Reading Comprehension: RAP Strategy

Presented by: Chelsea Marzen

What is reading comprehension?

Comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read.

To be able to accurately understand written material, children need to be able to:

1. Decode what they read.

2. Make connections between what they read and what they already know.

3. Think deeply about what they have read.

Reference: Reading Rockets. Target the problem! comprehension. Retrieved from

Images by permission from: flickr Old Shoe Women's Photo Stream.

Support Students with Learning Disabilites

According to Williams 2000, students with learning disabilities may have the ability to process information, but they do so with great inefficiency.

  • Strategic processing is the ability to control and manage one's own cognitive activities in a reflective, purposeful fashion.

  • Metacognition is the ability to evaluate whether one is performing successfully.

The most effective approach to improving reading comprehension in students with learning disabilities appears to be a combination of direct instruction and strategy instruction.

  • Direct instruction takes learners through the steps of learning systematically, helping them see both the purpose and the result of each step.

  • Strategy instruction means teaching students a plan (or strategy) to search for patterns in words and to identify key passages (paragraph or page) and the main idea in each.

  • Model the strategy through a think aloud.

  • Provide students with visuals.

  • Give students many opportunities to practice the strategy.

  • Once a student learns certain strategies, he or she can generalize them to other reading comprehension tasks.


RAP Reading Strategy

What is the RAP Strategy?

According to Miller (2009), the RAP strategy is a paraphrasing strategy designed to help students recall the main ideas and details of content they read.

  • RAP is a mnemonic device to help students remember the steps in this cognitive process of reading.

1st Step: Read a paragraph

2nd Step: Ask yourself, “What were the main idea and details in this paragraph?”

3rd Step: Put the main idea and details into your own words.

Let's Try Out The RAP Strategy!

Study One: Results

Research compiled by Hagaman, Casey, and Reid 2012; suggest that RAP strategy taught using SRSD model may be effective in improving the comprehension of young, struggling readers.

Study Details:

  1. 6 third grade students
  2. Identified as fluent readers who experienced difficulty with comprehension
  3. With the RAP strategy all students show improved recall of main ideas and details.

  • The mean percentage of main ideas and details recalled for baseline was 18.7%, 20.3%, 17.5%, 15.3%, 28.7% and 14.0% [Gary, Betty, Jean, Katy, Amy, and Brian].

The effects of the RAP strategy show: the mean percentage of text recall during independent performance was 52.4%, 75.0%, 75.5% 63.2%, 87.0%, and 85.6% [Gary, Betty, Jean, Katy, Amy, and Brian].

Reference: Hagaman, J. L., Casey, K. J., & Reid, R. (2012). The Effects of the Paraphrasing Strategy on the Reading Comprehension of Young Students. Remedial And Special Education, 33(2), 110-123.

Study Two: Results

Base on the research compiled by Lauterbach and Bender 1995; the RAP strategy improved the reading level of three students identified as having mild to moderate cognitive disabilities by two grade levels.

  • Student A increased paraphrasing from 53% in the baseline probe to a mean of 88% in the maintenance probes and increased from a seventh grade reading level to a ninth grade reading level.

  • Student B increased paraphrasing from a baseline probe of 53%, to a mean of 93% on the maintenance probes and increased his reading level from seventh grade to ninth grade.

  • Student C increased in paraphrasing from a baseline probe of 53% to a mean of 88% in the post intervention phase and also show a two grade level increase from a seventh grade level to a ninth grade reading level.

Reference: Lauterbach, S. L., & Bender, W. N. (1995). Cognitive strategy instruction for reading comprehension: A success for high school freshmen. The High School Journal, 79(1), 58- 64.

Study Three: Results

Validation provided in Miller 2009; shows that students who were enrolled in ninth grade and scored more than two grade levels below ninth-grade reading comprehension attended a daily 50-minute strategic reading class for a semester where the RAP strategy was taught and implemented.

Result: On average, the students gained 1 .5 grade levels in reading comprehension in a semester.

Reference: Miller, S.P. (2009). Validated practices for teaching students with diverse needs and abilities (2ndedition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Personal Reaction and Recommendations

  • I like the Mnemonic and Visual aspect. I think this important because it helps students remember the steps of the RAP Strategy.

  • I like that the RAP strategy allows students to be active in their reading and helps them to think of the questions they need to be asking themselves while reading to build comprehension.

  • I would recommend that teachers use this with all students in upper elementary, mid level, and secondary level.

  • I would recommend that teachers spend the time to make sure and pre-teach how to find the main idea and details of the story.

  • Spend the time to model and teach the strategy before having students use it independently.

  • Offer the visual at the beginning, but challenge students to try using the strategy without a visual present.

  • Use the strategy in other curricular areas other than literacy.

I think this is a very good reading comprehension strategy that will benefit all students. The research shows improvement for all students and once taught is very easy to use. After researching and finding out more about this strategy I am definitely going to integrate it into my practicum experience.