SMART (Self Monitoring Approach to Reading and Thinking)

Middle elementary and above

  • Comprehension
  • Monitor comprehension
  • Identify reading problems
  • Use repair strategies
  • Metacognitive skills

Strategy steps:

  1. The teacher should model the steps in the SMART strategy several times before asking the students to use it independently.
  2. Teacher provides guided practice.
  3. After students read a section of the text, ask them to use a pencil and place a check mark next to each paragraph they understand. They place a question mark by each paragraph they do not understand.
  4. At the end of each paragraph, students stop and explain to themselves in their own words what they read. They may look back at the text as they do this.
  5. When students finish the assigned section, they go back to each question mark and reread the paragraph to see if it now makes sense. If students still don’t understand it, they proceed with the following steps:
    1. Determine what the problem is:
      1. Is it a word that is not familiar?
      2. Is it a difficult sentence or confusing language?
      3. Is it a topic that is not familiar?
    2. Try a repair strategy:
      1. Use the glossary or some other vocabulary aid.
      2. Look at the pictures or other graphics.
      3. Examine other parts of the chapter (summary, review section, diagrams, or other features).
    3. Get help by asking the teacher or a classmate.
  6. Teacher provides independent practice:
    1. Have students read a passage independently using the check mark and question mark system.
    2. Students work through the SMART steps with a partner, verbalizing what is understood and not understood, and working together to solve any problems.
    3. Emphasize that before asking for help, students should be able to identify the source of their problem and what they have tried to solve their problem.