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Keys to Comprehension

John Steinbeck said, “Reading is the greatest single effort that the human mind undertakes, and one must do it as a child.”  There are many factors that contribute to the understanding of written material.  All of these form the basis for the development of comprehension skills.  Susan Zimmermann and Chryse Hutchins, in their book for parents, 7 Keys to Comprehension, suggest several things that good readers do to make meaning from what they read.  Other “keys” have been added to this list based on current research in the field of reading comprehension.  No one key is more important than the others; they all work together in the creation of a skilled reader.

Creating Sensory Images

Activating Prior Knowledge


Making Inferences

Determining Importance

Making Connections

Developing Vocabulary

Synthesizing Information

Using Writing for Deeper Thinking

Discussing the Text

Identifying Text Structure

Developing Fluency

Knowing the Fix-Up Strategies


Websites on Keys to Comprehension:

7 Keys to Comprehension Handout

To find the book, 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It!

Activating Prior Knowledge
Vocabulary Development
Comprehension Strategies
Summarization Techniques
Writing Across the Curriculum
Getting to Know Students
Technology Tools