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Three-Level Guide

A Three-Level Reading Guide is a printed form students use to analyze a text selection. This guide allows students to record their reading comprehension at three levels:

  • Literal Level–Understanding the literal meaning of the words and ideas in a reading selection.

  • Interpretive Level–Grasping the "message" of the selection or understanding what the author meant by the passage.

  • Applied Level–Relating the selection's message to other experiences or contexts.

Steps for Creating a Three-Level Reading Guide:

  1. Ask students to read the selected text and immediately (without measured thought or reflection) answer these "interpretive" questions: "What does the author mean in this selection?" and "What is the document's single, overall message?" Have the students record their interpretations in the middle section of the guide, the "Interpretive Level."

  2. Next, encourage students to identify the key words and phrases in the selection that led to their interpretations. Write these words and phrases as simple sentences in the first section of the guide, the "Literal Level."

  3. Finally, challenge students to relate the central message of the selection to their prior knowledge and experiences. Have them draw specific, definable parallels and record these in the last section of the guide, the "Applied Level."

Learn More:

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

  • Vacca, R.D., Vacca J. (1995). Content area reading. (5th. Ed.). Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.

  • Three-Level Guide


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