Fixing the Fuzziness

Fix-Up Strategies, Self-Monitor and Fix-Up

UDL 3.3 UDL 6.4

In Fixing the Fuzziness, students use questions or prompts to help them identify content that is unclear (i.e. "fuzzy") while reading a text, then apply previously taught reading comprehension strategies to "fix" or clear up the content to gain a better understanding. A teacher explains that strong readers constantly check for meaning (e.g. at the end of a sentence, paragraph, page, end of a book or passage) by asking self-monitoring questions, such as, "What's the 'who', 'what', and 'where' of what I just read?", "Can I make a movie in my mind?", or "Did I have a feeling/reaction?" When a student identifies a self-monitoring question they cannot answer (i.e. "fuzziness"), they are directed to use a variety of reading strategies to "fix-up" misunderstandings and gain more clarity (e.g. re-read the text, summarizing, context clues). This strategy allows students to actively self-monitor, and it teaches students techniques to independently correct confusions while reading.

Implementation Tips

Reading Support Tools
Create small Fixing the Fuzziness support tools that include prompting questions and the “fix-up” strategies for students to use while self-monitoring reading. These can be provided on a [[ | notecard ]], as a [[ | bookmark or reference sheet ]] for students to keep with other reading materials.
Prepare a Fixing the Fuzziness anchor chart to use when introducing the strategy to students, similar to this [[ | sample ]].
Pre-teach what students should do in order to self-monitor reading using the Fixing the Fuzziness anchor chart. Use a short text to model how students can check for comprehension and present the list of strategies students can use if a text is “fuzzy” and not clear.
Providing Support
Provide support to students that demonstrate difficulty initiating self-monitoring by writing in stopping points in the margins of a copied text or by flagging stopping points using sticky notes on texts where writing is not allowed. Gradually, the student can independently prepare texts using this same format.
Group Discussion
Conduct a whole class discussion after a class read aloud by having students reflect on any elements of the text that feels “fuzzy.” Students use Fixing the Fuzziness language to phrase their confusions, and then make suggestions about which strategies to use.

Sample Reflection: “I didn’t understand what a conundrum was.”
Sample Response: “We can use context clues or look the word up in a dictionary!”
Forming Partnerships
Form partnerships for students to practice the strategy with a learning buddy. Make sure both students in a partnership are reading at a similar independent level so that students can support one another while reading texts more effectively.
Building Routines
Remind the class to apply this strategy any time students are reading texts independently to develop a habit of self-checking for understanding and to help students evolve into reading problem solvers.


Strategy Group Work
Through observations, a teacher notices that some students are demonstrating difficulty recalling information from texts read independently. The teacher creates a reading strategy group and introduces Fixing the Fuzziness to help those students begin to monitor comprehension and realize when they have lost meaning while reading. Using a short instructional level story with a brief introduction, students begin to practice monitoring comprehension at the end of each page. If students feel “fuzzy,” the teacher asks guiding questions, such as, “Did you read it too fast, get distracted, or run into some difficult words?” Students then practice choosing “fix up” strategies.
Comprehension Check
A teacher uses Fixing the Fuzziness during a read aloud of [[,204,203,200_.jpg | The Phantom Tollbooth]] by Norton Jester, to remind students about the importance of monitoring understanding and recognizing when a text feels “fuzzy.” After reading an unfamiliar word (i.e., surmise) the teacher asks students tell a partner the strategies readers can use to make sense of the text. Students share their ideas (e.g., “You can reread slowly or read-on a bit to find context clues.”) While students share, the teacher circulates to assess student understanding. After, students receive strategy bookmarks to use while self-monitoring during independent reading.

Related Strategies