School-Based Intervention Idea from


Reading Comprehension: Mining Information from the Text Book  (Garner, Hare, Alexander, Haynes, & Vinograd, 1984)

With ‘text lookback’ the student increases recall of information by skimming previously read material in the text in a structured manner to look that information up.

First, define for the student the difference between ‘lookback’ and ‘think’ questions. ‘Lookback’ questions are those that tell us that the answer can be found right in the article, while ‘think’ questions are those that ask you to give your own opinion, belief, or ideas. When faced with a lookback question, readers may need to look back in the article to find the information that they need. But readers can save time by first skimming the article to get to the general section where the answer to the question is probably located. To skim efficiently, the student should (1) read the text-lookback question carefully and highlight the section that tells the reader what to look for (e.g., “What does the article say are the FIVE MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES of whales today?”), (2) look for titles, headings, or illustrations in the article that might tell the reader where the information that he or she is looking for is probably located, (3) read the beginning and end sentences in individual paragraphs to see if that paragraph might contain the desired information.


Garner, R., Hare, V.C., Alexander, P., Haynes, J., & Vinograd, P. (1984). Inducing use of a text lookback strategy among unsuccessful readers. American Educational Research Journal, 21, 789-798.

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