Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Using the Check and Line Method to Enhance Reading Comprehension

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time Thirty minutes for introduction; teacher discretion for independent reading and practice of the technique
Lesson Author

Cammie Singleton

Mobile, Alabama


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Complete assigned reading

  • Relate prior knowledge to the reading

  • Comprehend the reading

  • Retain new information

back to top


Instruction and Activities

1. Begin the lesson with a whole-class discussion on how students can read textual information to assist them in understanding a new topic. (Lead students to understand that reading their texts can help them further understand the subject matter that teachers are required to cover during the course of the school year.)

2. Relate this discussion of the purpose of reading texts to a current topic that you are covering in class.

3. Point to a section of text related to the current topic and have students skim the selection. Ask them to point out what types of information are covered in the text. For example, some students may notice a graphic explanation, while others may point out the boldface definitions.

4. Begin a K-W-L chart on the topic presented in the reading. Complete the first two columns by asking students, "What do you know about ?" and "What do you want to know about ?"

5. Introduce the check and line method to students. As Dunn states, "This system allows students to monitor their comprehension line by line by placing a light pencil check in the marginal white space beside the line if they fully understand it and a dash or line if they do not. They then continue reading to the end of the paragraph and return to the lines that stumped them for rereading" (p.169). If students are still confused after rereading, they can seek help from an outside source such as a peer buddy, a teacher or parent, or a print or online resource, such as Dictionary.com. The key is for them to become mentally aware of their reading and learn how to monitor their own comprehension.

6. Model the check and line method with a small section from the text to show students exactly how it works. When you finish going through the text the first time, introduce the acronym GMR, which stands for go back, motivate your brain, and reread. This method can be used as a reminder when returning to the "-" marks in the margins. Display the acronym and its meaning somewhere in the classroom where all students can easily see it from their desks.

7. Assign students to independently read the remainder of the assigned text selection and apply the check and line method while reading. Circulate the room while students are reading to assist those students who are struggling or need further instruction. Make sure that students are also applying the GMR method, and encourage them to go back, motivate their brain, and reread the parts that they originally marked with a line. Assist students in using alternate resources or a peer buddy to clarify meaning.

8. After reading, have students record any new information that they learned from the text using the interactive Stapleless Book. As part of their stapleless book, have students also reflect on how the check and line method helped them to learn and understand this new information. The printed version of the book serves as a good reference for students' later study, as well as an easy way for teachers to assess each student's comprehension of the reading and understanding of the check and line method.

9. Return to a whole-class discussion and record the "L" section of the K-W-L chart by asking students "What did you learn about ?"

back to top



Have students use the check and line and GMR methods when reading other content-area texts independently. Continued use of these methods will help students incorporate them as a standard practice when reading their texts.

back to top




  • Teacher observation during whole-class discussion and independent reading

  • Anecdotal records

  • Stapleless Book to ensure that the student completed the reading and applied the check and line method

  • Teacher-made test (fill in the blank, multiple choice, true/false, written response) following the reading to assess comprehension of the information


back to top