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Strategy Tally Sheet


In this activity, adapted from Kelley’s Comprehension Shouldn’t Be Silent (2007), students will create a tally sheet where they track the number of times they use different literacy strategies. The purpose of this activity is to track the literacy strategies students are using, use that data for reflection, and encourage students to expand their strategy repertoire.


• Decide the focus of the tally sheet. Do you want students to track a variety of strategies (making connections, making inferences, questioning, visualizing) or do you want students to track elements from one specific strategy (predictions: using headings, covers, background knowledge)? • Select a text. The tally sheet works best with longer texts like a novel.
Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce Strategy Tally Sheet.
    Discuss as a whole class how surveys or collecting data can be useful in our lives. Model a sample tally sheet for students. Imagine you want to eat healthier. Create a two-column chart. On the left write a list of different foods. Ask students how often in the last week they have eaten each food. Tally all of the answers. Discuss with students how the data could be useful. Introduce the strategy tally sheet as a way to collect data on our use of literacy strategies.
  2. Create tally sheet.
    Create a two-column chart. The left column will include the list of strategies and the right column will be for tallying the number of times each strategy was used.
  3. Model tally sheet.
    Review each of the strategies listed on the tally sheet. For example, if the tally sheet included making inferences, making predictions, and visualizing, review each of those as a refresher for students. Explain to students that as they read their text, they should mark a tally for every strategy they use. For example, “As I am reading this paragraph, I stop and visualize what the setting is like. I make a mark in the tally column in the ‘visualize’ row.”
  4. Read text and mark tally sheet.
    As students are reading their text, the tally sheet is nearby so they can mark the use of strategies as they are reading.
  5. Reflect on data.
    At the completion of the text, students will reflect on their tally sheet. Students can reflect individually or as a group, orally or in writing. · Which strategy did you use most often? · Why do you think you used that one the most? · Which did you use the least? · How could you begin to incorporate that strategy more often? · How does seeing which strategy you used most often change your ideas about reading text? · Do you think you might now push yourself to use other strategies you used less often?
Downloadable Resources 
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