Metacognitive Skills - Synthesizing


Brief Explanation

  • Definition: the combining of information from various sources.  In this sense, synthesizing is creative.  Readers must create a single understanding from a variety of sources.  Being literate in the 21st century means being able to deal with multiple information sources and make sense of it all.
  • The ability to take information and put it together to form something new.


  • “Synthesizing involves reflection across text.” (p.149, Duffy, 2003)
  • “Synthesizing often results in a product.  We usually synthesize because we are creating something new or producing a solution to a problem.” (p.149, Duffy, 2003)
  • Readers need to bring together parts or elements of text to create a new understanding. (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)
  • “Synthesizing is the strategy that allows readers to change their thinking.” (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000)

Clearly Identified Key Outcomes

Use your programs of study for curriculum outcomes related to print awareness. Please refer to the CESD’s Essential Outcomes work.
Here is a 
K-9 Scope & Sequence of Reading Outcomes from the English Language Arts curriculum.

Balanced Assessment Practices

  • T-Charts that list predictions (before) and support (during) reading.  After finishing a selection, a third column should be added where students can adjust their predictions.  Evaluate students based on whether or not their prediction is logical rather than if it’s correct.
  • Teacher-student discussions.
  • Student-student conversations.
  • Journaling

    Purposeful Instructional Strategies


    • KWL charts
    • Graphic and semantic organizers
    • Prediction
    • Conversations (teacher – student & student – student)
    • Think-Aloud
    • Deepen background understanding
    • Analogies
    • Explain synthesizing as: “putting the pieces together in a new way”
    • Verb list for synthesizing: create, imagine, extend, compose, predict, hypothesize, compare/contrast, explain, invent, infer, improve, design, suppose that, produce, connect, outline, sort, synthesize, and categorize


      • Answering questions about the text while reading – using Bloom’s Taxonomy
      • Generating questions while reading – using Bloom’s Taxonomy
      • Story maps, retelling, story questioning as they read
      • Stop and clarify – check for understanding as reading
      • Reading with the intent of expanding personal understanding by integrating reading with personal knowledge
      • Relate important ideas to each other


        • Summarizing learning in KWL chart
        • Questions – Bloom’s Taxonomy
        • Create summaries by consolidating short paragraphs or passages, into only the most important, main ideas.
        • Summarize text by identifying main ideas and supporting details.
        • Expanding personal understanding by reflecting on how the text can be integrated with personal knowledge
        • What connections does this reading make for you?
        • What are you thinking or wondering about now?
        • How have our opinions and ideas, feeling and thoughts about the text changed?



        • Provide a description of important information to know and include specific strategies.

        Personalization of Learning

        • Have students relate information from text to their lives.
        • Student questions: “What am I taking away with me?”, “What information is useful to me?” and “How does it fit, or not fit, with what I know?”