GIST: A Reading Comprehension Strategy
If you’re a teacher, you’re well aware of the struggles some students face when it comes to reading comprehension. GIST is an effective strategy designed to help readers improve comprehension and retention of complex texts. In this post, I’ll explore the history of the strategy, how to use it, why it’s effective, and ideas for the classroom.
What is the GIST strategy?
GIST is a reading comprehension strategy designed to help students identify the most important information and write a brief summary for an entire text or a section of text using 15 words or less. The goal of a GIST summary is for students to convey the “GIST” of what they read without the extraneous details.
What does GIST mean?
GIST stands for Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text. The strategy was developed in 1982 by James Cunningham, PhD, professor emeritus of literacy studies at the University of North Carolina. The GIST strategy requires students to write accurate summaries using 15 words or less. As Cunningham describes it, GIST is conducted first as a whole class, then in small groups, and finally individually.