Thinking Strategies Used by Proficient Learners

Determining What Is Important In Text

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers identify key terms or themes as they read.
    • Readers and researchers use text structure and text features (such as bold, color or italicized print, figures and photographs) to help them tell the difference between important and unimportant information.
  • Writers
    • Writers make decisions about the most important ideas to include in the pieces they write.
    • Writers provide only essential detail to reveal the meaning and produce the effect desired.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians look for patterns and relationships.
    • Mathematicians decide what information is relevant to a problem and what information is irrelevant.

Drawing Inferences

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers make predictions or hypothesize about text, confirm their predictions and test their developing understanding as they read on.
    • Readers and researchers create interpretations to enrich and deepen their experience of a text.
    • Researchers interpret the results of their research to draw conclusions.
  • Writers
    • Writers carefully consider their audience in making decisions about what to describe explicitly and what to leave to the reader’s interpretation.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians predict, generalize and estimate
    • Mathematicians compose (like a writer) by drawing pictures, using charts, and creating equations.

Using Prior Knowledge (schema)

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers automatically use relevant, prior knowledge before, during and after reading text.
    • Readers and researchers use schema to connect texts to their world knowledge, and personal experience.
  • Writers
    • A writer’s content comes from and builds on his/her experiences.
    • Writers think about and use what they know about genre, text structure, and conventions as they write.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians use current understandings as first steps in the problem solving process.
    • Mathematicians use their prior knowledge to generalize about similar problems and to choose problem solving strategies.

Monitoring Meaning and Comprehension

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers monitor their comprehension during reading - they know when the text makes sense, when it does not, what does not make sense, and whether unclear portions are critical to overall understanding of the piece.
    • Readers and researchers must learn to pause, consider the meanings in text, reflect on their understandings, and use different strategies to enhance their understanding.
  • Writers
    • Writers monitor during their composition process to ensure that their text makes sense for their intended audience at the word, sentence and text level.
    • Writers read their work aloud to find and hear their voice.
    • Writers share their work so others can help them monitor the clarity and impact of the work.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians check to make sure answers are reasonable.
    • Mathematicians continually ask themselves if each step makes sense.
    • Mathematicians discuss problems with others and write about their problem solving process to clarify their thinking and make problems clearer.

Asking Questions

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers ask questions before, during and after reading.
  • Writers
    • Writers monitor their progress by asking questions about their choices as they write.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians ask questions before, during and after doing a math problem.

Fix Up Strategies

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers ask themselves these questions when not comprehending: Does this make sense?; Does the word I’m pronouncing sound like language?; Do the letters in the word match the sounds I’m pronouncing?; Have I seen this word or parts of it before?; Is there another reader who can help me make sense of this?; What do I already know from my experience and the context of this text to help me solve this problem?
  • Writers
    • Writers revise and edit continually to improve clarity for the reader.
    • They experiment with and make changes in overall ideas and content, word choice, organization and conventions.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians listen to others’ strategies and adjust their own.
    • Mathematicians use tools (i.e. manipulatives, graphs, calculators, etc.) to enhance meaning.


Synthesizing Information

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers and researchers retell or synthesize what they have read. They attend to the most important information.
    • Readers capitalize on opportunities to share, recommend and criticize books they have read.
  • Writers
    • Writers make plans for their writing before and during the drafting process.
    • Writers study other writers and draw conclusions about what makes good writing. They work to replicate the style of authors they find compelling.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians generalize from patterns they observe.
    • Mathematicians generalize in words, equations, charts and graphs to retell or synthesize.

Using Sensory Images

  • Readers and Researchers
    • Readers create sensory images during and after reading. These images may include visual, auditory and other sensory as well as emotional connections to the text and are rooted in prior knowledge.
    • Readers and researchers use images to draw conclusions and to create unique interpretations of the text.
  • Writers
    • Writers consciously attempt to create strong images in their compositions using strategically placed details.
    • Writers create impact through the use of strong nouns and verbs whenever possible.
  • Mathematicians
    • Mathematicians visually represent thinking through drawings, pictures, graphs and charts.
    • Mathematicians visualize concepts in their heads (i.e. parallel lines, fractions, etc.)

« Back