Easy To Use Literacy Tools Sure To Boost Authentic Student Reading Engagement

Updated: Jul 9

Readers need literacy tools to help guide them through the process of developing their reading comprehension skills into that of a proficient reader.

A Literacy Tool will break an abstract reading concept into smaller, more digestible chunks. With a Literacy Tool, the reading process will become a little easier for developing readers to understand and internalize the new reading strategy or skill. Readers will be better equipped to connect the reading process pieces together to build strong comprehension skills.

A Literacy Tool is a tangible item that readers can put their hands on as it guides them through the new reading learning.

A Reader's Toolkit should be created throughout the school year as readers are learning new strategies or skills to apply within their independent reading.

As a new reading strategy or skill is introduced, readers should be provided with a Literacy Tool that will guide them through the process of using that strategy or skill within their independent reading.

As readers use the strategy/skill specific Literacy Tool to guide their thinking within Independent Reading, they will begin to internalize the strategy/skill and will use it more automatically. The Literacy Tool will still be in their Reading Toolkit but they will be working on developing the automaticity of that strategy or skill.

Literacy Tools are not expensive purchases from a teachers' supply chain or computer programs that guarantee reading success. Literacy Tools are a variety of options that you can easily create!

✅Sometimes readers need questions or thinking stems.

✅Sometimes readers need an organizer to map out their thoughts.

✅Sometimes readers need a quick reference to the task like a mini anchor chart or shared reading experience.

✅Sometimes readers need a visual representation of the concept they are working on at the time.


Literacy Tools that can be introduced and then added to a Reader's Toolkit are...

  • content stuffed bookmarks,

  • graphic organizers,

  • think sheets,

  • visual representations and

  • mini anchor charts

Content Stuffed Bookmarks

A content stuffed bookmark is a small tangible, easy to create literacy tool that could have question stems, a quick reference to the skill/strategy, or a visual representation to help guide your reader as he/she thinks through the process of applying the new strategy or skill to their own independent reading.

The bookmark can be easily accessed and kept in your readers' independent reading book. The bookmark could be placed inside the Reader's Notebook.

Content Stuffed Bookmark for Tracking Characters

Think Sheets

A Think Sheet is very similar to a content stuffed bookmark but provides a place for your readers to write down their independent reading thoughts right on the literacy tool. The thinking stems provided or the questions to guide their thinking are written right on the tool and are specific to the new reading strategy or skill being introduced.

A Think Sheet is an easy-to-use tangible tool that will provide the support and guidance a developing reader will need to successfully apply the new strategy or skill that your readers are learning. Think Sheets are tangible and easy to create for your readers. These think sheets can also be placed inside a Reader's Notebook.

Think Sheets for Tracking Characters

Graphic Organizers

Graphic Organizers are also easy to create and tangible literacy tools that guide students through the thinking process of applying a new reading strategy or skill to their independent reading.

A Graphic Organizer is also similar to a Think Sheet. However, a graphic organizer leads the reader through a process of steps specific to the strategy or skill being applied to independent reading. This organizer helps guide the reader to a final conclusion. This easy to use literacy tool may also be placed in a Reader's Toolkit or Reader's Notebook.

Analyzing a Character

Visual Representations

When breaking an abstract piece of the reading process into smaller more digestible chunks for developing readers, visual learners need a visual representation.

When learning is made visible for developing readers, those readers that need visual support are better equipped to apply the new reading strategy or skill within their own independent reading.

Tracking Character Changes Throughout a Story

Mini Anchor Charts

Mini anchor charts are simple, easy-to-create literacy tools that can find a place in the Reading Toolkit or Reader's Notebook. A Mini Anchor Chart is a picture or recreation of the anchor chart cocreated between you and your readers during the minilesson.

Mini Anchor Charts have several different advantages for your readers. The mini anchor chart serves as a visual reminder of the learning that took place during the minilesson. Mini anchor charts can provide question stems, thinking questions and or a model of the strategy/skill being applied. Students have instant access to that information.

A bonus to creating mini anchor charts is when your readers are using the strategy/skill at home in their independent reading, your parents will have a visual of the minilesson thinking from class.

Mini Anchor Charts for Analyzing Characters

The complex reading process will become a little easier for developing readers to understand and internalize a new reading strategy or skill.

When using Literacy Tools, readers will be better equipped to connect the reading process pieces together to build strong comprehension skills.

Until next time...

Character Analysis Tools pictured above can be found in the Literacy Treasures Teachers Pay Teachers Store, Reading Toolkit: Tracking & Analyzing Characters

You may want to get your readers started with some basic reading tools with this⬇️

Or maybe you're interested in having Literacy Tools for multiple reading strategies and skills. Check out this Reading Workshop Minilesson Collection for Building Readers.


Here at Literacy Treasures, I LOVE to talk about reading and writing and share with teachers all that I've learned about what it takes to build strong readers and writers. I have immersed myself in the research of Lucy Calkins, Jennifer Serravallo, Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, Carl Anderson, Gay Su Pinnell, Irene Fountas and so many others.  Every resource, strategy, tool, minilesson and teaching tip that is shared on Literacy Treasures is rooted in this research