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You Can’t Highlight a Textbook! Improve Reading Comprehension with Text Marking

Finding new and exciting ways to improve reading comprehension can be tricky. There are many tried and true methods out there, but one of my favorites is to use text marking. What is text marking you may be asking yourself? I will tell you all about it!

What is text marking?

Simply put, text marking is a way to improve reading comprehension skills in your students. Text marking helps students identify different parts of the text while reading. Text marking can include labeling, highlighting, circling, underlining, or otherwise distinguishing various features of the text. 

Some common things to distinguish in text marking are headings, captions, quotes, tables, and graphs. Drawing our students’ eyes to these parts of the text they are reading will help them to better understand as they read. These snippets of information that are highlighted by text marking help students to have an idea of what a certain text will be about even before they read one word of the actual body of the text. 

Why is text marking important in the classroom?

Students who learn to focus on the parts of a text that are highlighted by text marking will have a better idea of what they will be reading about. Their focus will be better attuned to the topic of the text and they will make better connections. The more connections our brains make with different types of material presenting information like the text itself, the headings, photos, captions, graphs, and tables that accompany it, the better it is remembered. 

Text marking makes the seemingly daunting amount of information placed in front of a students seem like a job that can be tackled. By breaking a piece of text down into smaller chunks with text marking, students will not be so overwhelmed. When presented with something difficult in life, we all need to look at it one piece at a time, or we may shut down and say it’s too hard. The same is true for our students. Looking at a long piece of text seems hard, but when you know you need to look for specific things to mark, it’s much easier in small chunks. 

When is text marking a good thing to practice in the classroom?


Text marking can be used with basically any information that needs to be read in the classroom. This can include texts for reading class like books and stories, obviously. What you may not realize is that text marking is especially helpful in subjects like history where remembering important facts and dates is important. It is also especially helpful in math where story problems are prevalent. Using text highlighting to find important information is a crucial step in quickly solving math story problems. 

Learn to create your very OWN text-marking activities and fill your tailor-made library! Add your name below to learn more about Teacher Template Toolbox:

How can I use text marking in my classroom?

Great question. Text marking can be used in the classroom by simply going through reading assignments with students and breaking down the pieces of information they should focus on. Take time showing your students how to highlight the headings, photos, captions, graphs, and tables as they go. 

What resources do you have to help me with my text marking goals with my class?

I was waiting for this question. I think text marking is hugely important in helping students achieve better reading comprehension and have spent a lot of time making great resources for you. Here is a link to all of the text-marking resources available on I’ll break down a few of them for you below.

Historical Reading Text Marking Resources

World Landmarks Volume 1 and World Landmarks Volume 2 Reading Passages & Text Marking are a great place to start. Inside you will find a plethora of information for your students to read about the most important landmarks around the world. From the Eiffel Tower to Mach Picchu, your students will learn to look within these passages for information. The reading passages suggest specific colors to use for highlighting particular pieces of information. Details like the locations of the landmarks and how big they are are easily identifiable in different colors. 

Text Marking Detective Resources are always a hit! With topics ranging from historical figures like the Founding Fathers, Medieval Knights, and Marco Polo, you are sure to find someone your students will love learning about. There are also important topics your students need to know about like the War of the Roses, The Day of the Dead, and the New Deal

Each Text Marking Detective Resource will present students with easy-to-print reading passages, as well as detailed instructions on how to find important information. Once the information has been highlighted by students, there are comprehension questions to answer. Students will easily find and remember the answers to the questions because they’ve taken the time to highlight them. 

Is text marking for you?

Easy answer? Yes. Text marking is a great way to improve your students’ reading comprehension skills. With text marking, students are taught how to find out and highlight important information in any reading text. Soon, the act of physically highlighting the text will not be necessary and your students’ brains will do all the highlighting before they read.

Which text marking activity will you start with? Head on over to to peruse the text-marking resources for yourself! 

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