25 Anchor Charts That Nail Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is one of the most complex skills to teach. It’s also arguably


most important. Students will only succeed in other subject areas (and make a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure) if they understand what they are reading on an ingrained level. Many factors go into the development of reading comprehension, including building an extensive vocabulary, asking questions, making connections, and



Below, you’ll find 25 anchor charts for reading comprehension that tackle some of the trickiest parts. Use them as models for your own teaching and pass them along to a teacher friend!

1. Self-Monitoring Anchor Charts for Reading

Self-monitoring is key for success in reading comprehension at all levels. Giving students some questions to ask themselves as they read is a great first step toward understanding.

anchor charts for reading

SOURCE: Life in Fifth Grade

2. Choosing a Just-Right Book

Comprehension is deeply connected to children’s current reading abilities, and knowing how to choose a “just-right” book can help them gain confidence in their skills.

2 - Just Right Book

SOURCE: McDee’s Busy Bees

3. Understanding What Reading Looks Like

Setting expectations for what reading really looks like can help lay the groundwork for comprehension in this reading anchor chart.

3 - What Reading Looks Like

SOURCE: Head Over Heels for Teaching

4. Defining Words Anchor Chart

In order for students to understand what they’re reading, we have to give them strategies for when they encounter an unknown word. This anchor chart for reading is a great place to start. (An M&M word, for those who don’t know, is one with “multiple meanings” … get it?)

4 - What a Word Means

SOURCE: Creating Readers and Writers

5. Decoding

Giving fun names to decoding strategies can help students feel less intimidated by new vocabulary.

6. Using Context Clues

This anchor chart for reading helps students use context clues such as synonyms and word parts to become “word detectives” when they stumble on an unknown word.

6 - Context Clues

SOURCE: Teacher Trap!

7. Visualizing Anchor Chart

Visualizing is an important part of achieving reading comprehension—getting kids to see the “movie in their minds” as they read.

7 - Visualizing

SOURCE: Teaching With a Mountain View

8. Building Fluency Anchor Chart

Fluency is another important part of reading comprehension. When students are robotic in their reading expression and pacing, they have trouble understanding meaning.

8 - Building Fluency

SOURCE: Step Into Second Grade

9. Tackling a Text

While this anchor chart is specifically for test passages, we like the approach of breaking down a longer piece of reading into specific tasks to aid comprehension.

9 - Tackling Text

SOURCE: The Good Life

10. Retelling Anchor Chart

Retelling or summarizing is an important check on comprehension—can the student identify the main events and characters of the story? This anchor chart nails the concept.

10 - Retelling

SOURCE: The Techy Teacher

11. Finding the Main Idea

Understanding the main idea is one of the first higher-level tasks of comprehension: identifying what the text is mostly about, even if it’s not explicitly stated.

11 - Finding Main Idea

SOURCE: Life in First Grade

12. Understanding Character Anchor Chart

Ask students to distinguish between what’s on a character’s outside versus their inside to help garner their understanding of the text.

12 - Understanding Character

SOURCE: The Teacher Next Door

13. Point of View Anchor Chart

Understanding a story’s point of view can be challenging for beginning readers. This chart will help them pick it up and then implement it in their own writing, too.

13 - Point of View

SOURCE: Wise Guys

14. Character Journey Anchor Chart

Encourage your students to think about how a character changes from the beginning to the middle to the end of a story. Ask them questions like, “What made them change? Who was involved in the change? What did the character learn along the way?”

14 - Character Changes

SOURCE: Literacy & Math Ideas

15. Asking and Answering Questions

Questioning is at the heart of comprehension, helping students to bridge the gap between surface-level understanding (what happens in the story) and deeper meaning (the theme or moral).

15 - Asking Answering Qs

SOURCE: True Life I’m a Teacher

16. Going Deeper Anchor Chart

Teach your students the difference between basic yes-or-no (thin) questions and more involved (thick) questions. When students can answer harder questions about the story, their level of understanding will go through the roof.

16 - Going Deeper

SOURCE: Life in Fifth Grade

17. Cause and Effect Anchor Chart

Understanding cause and effect is another higher-order comprehension task. We love this anchor chart’s

Angry Birds

take on it!

17 - Cause and Effect

SOURCE: Mrs. Sandberg’s Smarty Arties

18. Making Connections

You can be sure kids comprehend what they read when they can start connecting it to themselves and to the world around them.

18 - Making Connections

SOURCE: Teacherific in 2nd Grade

19. Understanding Plot

This basic plot anchor chart can help students understand the “engine” that makes most stories go.

19 - Understanding Plot

SOURCE: Miss Klohn’s Classroom

20. Making Inferences

To make an inference, students have to differentiate between what’s being said on the page and what’s not. This anchor chart does a great job explaining.

20 - Making Inferences

SOURCE: Book Units Teacher

21. Inference Thinking Stems

These thinking stems can help students put their ideas about stories into words.

SOURCE: TrueLifeI’maTeacher

22. Evidence-Based Reading

Showing you understand what you are reading by pointing to evidence within the reading.



23. Author’s Purpose

Why did the author write this book? Was it to persuade, inform, or entertain? The author’s purpose may dictate how you read an article or story.


Lucky Little Learners

24. Synthesizing

Synthesizing is when readers change their thinking as they read. They are putting together all of the strategies they have learned to form thoughts, opinions, and conclusions.



25. Teaching Theme

Books are like a cream-filled cupcake. You never know what’s hiding inside.


Upper Elementary Snapshots

Add your favorite reading anchor charts to the comments below.

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