Check for Understanding is the workhorse of comprehension strategies. It is the one we use consistently, either consciously or unconsciously throughout our lives. It is so critical to comprehension that we teach it and revisit it during whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as during individual conferences. One of the times we encourage children to use this strategy is while they are reading with a partner.
In the following video, Peter and Brian demonstrate the application of the Check for understanding strategy during Read to Someone. The strategy was initially introduced to the whole class as a way to work on comprehension.
An added benefit is Check for understanding helps keep the non-reading partner engaged during Read to Someone. One of our wonderful parents made the check marks out of balsa wood. They serve as a tangible reminder of the listener's important job, to remember the "who" and the "what" of the story. Be creative in making your own check marks. We've seen them on small tiles, paint samples, tongue depressors, and even out of fun foam! Ours have a check mark on one side, and the other side reads, "Who" and "What."
You will see an improvement in your students' comprehension, engagement, and their ability to retell as they become proficient in this strategy.