Rainbow Strategy {Reading Comprehension}

Hi friends!  It's Amanda here from Teaching Maddeness.  I haven't blogged here in a while and I posted something on my Instagram feed yesterday that had a lot of inquiries.  I thought I would come here to blog about it since it's a perfect strategy to use with grades 2-3.

It's definitely nothing ground-breaking.  And, I'm sure lots of teachers do this or something similar.  But, it is oh-so-effective!

I named it the "Rainbow Strategy" because I have my kiddos use a rainbow of colors.  There may be an official name for it, but since I just came up with this in my little room, I figured I could name it what I wanted. :)

Basically, it's just having students color-code text based evidence.

I start out at the beginning of the year by having my students "prove it" when they have a passage to read and comprehension questions to answer.  I don't want them just "guessing" or thinking that they remember the answer.  I want them to go back to the text and "prove it."

In doing so, I have them take out a yellow crayon to use as a "highlighter" (of course, you could be all fancy and give them real highlighters to use...they would eat THAT up)!  Before they record an answer, they have to go back to the passage and "prove it" - find the answer or clues that help them arrive at an answer and highlight those.

We practice this. A lot.  We do it guided.  They do it with partners.  We do it in small groups.  They do it independently.  It gets to the point that I don't even have to tell them to "prove it". 

Once they get the hang of proving it, I teach them to be even smarter readers.  We learn to read the questions BEFORE reading the passage so that our reading brains know what to listen for.  This is when I start the "RAINBOW strategy" - as students read the questions BEFORE reading the passage, they highlight each question - each in a different color.

After all questions are read and highlighted, they read the passage.  As they read, when their brain hears the answer to one of the questions, they highlight it in the same color as the question and then record the answer.

I love this strategy for several reasons...

1) It keeps students accountable.  No more guessing on answers.  They have to cite evidence and "prove it" to me.

2) I can see exactly what they were thinking when they wrote their answers down.  If the answer is incorrect, I just look for the matching color to see where they got their answer and what they were thinking. 

3) It makes students look closer at the passage and dig for clues on higher-level questions to come up with answers on their own.

Plus, let's face it - the kiddos LOVE using crayons while they READ! :)

Have you ever used this strategy?  Do you have other tips/tricks/strategies that you use to hold students accountable?


  1. I've used a similar strategy where my students have to back and underline where they found their answers. I've had them number the underlined places to correspond to the question. I hadn't thought about using colors! The kids will love this!

  2. I have used the same strategy as Tara in the above comment. I usually just use a yellow color or highlighter. But I really like the idea of mixing all the colors together. It seems that it would let the student focus more on the text that they are reading. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I've also used the underline strategy, but this seems to take it up a notch! I think it would really help some of my readers focus on looking for specific evidence!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  4. Awesome! This will be great as a testing strategy! Thank you for sharing. I'm "pinning" for later :)

  5. I will be doing this starting next week. Thanks for sharing!

    Simply 2nd Resources

  6. I have always wrote the color word after the question so they knew what color to use to underline their proof in the story... Like the idea of underlining the question in the color too!

  7. I have the students underline the answer in the text but never thought of doing it your way with highlighting the question in one color and the answer in the matching color. What a great idea!

    Smiling and Shining in Second Grade

  8. I do this with my students as well. I also use highlighting tape in books. I laminate 4 x 6 index cards and then add 4 different colors of the tape. They keep the card in the pocket on my chart and know to get it when we read our book stories. We use the same4 strips of tape all year long.

  9. I understand what you bring it very meaningful and useful, thanks.
    jogos friv
    juegos de autos de carrera


Back to Top