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Combining Reading Strategies and Multiple Intelligence Research


School has started up in Murfreesboro, and I am most excited about teaching my new set of readers this year. One of my summer goals was to create a multiple intelligence approach to reading instruction, specifically reading strategies, and I am happy to share my findings with you.

Musical- Rhythmic Learners


I am an avid reader, and I love the simplicity of Tanny McGregor's Comprehension Connections. McGregor has some postings under readinglady.com that include reading strategy bookmarks set to well-known tunes (e.g. London Bridges for visualizing). For your musically inclined students, taking a second to include a reading comprehension song in your instruction will go a long way.  You can download the free bookmarks here (PDF), and you can purchase her CD comprehension songs for ten dollars here (PDF).

Another free resource available on-line is Wisconsin based "Into the Book" site at http://reading.ecb.org/.  The direct link for the reading comprehension songs can be downloaded here for free. The site is worth looking through as it also includes visual posters and video demonstrations of students talking about reading strategies (supports visual-spatial).

Visual-Spatial Learners


The application of reading strategies is naturally abstract and unseen. However, I took some of the Comprehension Connections ideas and turned it into an instructional bulletin board to aid those visual-spatial learners in our classroom.  I call this our comprehension board (right side of picture). An example would be using a trash can for inferring. With a staged trash can I can slowly pull out each item while modeling my inferring thoughts about the person that the trash belongs to. These concrete examples will aid students with the application of the strategies we teach.

The decoding board (left side of picture) works in the same manner. And yes, I have found that some upper grade students need help decoding words. I can't remember the last time I said, "Sound it out," in class, but I do remember complimenting a student on using the chunky monkey or the skippy frog method. You can click on the photo above for a closer look.

To download the posters I made for my comprehension board, click here (Microsoft Word).

To download the posters I made for my decoding board, click here (Microsoft Word).

Bodily-Kinesthetic and Naturalistic Learners


I combined these two because I think about myself as a reader (and writer). The "where" my reading and writing occurs is very important to me, and I am sure this applies to most of my students.  Although this is not directly related to teaching reading strategies, I think it is worth merit to say opening up your room to let students spread out on the floor and/or outside will increase the application of the strategies we teach. I have the benefit of a porch and patio, and I quickly learn who my naturalist learners are when I allow students to read (and write) outdoors.

Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Learners


Throughout the year I will ask students to reflect on their use of reading strategies. This is one way to support my intrapersonal learners, as they can best explain their understanding of using reading strategies through this method.  This year, I will be using Fountas and Pinnell's Reader's Notebook for reading reflections, letters, and reading logs. I plan on utilizing this most during my individual reading conferences with each student.

For my interpersonal learners, I plan on creating long term reading partners (lasting 6 weeks or so). According to Kathy Collins, author of Growing Readers, it is NOT beneficial to place a "low" reader with a "high" reader as it only reinforces the dynamics. Her example was running with a partner that is training for a marathon, when she is new to the racing scene. With this in mind, having long (er) reading partners will open up conversation and the ability to relate to each other for reading comprehension discussions more effectively.

Verbal-Linguistic Learners


We use the workshop method, which includes daily time for readers and writers to talk to the class during our book talk and author's share time.  The good news is that you don't have to use the workshop method to build in time for a book talk.  Just create five minutes in your schedule and select five students each day to share what they are learning about themselves as a reader.  They can share how certain reading strategies have helped them with comprehending better, as well as advertise the exciting books they've come to love. You can further support your verbal-linguistic learners during individual conference time, as these learners show what they know best through talk.

Logical- Mathematical Learners


I didn't want to leave out my mathematical thinkers out here. I have focused on purchasing quality math themed books for my classroom this year, and I have already seen it pay off on the first day of school. Well, actually it was registration day and it wasn't my student. However, a parent noted that she was surprised her younger child (that isn't particularly interested in reading) spent his entire time reading a math based book during our registration time.  She made the comment, "I think it's because it feeds his logical mind." She helped me remember that we need to think of these learners during our reading block. When we provide books that interest our logical readers, we increase the application of reading strategies across the board.

And for those of you who have not read A Million Dots by Mike Reed, this is my favorite math book of all time. The facts in this book are fascinating, and it is, in fact, made up of one million dots. So, did you know that if you take a number two pencil and start drawing a straight line it will extend...wait, I don't want to ruin this one for you. Go buy it today!

Concluding Note

Do you have anything to share? Let's work together, as I know this is not the exclusive list of multiple intelligence strategies for teaching reading.

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That is because I am moving to another school. Anything that starts with www.bar.rcs.k12.tn.us/teachers/bunyia... will no longer work in the next upcoming days. The good news is that I am moving everything over to www.mrsbunyi.com in the next week or so. I'll try to see if I can adjust the links on this blog later to help anyone visiting this blog.



Kimberly Delay

I would love your decoding posters- however- the link is not working. Thanks!!


I haven't read anything that puts those two components together, but I would predict that using MI methods that help a student learn better and remain engaged is going to have a positive effect on management and behavior.

If any readers know of research that supports this, let me know.


ionie  blake

what connection is the connection between multiple intelligences and classroom management/

Angela Bunyi


Great questions. I follow the gradual release of responsibility model. That means that when a strategy is introduced the students usually just watch me, and I do all the work, including making the anchor chart. The next phase might be post-it notes. Students put their individual responses down and when called on, they post-it on the chart being used for the lesson. I often write down what students say and give them credit as well. Ex- "We can find answers sometimes by rereading-Mark" Eventually, the students create their own work on paper, although I have had students make their own anchor chart for guided reading before. Overall, I think whatever works best for you.

Room- There is very little wall space for us, so I have to ask myself which charts are being used? Which ones do I refer to? Keep those up, remove the others. Also, you may want to layer a few (we have the sticky post-it kind) so that you can pull it out when needed.

Topics/Books- My recent posts actually answer this question. I have three books I use often for anchor chart ideas. Tanny McGregor, Stephanie Harvey, and Debbie Miller. I would check this out if you have a second.

Best to you,



I am new to anchor charts and need help! Who does the writing...me or the kids? How do I find room to put them all up? What are some topics that I might start with? Is there a book about anchor charts? Thanks!

Angela Bunyi

I can't claim the idea as original. I saw it a few years back on readinglady.com. Each one can be downloaded/opened above, but here is the quick summary:
Upper grade focus:
1)Chunky Monkey- chunking up the parts of the words you know
2) Tryin' Lion: Does that make sense? Try that again. This is a significant issue for some upper grade readers. They replace a word and don't stop to ask if it makes sense.
3) Skippy Frog: "Skip it, skip it" Slip the word then hop on back to figure it out (equivalent to context clues).
To help our book buddies:
4) Stretchy Salamander- the equivalent to sounding out the word.
5) Eagle Eye: Look at the pictures. See if that helps you.

Side note- I once had a teacher ask if this might be too young for the upper folks. I find the first three methods VERY helpful for strategy focus...especially tryin' lion and skippy frog. I do admit that it is used in the beginning before switching over to comprehension strategies as the focus.

Hope this helps! Again, you can open up each poster for printing or viewing...



Hi Angela, I love your decording bulletin board, and the catchy phrases and animal characters you use. I cannot see all of them on your picture above, would you mind sharing them with us? (chunky munky, etc....) What a fun way to teach decoding! Thank you!

Angela Bunyi


I DO rock, but you rock too! I think it is such a nice thing to see someone take a second out of their day just to say kind words. It makes me want to go out and thank others for their hard work as well.
Thank you for keeping me going....


Julia Hubbs

Hi Angela,
I just wanted to say that I love your website. I found so many useful things and great ideas to use in my classroom. You rock!!! :)

Angela Bunyi

Hey Kristina,
You hit the nail on the head....make that connection from the younger to the older. That is how you keep their interest high. Last year, for example, we started having a high amount of K-1 classroom teacher visits. My principal, a K teacher for 20+ years, noticed this and made the comment, "It's because you have the heart of a kindergarten teacher." And when I taught middle school my principal said, "Angela, I think you are an elementary teacher stuck in a middle school." This was meant as a compliment by her, as I was considered highly successful with this age bracket (that class is in college now and still communicates with me).

So, have your kids sing, move, talk, and make learning hands-on like you did with the younger ones. You won't regret it!



Hey Angela,
Thanks so much for this article. This will be my first year teaching older students and your post has helped connect my previous experience with younger students to the older students! I really appreciated the visuals and the links to those fabulous sites! All the best!

Angela Bunyi

Hello Jeremy,

Thanks for the positive words. I will be posting a new blog Saturday morning...that is if I am still standing. Being sick the first week of school returning is a real bummer.

I hope you are doing well with your class (if school has started for you).



Hi Angela,

Just wanted to say nice work! Great posting and pics. Your students are lucky.


Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

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