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Post Phase

Study Guide developed by Karla Porter, M.Ed.

The content of this web page was developed as an aid to either student or entry level teachers who have immediate need in their classroom for information related to reading or for anyone wishing to further understand this general topic area.

This web site is being evaluated and updated during this development phase. Please contact the WSU Development Team Coordinator, Dr. Vicki Napper, with comments or suggestions for this web page. All contacts and comments welcome.

WSU Development Team

Post Reading Phase

We retain information more easily if we use it. There are many activities that will refine, enrich, and heighten interest in the assigned topic; however, the primary goal of the post reading phase is to further develop and clarify interpretations of the text, and to help students remember what they have individually created in their minds from the text.

Four types of post reading activities will be described:

  • those that provide the chance for students to ask questions concerning their assignments
  • those that focus on text structure
  • those that involve classroom and peer review
  • extension activities which extend learning.

Index of Post Reading Phase
Discuss and Respond
Follow Up
Graphic Organizers
Semantic Map
Three Levels Guide
Guided Reading
Using Text Structure
Team Review
Compose the Text
Three-point Review
Knowledge Circle
Add-on Information
Extension Activities

Post Reading Strategies 

Discuss and Respond 

Discuss and respond strategies help clarify ideas and concepts for students.  Modeling the actual thinking process for students can be beneficial in showing them how individuals reach conclusions and the process the mind goes through to achieve this.

Strategies include:

  • follow up
  • discussions
  • graphic organizers
  • three levels guide
  • focus
  • guided reading and discussion
Follow Up: Many times teachers set up useful pre and active reading strategies but do not follow up on them. Following up in the post reading phase is critical to comprehension. Students should have ample time to share and discuss the work they have completed.  This enables the students to tie up loose ends, answer any remaining questions, and to understand the interrelationships of topics covered.
Discussions: When readers are called on to communicate the ideas they have read, it is then that they learn to conceptualize and discover what meaning the assignment has to them.  Give students enough discussion time - either in groups or as a class.
The students must have special opportunities to orally discuss their conclusions.  Some of the ways to do this would include:
    • Students can pretend to be television reporters with two minutes to sum up the highlights of the "story."
    • Have students list the five main ideas of the assignment beginning with the most important to the least.
    • A discussion with the students in small groups or as a class covering the ideas: Who did what? When? Where? Why? How?
    • Have a student become the "teacher" and explain what was covered in class with a student who was absent.
    • The students can take specific sides of a topic and debate an issue.


    • Use this also as a listening activity.  (Teacher should model the first time).
    • Have students list what was positive, what was negative, and what was interesting.
    • Have students share and discuss in small groups.
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Graphic Organizer 

Graphic organizers have been called by various names.  Basically they all involve developing a graphic arrangement of ideas.  Major ideas are connected to supporting ideas and details by systematic arrangement of lines, geometric shapes, and arrows.

Three Levels Guide

Using literal, interpretive, and applied statements is recommended when using three levels comprehension guides. 

Follow these steps when constructing a three levels guide:

1. Become familiar with the material. Find the statements that support the main idea.
2. Develop statements (literal, interpretive, and applied).
3. Write one distracter statement at each level.
4. After reading the selection, students should check off statement that they can support based on evidence they have found in their reading.
5. After responding individually to the three levels guide, students should meet in small groups and develop a group statement.

Students will gain greater understanding of thinking at these levels as they use the three level guides.


In the focus strategy, topics and technical vocabulary of the individual chapters are listed for the students.  Students put the technical terms into one or more of the broad topics and explain their reasons for doing so on the basis of what they understand from the material they've studied.

Guided Reading

The following steps are recommended for this discussion-centered strategy:
    1. Present a reading assignment to your class.
    2. When students have completed the reading assignment, divide them into groups of three or four.
    3. Assign one student to record what group members say. 
    4. Each member has approximately three minutes to state the major ideas or points about the assignment.
    5. The group recorder orally shares the group's ideas with the class.  The teacher writes what is said on the board.  The recorders should only present information not already given by another group.
    6. The teacher should correct inaccurate information and help students to organize and sequence information.  Also, have students eliminate unimportant details and fill in missing points.

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Using Text Structure 

The way written material is organized is referred to as text structure. Students must be able to identify key words and organizational patterns. They must also be able to locate main ideas and supporting details. Authors of content area textbooks use four basic organizational patterns:
    • time order (sequence)
    • comparison/contrast
    • cause/effect
    • listing order

    A better understanding and awareness of text structures will greatly improve students' comprehension. Crawley and Mountain suggest the following key words (refer to Strategies for Guiding Content Reading, 1995)

    Organizational Pattern                    Key Words
    Time order  after, at the same time, before, finally, following, in the first place, last, later, meanwhile, not long after, now, on, previously, when
    Comparison/contrast as well as, but, but also, by contrast, conversely, either/or, even if, even though, however,
    in contrast, in spite of, instead, not only, on the other hand, opposed to, to the contrary, unless, yet
    Cause/effect as a result of, because, consequently, if/then, nevertheless, since, therefore, this led to
    Listing/enumeration and, first, second, finally, I must add, in addition, in addition, next, not only, others, specifically, then

    Skimming:  Skimming is a valuable technique in studying textbooks.  It involves searching for main ideas, noting the organizational cues used by the author, and running your eyes down the page as you look for specific facts or key words and phrases.  Teachers should model how this is done and verbally walk students through the process.

    Web sites to visit:

    Reading and Understanding Texts

    Skimming and Scanning Scientific Material

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Team Review 

    Students understand more when they discuss with each other what they have learned.  In team review, students review material already studied and share their knowledge with other students.
Summarizing:  Summarizing enables students to:
    • identify writer's main ideas
    • recognize the purpose or intent of the selection
    • distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information
    • note the evidence for support of main ideas
    • detect the organizational pattern of the author
    • follow material sequentially

    Summarizing Strategies:

    • Have the students write the "Reader's Digest" condensed version of their assignment.  These are beneficial when used as text reviews because students must be able to condense all the material they've studied into the most relevant information.
    • Formal summary papers may be written.  These papers should include the writer's purpose, main points, point of view, and sequence of events.
    • Students can share, compare, and discuss individual summaries in groups or as a class.  Many times discussions will lead to observations of opposite interpretations which students have not previously recognized.
    • Newspaper articles or magazine articles can be written.  Have students write headlines to capture the reader's attention.  They should include the same information in their articles or magazines which they have observed in actual newspapers or magazines.
    • The above articles could be used to create a class newspaper or magazine that could be distributed throughout the school or simply left in the library for students to read.
    • Students can write a persuasive paper.  For this assignment the students need to keep in mind their audience and who they are trying to persuade.  Encourage them to use enough evidence to support their ideas.
    • Have students use their persuasive papers and debate their topic.  Assign another class member to take the opposing view of the topic.
    • A fun and different approach to ensure the understanding of a topic is to have students write a "directions" paper.  For this they compose a "How to" paper.  They must take the insight they have gained about the topic and  specifically list the steps of how to do something, make something, or list the order things are put together so that someone with no previous knowledge could perform the task.

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    Compose the Test:  Preparing an actual test is a valuable tool in helping students decide the main purpose and the most relevant information given in an assignment.

    • Have each student write 1-2 test questions.  Compile these and actually create the test from students' questions.
    • Divide students into small groups.  Each group is responsible for writing a test.  These tests are distributed around the class until each group has another groups' test to answer.  They are handed back to the group who originated the test to be corrected.
    • Have the students compile a class test that you will use for future classes.  They can complete the questions individually or in groups.  The test they create can be a valuable tool in reviewing for the actual test.

    Three-Point Review:  A three-point review is recommended as a post reading review strategy.  Students are placed in groups of three.  Two students are given a checklist of the words or phrases that represent major ideas and information in the chapter or section being studied.  The third student reviews the chapter and tells the other two students in his group everything he remembers about chapter.  (The third students does not have a checklist of the key words or phrases).

    As student 3 recalls information, students 1 and 2 check it off on their sheets.  When student 3 can no longer recall information, students 1 and 2 ask questions based on the ideas not checked off their lists.  As student 3 answers these correctly, an X is placed next to the word or phrase.  The review is finished when all words on the checklist are marked or when student 3 can no longer answer questions.

    Student 3 is given a copy of the checklist and knows what information he is lacking and what information he needs to review.

    Rotate student numbers with each section or chapter studied.  This allows all students the opportunity of either asking or answering questions.

    Other variations:  Have one student ask the question, a second student locate the answer, a third student write the answer; have students do the same procedure in pairs instead of groups of three.

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    Knowledge Circle:  This is another review strategy that works well in small groups.

    1. Students should be placed with five to six students in each group.  Groups should sit on chairs and be as far away from other groups as possible.
    2. The teacher should ask a question that has many answers so that all students will have a chance to answer.  A time limit of two to five minutes should be given for response time.
    3. All groups are asked the same question.  All students must participate and no student should be skipped.  Begin in a certain direction and follow the same procedure for all groups. Students may pantomime hints for other students who might be not know the answer, but they are not to give any verbal answers.  One student should serve as the recorder who writes all the answers of the group.
    4. When time is up, recorders stop writing.  Each group notes how many answers they have.
    5. Place numbered columns on the board, one for each team.  As you progress from group to group, one team member offers one answer for each turn.  Write the answer in the group's column.  The group recorder checks off answers given by all groups that appear on the group sheet so that answers will not be repeated.
    6. Award points for answers.  The team with the most points at the end is the winner.
    7. A team may challenge the answer of another team.  If a team's answer is incorrect, the challenging team gets the points.  If the challenger is incorrect, they lose the number of points assigned to the correct answer.

    Add-on Information:  This strategy is not only useful as a review, but greatly improves listening skills. The entire class adds to existing information in this exercise.  Student 1 recalls a piece of information.  Student 2 repeats that information and adds another piece of information.  Student 3 repeats what was given by 1 and 2 and adds a third piece of information.  This continues until all class members have had an opportunity to contribute.

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    Jeopardy:  Jeopardy  may be adapted to any content area.  First, develop a Jeopardy board with appropriate categories and slots for answers.  The categories should be taken from current topics studied in your class.  The questions should get increasingly difficult as the points progress.

    Divide the class into four or five teams.  A spokesperson for each group should be chosen.  The spokesperson is responsible for "ringing in" after the team, through discussion, arrives at the answer.

    The rules are as follows:

    1. Each spokesperson rolls the die; the team with the highest number goes first.
    2. Running tabulations of scores are kept on the board.
    3. Correct answers earn points; incorrect answers deduct points.
    4. Answers must be in the form of a question.
    5. After ringing-in, teams have twenty seconds for the spokesperson to reply.
    6. If the team answers incorrectly, other teams can ring in.
    7. If no team answers within one minute, the statement is thrown out.
    8. The team with the lowest score at the end of the first round will begin Double Jeopardy, the second round where points are doubled.
    9. All, part, or no points can be wagered in Final Jeopardy.
    10. The team with the highest score wins.

    Bingo:  There are several variations of the way Bingo can be used as a comprehension strategy.

    • Make enough copies of the Bingo card so that each student has an individual card.  Write the answers to previously written questions directly onto card.  Since all the cards need to be somewhat different, answers should be in different slots on each card.  It is a good idea to have more questions and answers than you have slots; therefore, cards will not have all the answers.  Laminate cards so they can be used again. Hand out individual cards to students.  Draw from your list of questions.  The students can not shout out the answers to help other students.  If the student has the matching answer, they mark it on their card (using fruit loops, cheerios, or beans).  The person who fills his row first shouts "Bingo" and is the winner.  (Make the students read their answers to verify they have answered correctly).

    • Make enough copies of the Bingo card for each student.  The teacher asks questions and the students actually write the answers directly onto the card.  This version is usually best if "Black Out" is played - or all the card is filled.  Students must check their answers with the answer key.  All those who receive 100% are winners.

    • Divide class into four or five groups.  Make enough copies of the Bingo card for each group.  Draw from one stack of numbers (B-3; N-1), and from another pile where you have written questions to go along with what you are studying.  Make these questions more difficult since they are working in groups.  For example, you might draw B-4 for the number and out of the question stack you might draw, "What was one of Robert Frosts most famous poems?"  The students can work together to come up with the answer - which they will write on the card.  Continue asking questions until the first team has reached Bingo.  If you want to use the cards again, have students write their answers on a slip of paper to place over the slots of the card, or on a separate sheet of paper.

    *For additional information, refer to: Teaching Reading Comprehension:  From Theory to Practice, by Thomas G. Devine, Allyn and Bacon, 1986. 

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Extension Activities 

Extension activities take students beyond what they have read and require more critical thinking and reading.  Strategies include:
Role Play:Students can role play their assignments.  This will force a higher level of thinking skills as student have to dramatize their interpretations for the class.

Visual Creations:Students can create graphs, pictures, collages, or models to demonstrate their understanding of the assignment.  They can do this individually or in groups.

News Stories:  Have students write news stories and editorial that coincide with their assignment.

Comic Strips:  Develop comic strips which are centered around the topic.

Talk Show Host:  Have one student become the talk show host with class members being guests representing all sides of an issue.

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Comments or Suggestions:
Bruce Schroeder, Project Coordinator
or Vicki Napper, WSU Development Team

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