reading strategies   

content areas   

online training   

families reading   


The List/Group/Label strategy offers a simple three-step process for students to organize a vocabulary list from a reading selection. This strategy stresses relationships between words and the critical thinking skills required to recognize these relationships.

List/Group/Label challenges students to . . .

  • List key words (especially unclear and/or technical terms) from a reading selection.

  • Group these words into logical categories based on shared features.

  • Label the categories with clear descriptive titles.

Steps to List/Group/Label:

  1. Select a main topic or concept in a reading selection.

  2. Have students list all words they think relate to this concept. Write student responses on the chalkboard. Note: Since the concept is presented without a specific context, many of the student suggestions will not reflect the meaning of the concept in the reading selection.

  3. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4 students. Have these teams join together related terms from the larger list. Have the teams provide "evidence" for this grouping—that is, require the students to articulate the common features or properties of the words collected in a group.

  4. Ask the student groups to suggest a descriptive title or label for the collections of related terms. These labels should reflect the rationale behind collecting the terms in a group.

  5. Finally, have students read the text selection carefully and then review both the general list of terms and their collections of related terms. Students should eliminate terms or groups that do not match the concept's meaning in the context of the selection. New terms from the reading should be added, when appropriate. Terms should be "sharpened" and the groupings and their labels revised, when necessary.

Learn More:

  • Taba, H. (1967) Teacherís handbook for elementary social studies. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

  • Lenski, Susan D., Wham, Mary Ann, & Johns, Jerry L. (1999). Reading and learning strategies for middle and high school students. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

  • List-Group-Label