Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes and Standards

Appendix E, Skills, Strategies and Tools for Instruction and Assessment

Grades 5 to 8 and Senior 1

Students engage in language activities that require the use of various thinking skills, strategies, and tools. These are best observed during the processes of learning. Observations can be used for student-teacher feedback or for assessment. Thinking skills, strategies, and tools for observation are listed below. (These are not exhaustive or hierarchical lists.)

Focusing, Attending, and Remembering
Integrating Information
Analyzing and Organizing
Other Skills, Strategies, and Tools

Focusing, Attending, and Remembering
  • brainstorming
  • accessing prior knowledge
  • setting purpose
  • attending to specific information
  • recalling
  • retelling
  • organizing thoughts
  • rehearsing
  • engaging in active listening
  • gathering information


Integrating Information
  • predicting and confirming
  • questioning
  • making connections
  • drawing conclusions
  • forming opinions
  • summarizing
  • restructuring information


Analyzing and Organizing
  • identifying attributes
  • comparing
  • classifying
  • using textual references
  • adjusting rates
  • identifying main ideas
  • identifying relationships
  • ordering and reordering information
  • identifying errors and gaps
  • skimming
  • managing time
  • scanning
  • outlining
  • sequencing
  • reviewing text


Elaborating, Evaluating, and Reflecting
  • discussing
  • explaining
  • conferencing
  • extending ideas
  • paraphrasing
  • inferring
  • predicting
  • describing
  • justifying/judging
  • verifying
  • sorting essential and non-essential information
  • summarizing
  • establishing criteria
  • self-questioning
  • using and giving feedback


Other Skills, Strategies, and Tools

During learning, students and teachers use a variety of skills, strategies, and tools to organize and clarify material being studied. Some are suited to specific learning tasks or stages of learning; others encompass a series of learning steps for broader contexts. The use of these skills, strategies, and tools in a variety of contexts may provide opportunities for teachers to observe student thinking and result in samples of student work to assist in student assessment and evaluation.

Some skills, strategies, and tools that students and teachers use include

  • Anticipation Guides
  • semantic maps (word, concept, character, and genre maps)
  • mind maps
  • lists and charts
  • Venn diagrams
  • journal entries
  • response logs
  • time planners
  • story grammars
  • graphic organizers
  • response guides
  • reading logs
  • text frames for writing
  • self-assessment profiles and checklists
  • sources (dictionary, thesaurus, spelling sources)

Many pre-established strategies and tools provide opportunities for learning and assessment. Pre-established strategies that could be used include

  • Anticipation Guides
  • Discussion Web
  • Frayer Model
  • KWL Plus (Know, Want to know, Learned)
  • LINK (List-Inquiry-Note-Know)
  • Narrative Reading Strategy
  • PReP (PreReading Plan)
  • Pyramid Diagram
  • QARs (Question-Answer Relationships)
  • Semantic Feature Analysis
  • SMART (Self-Monitoring Approach to Reading and Thinking)
  • Structured Notetaking

Other tools for teachers to use in observation and assessment include

  • anecdotal records
  • IRIs (informal reading inventories)
  • miscue analysis
  • running records
  • think-alouds
  • strategy interviews
  • strategy observations
  • rubrics
  • teacher checklists
  • self-assessment checklists



Anticipation Guides: Herber, H. Teaching Reading in Content Areas. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978.

Discussion Web: Alvermann, D. "The Discussion Web: A Graphic Aid for Learning across the Curriculum." The Reading Teacher 45.2 (1991): 92–99.

Frayer Model: Frayer, D., W. Frederick, and H. Klausmeier. A Schema for Testing the Level of Cognitive Mastery. Working Paper No. 16. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Research and Development, 1969.

KWL Plus: Carr, E.G., and D. Ogle. "KWL Plus: A Strategy for Comprehension and Summarization." Journal of Reading 30.7 (1987): 626–31.

LINK: Vaughan, J., and T. Estes. Reading and Reasoning Beyond the Primary Grades. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1986.

Narrative Reading Strategy: Duffield, G. The Narrative Reading Strategy. Winnipeg, MB: The Winnipeg School Division No. 1 Diagnostic Learning Centre, 1994.

PReP: Langer, J. "Facilitating Text Processing: The Elaboration of Prior Knowledge." In Reader Meets Author/Bridging the Gap. Eds. J. Langer, and M. Smith-Burke. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 1982. 149–63.

Pyramid Diagram: Solon, C. "The Pyramid Diagram: A College Study Skills Tool." Journal of Reading 23.7 (1980): 594–97.

QARs: Raphael, T. "Teaching Question-Answer Relationships Revisited." The Reading Teacher 40 (1986): 516–22.

Semantic Feature Analysis: Johnson, D., and P. Pearson. Teaching Reading Vocabulary. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984.

SMART: Vaughan, J., and T. Estes. Reading and Reasoning Beyond the Primary Grades. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1986.

Structured Notetaking: Smith, P., and G. Tompkins. "Structured Notetaking: A New Strategy for Content Area Readers." Journal of Reading (Oct. 1988): 46–53.

For a more detailed list and description of skills, strategies, and tools used in Manitoba, refer to the following documents:

Manitoba Education and Training and Training. Success for All: A Handbook on Differentiating Instruction. Renewing Education: New Directions series. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Education and Training and Training, in press.

---. A Thinking Framework: Teaching Thinking across the Curriculum. Renewing Education: New Directions series. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Education and Training and Training, 1996.