Sticky Note Reading


“Sticky note reading involves using sticky notes to tab specific points of interest or points of strategy application in a text during reading. It helps readers engage with text and focus on specific aspects of the reading process. It requires them to consciously apply reading strategies –and to think metacognitively about those strategies, in other words, to think about and articulate their thinking. And most importantly, it builds readers who are active participants, not passive recipients, of the reading process,” (Jamison, n.d.).

Ways to Utilize Sticky Notes during Reading:

  • Document
  • Recall
  • Personalize Information, (Rener, n.d.).
  • Questions over material.

Tips for Sticky Note Reading:

  • Keep the writing on the sticky notes short.
  • Set rules on the number of sticky notes that can be used on each reading assignment.
  • Have the students use their sticky notes in class discussion after the reading, (Jamison, n.d.).

Benefits of this Strategy:

  • Students are actively engaged in their reading.
  • Helps with recall of major topics.
  • Helps students organize their thoughts during reading.
  • Students are thinking and articulating their thoughts and questions in writing.
  1. Monitoring comprehension is the first and most important strategy. It is teaching yourself to think about what you are reading. You might stop and highlight when parts are interesting or identify when you have no clue what you really read. It’s the most important strategy since it is the basis for all other reading strategies.
  • Activating prior knowledge means thinking about the topic of a text and considering everything you know about that topic. This is helpful for readers because it helps set the stage in your mind for further learning. Give a set amount of time for students to brainstorm what they known about a topic prior to reading about it. Then, give time for students to share out.
Prior Knowledge
  • Making connections means relating what is read to things in real life or in other texts or movies. Making connections can be especially helpful when learning challenging science or math topics. Once you can relate a new concept to something else, it becomes much easier to generalize and concretely understand.
  • Visualizing is using the words in the text to create a picture in your mind. I often tell kids that it is like making a movie in your head using the text itself. This is also one of my favorite strategies to teach because you can use drawing or role playing to show how you visualize a text. A student might write, “I can picture when…” or “I can visualize this part in my head by seeing…”.
  • Questioning is coming up with questions about a text before, during, and after reading. This can also be a really fun strategy to teach, since it inspires students to engage in research and continued learning. Let students start with some stems such as “I wonder…” and “This part makes me question why…”.
  • Getting the gist means to put the “gist” or main idea of a passage in just a few words. This is the essential “did I really get that?” strategy, and a great tool for kids to use to make sure they are understanding what they are reading.
  • Making inferences is finding clues in the text to figure things out that aren’t explicitly stated. While this strategy is important in many texts, it is critical with higher level language and challenging novels. This can also be fun to teach when using news articles. Students might use this strategy starting off with “I can tell…” or “One thing I can infer is…”.
  • Determining importance is exactly what it sounds like: finding the most important parts in a text. While it sounds simple, it is often more challenging for students to learn. By forcing kids to identify what the three most important parts in a text are, they must really look critically at the text and use higher order thinking skills. Students might write, “I can tell this part is important because…”.
  • Synthesizing means being able to change your thinking after reading a text. It is putting different texts or media together to have a new understanding on a topic.


Jamison, L. (n.d.). Sticky Note Reading – The Comprehension Connection. Retrieved July 17, 2014 from

Rener, K. (n.d.). Sticky Note Reflections. Retrieved July 17, 2014 from



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