M.A.P for Understanding

MAP can help readers retell, summarise and synthesise ideas

MAIN Events

Map the MAIN events (Uses “Right there” information)

The first step involves retelling the main events and details of the story. Making sure the basics of the story are comprehended.

This is like going on a trip and remembering every place that you stopped at, then sharing the key point from every place on the trip

  • Who are the characters?
  • Where is the story set?
  • What are the main events?
  • What order did the events go in?
  • What is the problem?
  • How was the problem solved?


  • Re-tell
  • Re-read
  • Skim for main events and details

For more resources go to MAP for UNDERSTANDING  or READING STRATEGIES for Older readers


Abbreviate and condense (Uses both “Right there” and “Think and search” information)

After retelling, readers need to determine the importance of the events and summarise ideas into a brief statement. This involves abbreviating and condensing ideas, in their own words, into a statement of events.

This is like giving a friend a brief overview of the holiday including the key places, highlights, feelings and purpose of the trip.

  • Who were the main characters?
  • What was the main problem of the story?
  • How was it resolved?
  • What was the big idea of the story?
  • What was your favourite part?


  • Summarise
  • Determine importance
  • Text to self
  • Scan for key facts and details

For more resources go to MAP for UNDERSTANDING  or READING STRATEGIES for Older readers


PROCESS and TRANSFORM (Uses both “Think and search” and “On your own information” and ideas)

Finally the reader needs to link the condensed information to ideas in the book to their own prior knowledge. As the two ideas connect, the reader should process and combine these ideas, to transform their thinking and let new ideas evolve as a result.

This is like combining ideas from this trip and the big idea of travelling that include different spaces, people and places and being able to create and share big picture ideas that combines all of these things.

  • What do you think the author’s beliefs or ideas were about (topic)?
  • What were the big ideas in this story?
  • What were some new ideas about (topic) that this story has had you thinking about?


  • Synthesise
  • Text to World
  • Comparing
  • Self Questioning

For more resources go to MAP for UNDERSTANDING  or READING STRATEGIES for Older readers

Reading Together

Reading with someone can be a delightful experience, it can add to the adventure, spark debate or create a shared memory. On this page we shall share some reading together ideas with you.

Reading is not just about decoding the letters and being able to say the words on the page, reading is about understanding, connection and seeing that authors and publishers bring their own perspectives to what and how they publish. Reading shouldn’t be a chore, reading should open up possibility. Using levels of reading can be a useful diagnostic tool/step for helping develop some of the complex skills and strategies used in the reading process, but any reader who defies themselves by the level they are on, has been shortchanged.

Children who sit and look at books and retell or create their own stories using the pictures are still readers.

Some of the things these reader like to do include

  • Choosing their own books and talking about them, creating stories and developing characters based on picture clues
  • Explore the way to hold and read a book, finding out how to locate the front and end of a book
  • Ask and encourage more experienced readers to read to them- even if it the same story over and over again
  • Show curiosity about print in the real world and want to test out their own skills as an author by creating their own marks with print making materials.
  • They may even begin discriminating between images and text.

Some fun things to do with them include

  • Rereading the  same story over and over again they continue to pick the same book.
  • When you have finished reading, discuss what they like about the book. Was it because it was funny, or the character was a certain animal or reminded them of someone?
  • Have a think about other books you know, or ask around and see if there are other books with a similar theme or focus that your young reader liked, then begin introducing new possibilities for future reading. (This may expand your reading options or it may not. I had to read “Time to Get out of the Bath, Shirley”
    by John Burningham nightly for two years, before a new favourite emerged)
  • Have fun reading together, use expression,funny voices where possible, even add toys into the retelling of a story.
  • The big idea at this time, is to develop a LOVE of reading before anything else.

Helping Younger Readers Understand Books

RIGHT THERE” information

When we ask these questions we are looking for information that is right there in the words or pictures.

Sometimes these questions start with

  • WHO are the characters?
  • WHERE is the setting or information from?
  • WHAT is happening?

Follow up these ideas with questions that show where the ideas match evidence is in the text

  • How do you know that?”
  • Can you show me where you found that idea in the book?

 Reading Strategies for younger readers

  • Picture Walk
  • Look and Talk
  • I spy

 “THINK AND SEARCH” information

When we ask these questions we are looking for information that is in the book but we need to connect ideas or draw conclusions. We have to put ideas together.

Sometimes these questions start with

  • HOW and WHY (e.g. Why do you think the character…? How did being in a river help…?)

These questions help us to

  • COMPARE or CONTRAST ideas and information
  • Look for CAUSE and EFFECT patterns
  • Find what is MISSING or HIDDEN

Reading Strategies for younger readers

  • I remember
  • Guess and check
  • Check In
  • Who What Where

“AUTHOR AND ME” questions

When we ask these questions we are looking for use information from the text but make connections to our own lives and ideas.

Sometimes these questions start with

  • From what you know about… why did…?
  • The author said…what do you think that means?

These questions help us to

  • Be CRITICAL thinkers

 Reading Strategies for younger readers

  • I think, I feel
  • I wonder

 “ON MY OWN” question

When we ask these questions we are looking for people to share judgments or opinions. The answers aren’t in the text; they are about exploring big ideas or underlying messages.

Sometimes these questions start with

  • I wonder why…?
  • What else is possible?

These questions help us to

  • Be CRITICAL thinkers

 Reading Strategies for younger readers

  • Stop think Share

Adapted from ideas in  “QAR  NOW” by Taffy E. Raphael, Kathy Highfield, Kathryn H. Au