"Click or Clunk?": A Student Comprehension Self-Check

Students periodically check their understanding of sentences, paragraphs, and pages of text as they read. When students encounter problems with vocabulary or comprehension, they use a checklist to apply simple strategies to solve those reading difficulties.

Reserve at least a full instructional session to introduce this comprehension strategy.



  • Overhead transparencies of practice reading passages and My Reading Check Sheet, transparency markers
  • Student copies of practice reading passages (optional) or reading/text books, My Reading Check Sheet


  • Prepare overheads of sample passages.

Steps to Implementing This Intervention

Step 1: Tell students that they will be learning ways to read more carefully. Hand out student copies of My Reading Check Sheet (see attachment at the bottom of this page).  


Review all of the reading strategies on the student handout.

Instruct students that, during any reading assignment, when they come to:

  • The end of each sentence, they should ask the question, "Did I understand this sentence?" If students understand the sentence, they say "Click!" and continue reading. If they do not understand, they say "Clunk!" and refer to the strategy sheet My Reading Check Sheet to correct the problem.
  • The end of each paragraph, they should ask the question, "What did the paragraph say?" If they do not know the main idea(s) of the paragraph, students refer to the strategy sheet My Reading Check Sheet to correct the problem.
  • The end of each page, they should ask the question, "What do I remember?" If they do not remember sufficient information, students refer to the strategy sheet My Reading Check Sheet to correct the problem.

Read through a sample passage with the class. At the end of each sentence, paragraph, and page, "think aloud" as you model use of the comprehension checks. (As you read each sentence, be sure to call out "Click!" when you and the class understand a sentence and "Clunk!" when you do not.)

Step 2: When students have learned to use the "Click or Clunk?" strategy, have them use it in independent reading assignments.


  • Anderson, T. (1980). Study strategies and adjunct aids. In R. J. Spiro, B. C. Bruce, & W. F. Brewer (Eds.) Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Babbs, P. J. (1984). Monitoring cards help improve comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 38(2), 200-204.

Jim's Hints

Create Silent "Click/Clunk" Signals. Although it may seem rather silly to have students call out "Click" and "Clunk" as an aid to monitor their own reading, .the technique is actually quite valuable. When students must make regular summary judgments about how well they comprehend at the sentence level, they are more likely to recognize-and to resolve-comprehension errors as these mistakes arise.

You might find, however, that students start to distract each other as they call out these comprehension signals. Once you see that students consistently use the technique, you can train them to softly whisper the signal. Or confer with your students to come up with an unobtrusive non-verbal signal (e.g., lightly tapping the desk once for "Click" and twice for "Clunk") that is obvious enough to allow you to monitor readers' use of the technique without distracting other students.