Content Literacy 101

"The Magnificent Seven"

Before you can teach your students to become better readers, it is vital that you understand how you read in your content area.

According to a 1992 study by Pearson, Roehler, Dole, and Duffy, good readers use these seven comprehension strategies:

1. Making connections to prior knowledge: Connecting the information in the text to prior knowledge and personal experiences

2. Inferring and predicting: Reading between the lines to find answers to questions and draw conclusions

3. Asking questions: Interacting with the text and asking questions of the author, yourself, and the text

4. Determining important ideas and summarizing: Identifying the big ideas and themes and differentiating essential information from less important ideas

5. Visualizing: Creating pictures in your mind while reading

6. Synthesizing and retelling: Combining the other comprehension strategies and information from other sources to produce a new idea

7. Monitoring and clarifying understanding: Thinking about your thinking while reading (meta-cognition), realizing when you don't understand, and fixing it

(Taken from Power Tools for Adolescent Literacyby Rozelle and Scearce)

How to Use 
"The Magnificent Seven"

The easiest way to see how you use these strategies in your own reading is to do a "cold" reading of an unfamiliar piece of literature in your content area (i.e. a journal article).

As you read, write down what process you use to comprehend the piece. It may even be helpful to talk this through out loud!

Here is a graphic organizer that you can use to help you keep track of the strategies:

File Size: 67 kb
File Type: pdf
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(Plus, it will be great to use with your students!)

If you would like further guidance/tips for using the "Magnificent Seven," here is a series of 7 download-able bookmarks, one per strategy:

File Size: 1195 kb
File Type: pdf
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Both of these downloads were taken from:

(Solution Tree Publishing produced Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy,one of the best content literacy texts I discovered.)