Underlining for Comprehension – This strategy helps students reduce a lengthy passage into a comprehensible and manageable size by marking the text using a systematic technique. On the FCAT, students are allowed to write on the passages to be read. Therefore, if they have been trained to underline effectively, they may be able to increase their comprehension.

  1. Introduce the strategy by giving the students key points.
    • read the entire text before marking
    • be very selective about what and how you mark
    • be quick
    • be neat
  2. Teach the students a system they can use. Pauk (1974) suggests the following:
    • double lines underneath main ideas
    • single lines underneath supporting details
    • circle key words/terms
    • jot a brief summary in the side margin
  3. Model this system continually in all the content areas and allow plenty of opportunities for independent practice with feedback.


Pauk, W. How to study in college (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974.

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