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Highlighting Part 2

The last blog post was in regards to highlighting to increase understanding of the directions, simplify the grammar by focusing on what the message of the sentence included, and increasing reading comprehension. This post goes along with this idea of increasing reading comprehension. This strategy is used for older students (typically 2nd grade and older after they have mastered the first highlighting strategy). For this strategy, you will need 2-3 different colors of highlighters.


For a given reading passage, students are asked to read a section (no more than a paragraph at a time in the beginning). After they have read a section, we discuss what the main idea was. Typically for the younger students, the main idea is the first sentence read because that is how the writers of their level of reading typically write. The student will then highlight the main idea in one color (I personally like yellow). From there, students are asked to figure out what details are used to support this main idea. These details will get highlighted in a second color (any color besides the color used for the main idea).


A third color can be used to highlight words the student is unsure of the meaning. These words can then be explained to increase comprehension of the passage.


This is continued through the entirety of the student's work. Some paragraphs may be a continuation to a main idea in a previous paragraph and thus won't get a main idea highlighted. Continue to highlight the details though! Once you are finished, the student will have a passage that is marked with all of the important information. Come time to answer comprehension questions or explain a particular topic, the students have an easier time. This method of highlighting also leads to student's remembering the content!


This method has been successful through a student's entire education, including college! As students become proficient, they are able to highlight while they read the passage and thus can complete the highlighting as they read the textbook, novel, or articles.


Example: Main idea: Yellow Supporting Details: Pink Vocabulary: Green

Rosa Parks was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She spent her childhood in Alabama. When she was 11, she enrolled in the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. Later, she worked as a seamstress in Montgomery.


Rosa Parks has been called the "mother of the civil rights movement" and one of the most important citizens of the 20th century. In the early 1950s, the bus system in Montgomery, as in many parts of the United States, was segregated. Blacks were required to board the bus at the front, buy their tickets, and then re-board the bus in the back. Sometimes, they weren’t able to get on the bus again before it drove away. They were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus, which sometimes made it difficult to get off at the right stop. Even if they were sitting in the “black section”, they were still required to give their seats up to white passengers if the “white section” was full. In December of 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger. The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance.

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