DR-TA – Directed Reading-Thinking Activity



DR-TA is an instructional approach that invites students to make predictions, and then check their predictions during and after the reading (Stauffer, 1980).  The DR-TA teaches students how to self-monitor as they read and learn, which leads to an increase in attention, comprehension, and achievement (Duke & Pearson, 2002).


Teaching Process

1.   First, activate and build background knowledge for the content to be read.  This often takes the form of a discussion designed to elicit information the students may already have, including personal experience, prior to reading.  Also direct students’ attention to title, subheadings, and other textual and format clues.  Students’ ideas and information should be recorded on the board or on chart paper.

2.   Next, students are encouraged to make predictions about the text content.  Ask questions, such as “What do you expect the main idea of this text will be?” From the title, what do you expect the author to say in this piece?”  Students are often asked to write their predictions, so as to preserve a record of them as they read the actual text.

3.   Then guide students through a section of the text, stopping at predetermined places to ask students to check and revise their predictions.  This is a crucial step in DR-TA instruction.  When a stopping point is reached, ask students to reread the predictions they wrote and change them, if necessary, in light of new evidence that has influenced their thinking.  Their new prediction and relevant evidence should be written down as well.  This cycle gets repeated several times throughout the course of the reading.  There are numerous opportunities for the teacher to model his/her predictions, revisions, and evidence.  Also prod students’ growing understanding of the text with questions, such as “What do you know so far from this reading?” “What evidence do you have to support what you know?” “What do you expect to read next?”

4.   Once the reading is completed, students’ predictions can be used as discussion tools.  When students write and revise predictions throughout the reading, they have a great deal to say about the text.  Ask, “What did you expect to learn before we began reading?” and “What did you actually learn?” 

5.   Students should be guided to employ the DR-TA process on their own when reading.



Duke, N., & Pearson, P.D. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension.  In A. Farstrup & S.J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (205-242). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Stauffer, R.B. (1980). Directing the reading-thinking process. New York: Harper & Row.



From the