What can teachers do to improve their students’ reading comprehension?

Page 6: Click and Clunk Strategy

Student workingAfter completing the Preview strategy, Mr. Dupree’s students begin reading the text. As they do so, they apply the Click and Clunk strategy. The purpose of this strategy is for students to:

  • Monitor their understanding of word meanings as they read
  • Identify unfamiliar vocabulary and use fix-up strategies to understand the text

Sad Car graphicIn the Click and Clunk strategy, the words that students instantaneously understand are called clicks. The words that make no sense to them and so interfere with comprehension are known as clunks. Clunks are analogous to potholes in a road that impede the process of smooth driving. To decipher the meanings of these clunks, students can use a cluster of word-identification strategies (i.e., fix-up strategies). 

Click and Clunk Strategy

Activities: applying fix-up strategies

The teacher demonstrates the difference between a click and a clunk. The teacher reinforces this distinction by reading or asking the class to read a short section of text and then having students report any clunks they may have encountered.

Students who encounter a clunk must apply one or more of four fix-up strategies:

  1. Reread the sentence as though the clunk was a blank space and try guess another word that might be appropriate in place of the clunk. There is a good chance that the clunk is a synonym.
  2. Reread the sentence with the clunk and the sentences before or after the clunk to look for clues (i.e., other words or phrases that may partially indicate the meaning of a clunk).
  3. Look for a prefix or suffix in the clunk that may help to define its meaning.
  4. If possible, break the clunk into smaller, more familiar words that may indicate the clunk’s meaning.

Click here to view a sample learning log with the Click and Clunk section filled in.

Teachers should decide how much text students should read before they stop to Click and Clunk. For example, the text might consist of:

  • A paragraph
  • A multiple-paragraph section
  • One page

Each of these has its pros and cons: Generally, reading shorter passages leads to increased comprehension but may take up more class time, whereas longer passages shorten the overall activity time but may not foster as deep an understanding of the text. 

Click on the movie to watch some students implementing the Click and Clunk strategy (time: 0:17).

 

View Transcript

 Reprinted with permission from the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, copyright  ©  April 18, 2009