Do you have students who struggle with reading comprehension? Science textbooks and content articles are full of unfamiliar vocabulary. The sheer number of words on the page may intimidate students who are not strong readers. Textmapping is a reading strategy that can really make a difference in your students’ comprehension of their textbook and other written content. Read my earlier post about using informational text.
What is Textmapping?
I came across textmapping while I was doing some research on ways to improve my students’ reading comprehension. I’m not a reading teacher but have always had a strong interest in improving science literacy in my students. So I immediately dug into it more and discovered that it was definitely something I wanted to try with my students.
Textmapping is a visual strategy that literally changes students’ view of their textbook. It involves marking different text features in order to improve understanding and retention. It’s considered to be a version of pre-reading since students are dynamically interacting with the text before they read the content.
It’s a very simple technique to start. The first step is to copy the pages (single-sided) of the text or article that you’ll be mapping. When each student or group has their copies, have them tape the pages in numerical order end to end from left to right. The result is a scroll that literally changes the format of the text which will also change the way students interact and understand it.
It’s very low tech. All you need are the scrolls, tape, and highlighters or colored pencils. It’s also relatively easy to teach and learn and can be used at all grade levels and special education.
Textmapping is a great way for teachers to model reading comprehension and study skills while teaching course content at the same time.
What Are the Benefits of Textmapping?
- Students learn reading strategy. When they work with scrolls they will see a comprehensive view of the text. As they work with the text, they’ll see the relationship between text features and organization, content, and meaning.
- Textmapping uses active reading skills. Students are literally moving around the scroll, leaning over it, and physically interacting with it by marking on it. Marking the scroll forces students to think.
- Student understanding is directly linked to the text. The map becomes a visual reference of the content with clear, accurate details.
- The map is a visual representation of students’ thought processes. It’s easy for them to see how much they have done and what is left to do.
~They can compare their scrolls with others’. It’s beneficial to see other students’ thought processes and how they interacted with the text.
- Textmapping is effective with most learning styles as well as for students with learning disabilities. Scrolls are easier for them to work with because they are able to use more of their senses.
- Mapping the text shows students that comprehension is not just something that comes naturally. There are skills and strategies that they can learn to increase their comprehension.
- A benefit for the teacher is that textmapping is easy to monitor. It only takes a glance across the room to see if students are working or if someone is having difficulty.
If you’d like to try this awesome reading strategy, I’ve put together a free checklist to help you get started. It lets you organize lessons using textmapping and has a handy color guide for each text feature.
Have you tried textmapping in your classroom? How did it go? We’d love to hear from you!