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Why You Need to Teach Your Students Textmapping (and a Free Checklist!)

I was circulating the room as my students were reading a passage, stumbling through it and slouching in defeat. I knew that once again many of them would have no clue what they were reading. I’m not a reading teacher … how could I possibly help them?

It seems like the longer I teach, the more students’ reading ability and comprehension decline. Even some of my Honors students had issues!

In my state students MUST pass the state exam given at the end of my course in order to graduate. The exam is written at a 9th grade level. Yet I have students in 9th grade who are reading at a 2nd grade level. What chance do they have of passing that state test?

To make matters worse, every year I’m evaluated on my passing percentage. It was imperative that I try something new to support these students.

Then I stumbled across textmapping. Read this post for more information on teaching a lesson with textmapping.

image showing textbook being highlighted

What is Textmapping?

Textmapping is a visual strategy that changes students’ view of their textbook. It involves marking different text features 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 changes the format of the text which will also change the way students interact with and understand it. 

image of textmapping scroll

Since it’s low tech, textmapping is easy to teach and learn. Students at all grade levels, as well as special eduction, can benefit from this reading strategy.

Textmapping is a powerful 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’ll see a comprehensive view of the text. As they work with the text, they’ll see the connection between text features and the organization, content, and meaning of the text.
  • Textmapping requires activve reading skills. Students are 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 they still have left to do.
  • They can see other students’ thought processes. It’s beneficial to see how other students interacted with the text.
  • It’s effective with most learning styles. Scrolls are easier for students with learning disabilities to work with because they are able to use more of their senses. 
  • They can learn skills and strategies to increase their comprehension. Lower ability students often think that they can’t do anything to improve. Mapping the text shows students that comprehension is not just something that comes naturally.
  • It only takes a glance across the room to see if students are working or if someone is having difficulty, making textmapping easy to monitor.

Download Your Free Text Features Cheat Sheet

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!

Hello! Welcome to my little slice of the Internet!

I’m Debbie … retired teacher, curriculum writer, nature-lover, and bibliophile. I love planners, both paper and digital … planning is my “me”time! I live in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State with my husband and our 3 furbabies. That’s me in the picture above with our two horses, Clifford and Shy … they are in addition to our other 3 pets.

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