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  • Writer's pictureWrite and Read (Laura)

Effective Reading Strategies for Secondary ELA

A teen boy sits reading something closely. Behind him, there are two blurry figures of girls also reading. The bold text says "Effective Reading Strategies for Secondary ELA."

If we want our students to become better readers, it’s our responsibility to teach them different reading strategies. With the right reading strategies, students can improve their comprehension and understanding. Reading strategies also help students feel more confident in their abilities to work on their own. Here are five effective strategies that you can try with your students.

Annotation practice pages are laid out on blue construction paper. The top page has annotations in blue and maroon. An iPad is showing the first slide of a presentation called "Annotation Made Easy."


If students learn how to annotate correctly, it can become an invaluable skill. Annotation is marking directly on the text, or sticky notes if students have to return their books, to help make meaning. As they read, students can write connections, label literary elements, ask questions, summarize sections, or mark important information. When a student annotates a text, it’s almost as if they are talking to that text. Annotation helps students stay engaged and focused and helps them make sense of what they are reading.


Hashtagging sounds ridiculous, I know, but it’s a real strategy. I learned about this reading strategy during an SAT training last school year. This strategy has students write a few hashtags for the main topic after reading each paragraph or section of a text. Writing out those few words has a huge impact on how much students will remember after reading.

A variety of graphic organizers are laid out on bright construction paper. There's an imagery graphic organizer, SIFT chart, setting graphic organizer, and character development graphic organizer.

Graphic Organizers

Using graphic organizers is a great reading strategy if your students struggle to focus while reading. Having specific things to look for while reading keeps students engaged. Graphic organizers are also helpful if students have any written response questions after reading. A good graphic organizer will help students find the information they need to write about a text.


Rereading is a simple reading strategy, but it’s an important one. Going back to the text to reread allows students to clear up anything they found confusing or pick up information they missed. The struggle with this strategy is often embarrassment. My own students don’t want others to know that they didn’t pick up on something, especially if other students knew an answer right away. Model this strategy and use it while working together as a class. Students are more likely to go back and reread if you have normalized it in your classroom.

Double Entry Journal

Using double entry journals is a reading strategy that makes it easy for students to make personal connections with a text. Making connections plays an important part in reading comprehension. To make a double entry journal, students need to draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper to form two columns. The first column is where students quote significant parts of the text. In the second column, students respond to the quotes by making connections, adding comments, or asking questions.

The right reading strategies are all students need to grow as readers.

Happy teaching!




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