Say Something: A great partner reading strategy for improving comprehension

Working with a student who just doesn’t get it when he or she reads? Many students struggle with comprehension–it’s a common challenge among struggling readers and something all developing readers are working on. One thing tutors can do is just SAY SOMETHING!

Say Something is a partner reading strategy that allows a tutor to model good reading and the learner to practice it!

Say Something is a partner reading strategy that allows a tutor to model good reading and the learner to practice it!

Say Something is a guided reading strategy that allows a tutor to model the comprehension process while giving learners (students) a chance to practice meaning making (comprehension) as they read. Say Something was developed by Short, Harste and Burke (1996) and is a simple but powerful tool for guiding reading. Here’s how it works:

  1. The tutor and learner take turns reading a text–a book, story, textbook, article, or webpage. This is usually done out loud but can be done silently.
  2. When each has a read a few lines or sentences, they turn to their partner and “say something” about what they’ve just read. This might involve summarizing the material, sharing a connection to the text, or simply commenting on it. For example, the tutor might start by reading a few lines from a book and then he or she says something about it. Then the learner takes a turn at reading the next few lines and says something.
  3. Emergent and struggling readers might ask the tutor, “what can I say”? Say Something offers the following suggestions:
    • Make a prediction
    • Ask a question
    • Clarify something you misunderstood
    • Make a comment
    • Make a connection

Say Something requires the reader to think about what they are reading. Say Something fosters a discussion between the tutor and learner (or among a group of learners if there is more than one) about how to make meaning from a text. As we suggested, it allows the tutor to model the process and the learner to practice.

Say Something is also a good way to structure the reading of text or book with the tutor or learner taking turns.

Want to know more about strategies to foster comprehension? Check out the ReadWriteServe Tutoring website.



About bluegrassjb

I am an academic with a love for language, literacy and learning. The focus of my work is on student success at the K-12 and college levels. Outside of my professional interests I enjoy travel, photography and antiquing with my partner and wife. We like to hit the road in our travel trailer with the dogs and when at home party with the cats.
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