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Lesson Plan

Guided Comprehension: Monitoring Using the INSERT Technique

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Grades 4 – 6
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Three 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



While students in grades 46 often have the necessary skills to decode words, they sometimes struggle with comprehending the words they have read. In this lesson, students use the INSERT (Interactive Notation to Effective Reading and Thinking) technique to help them monitor their own thinking and make connections between texts and their own experiences. Students begin with an introduction to the strategy and a teacher-directed demonstration of the strategy using a text about mummies. Students are then given an opportunity to practice the strategy in small groups and reflect on the benefits of the INSERT technique. In subsequent sessions, students are divided into three instructional-level groups to practice using the strategy and participate in various writing and reading activities.

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McLaughlin, M., & Allen, M.B. (2002). Guided Comprehension: A teaching model for grades 38. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Guided Comprehension is a context in which students learn comprehension strategies in a variety of settings using multiple levels and types of text. It is a three-stage process focused on direct instruction, application, and reflection.

  • The Guided Comprehension Model progresses from explicit teaching to independent practice and transfer.

  • Monitoring involves asking, "Does this make sense?" and clarifying by adapting strategic processes to accommodate the response.

  • INSERT (i.e., Interactive Notation to Effective Reading and Thinking) provides students with opportunities for reflection. Students make connections between prior knowledge and text content.

  • Current studies demonstrate that when students experience explicit instruction of comprehension strategies, it improves their comprehension of new texts and topics (Hiebert et al., 1998).

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Hiebert, E.H., Pearson, P.D., Taylor, B.M., Richardson, V., & Paris, S.G. (1998). Every child a reader. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA).

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