ideas





Word Analogies

Word analogies have been found to be useful thinking exercises that require students to draw inferences and offer a way to increase studentsí vocabulary and comprehension

Word Analogies

Word Boxes /

Concept of Definition Map

A visual organizer that helps students engage with and think about new terms or concepts in several ways.

Word Builder

The Word Builder strategy is a simple way to teach and build studentsí morphemic analysis and vocabulary knowledge and skills.

Word Builder

Word Consciousness

This refers to awareness of and interest in words and their meanings.

Word Sort

Categorizing words to improve association with prior knowledge

Word Wall

A collection of words displayed in large letters on a wall in the classroom


Writing Frames

Writing frames can be used to help students think and talk about the key topic and essential related information, learn to write quickly, and develop writing skills and strategies.