Comprehension Planning Cards

The Cards

Downloadable copies of the cards can be obtained by clicking the links below.

Decision Wheel – Axis of Emotion – Role on the Wall – Venn Diagram – Tell Me Grid – Hot Seating

Responding to Illustration – Visualisation – Describing a Scene – Double Bubble – Inside Outside – Diamante Poem

Statement Sorting – Poetry Machine – Blackout Poetry

Zoom Room – Three Wishes – Parcel Delivery

Beehive Summary – Timeline – Flowchart

Downloadable templates for many of the above ideas can be found here

The Instructions

The Tell Me Grid

Use this to collate key features of the text under the four headings – People – Places – Story – Time. Eachsection can be split in two to record predictions and the actual content. See the example’Tell Me Grid for Prediction’ in slideshow below.


Can be used to compare two characters – two settings – two books by the same author – the film and the book … can also be used in maths!

The Axis of Emotion

Plot the emotions of a character as a story progresses – identify how they feel at different points … and why.

The Decision Wheel

Used when a character has a decision to make or faces a dilemma. Write the dilemma in the centre. In the middle circle children identify up to four possible actions. In the outer circle, the write the positives and negatives of each course of action.

Role on the Wall

To deepen understanding of a character. What we know – the literal – is recorded on the outside and what we infer – thoughts and feelings – are recorded on the inside.

Responding to illustration – approach 1

Ask children what do they notice/see in the image? 

Have they they seen anything like this before? 

Ask them to discuss the image in their groups and make notes of these initial thoughts. What  can they see? Does it prompt any questions? Is there anything that puzzles them? 

Responding to illustration – approach 2

Working with a partner, ask children to write down a list of 5 things that they can see in the illustration. 

Ask each pair of children to work with another pair to compare their lists – did anybody notice something new? 

Gather children’s ideas to make a class list of what they can see

Model how children could expand single word responses into short noun phrases and then descriptive sentences. 


Using an extract of text ask children to draw what they read.

They might choose to draw a series of images or one drawing to show what they are visualising. After pupils have had enough time to draw, ask them to annotate their illustration with any words or phrases that particularly inspired their drawing 

Describe a scene

1. Write a sentence to describe an object in the scene using words related to colour and shade.

2. Write a sentence to describe the setting using words related to colour and shade.

3. Describe a noise you might be able to hear.

4. Write down what is happening in the scene.

Double Bubble – fiction

This works in a similar way to a Venn diagram. The differences are recorded in the boxes down each side and the similarities in the middle. It is a very flexible tool and can be used to compare characters, settings, books, chapters etc.

Double Bubble – non-fiction

This works in a similar way to a Venn diagram. The differences are recorded in the boxes down each side and the similarities in the middle. It is a very flexible tool and can be used to compare people, places, living things text types and structural features such as contents and index.


This is a development of Role on the Wall and simply provides a structure to enable a written response to the Role on the Wall graphic and notes taken to enable a character study.

Statement Sorting

A series of statements about a topic are prepared in advance and children then discuss these and sort under headings. The simplest version uses Agree or Disagree headings and these can be extended to more choices such as Strongly Agree – Agree – Disagree – Strongly Disagree. Contexts could be about a character, relationships between characters, messages, morals and themes and so on.

Diamante Poem 

Can be used to compare two things and to summarise knowledge – cold deserts/hot deserts, predator/prey. The basic formula is:

Line 1 – Topic 1

Line 2 – adjective – adjective

Line 3 –  ‘ing word – ‘ing word –  ‘ing word 

Line 4 – 4 nouns (two for each topic)

Line 5 – adjective – adjective

Line 6 – Topic 2

See the slideshow of some of the ideas below.

The following ideas are taken from the book Reading Recharged by Alex Barton. This is such a practically brilliant book packed full of ideas. Highly recommended.

Zoom Room

Imagine you are designing a Zoom backdrop for a character. What would the colour scheme be? Why is this? What would be on the walls? What furniture would be in there and what does this say about the character.

Three Wishes

If you were to grant a character three wishes, what would they be? What in the text would suggest this?

Parcel Delivery

If you were to send a character a parcel, what would be in it and why would you choose this? The parcel could contain things that are real or abstract.

Beehive Summary

A way of summarising the key elements of a text. Particularly useful for longer texts such as novels.

Timeline and Flowchart

Another way of summarising similar to behalf summary above but this time in chronological order. Again a useful way of summarising a longer text. Could possibly be used to summarise each chapter.