Embedded Reading

Simplify, Scaffold, Succeed!!

Embedded Reading in the Curriculum: First 11 Ideas

There is no one “right” way to incorporate Embedded Reading in the curriculum.
Each teacher, each department, will look at the options for implementing Embedded Reading and make decisions.   They may sound simplistic but consider these guidelines:

  • Students should be engaged and interacting with the reading and about the reading.
  • Students should be able to comprehend, answer questions and discuss the reading, given appropriate guidance and support.

Here are some options for including Embedded Reading:

  1. Begin with the base reading on Monday (for example).  Students read (translate if necessary) and then illustrate the base reading.  Tuesday students listen to the base reading (read by the teacher) and point to the appropriate part of the illustration as the sentence is read.  The reading can take place in or out of order.   Students then read the next version of the story and answer a series of true/false questions (for example) about any part of the reading.   Each day of that week, use a new version of the reading and different activity for each version.   By Friday, the students will have a very thorough understanding of the material, repeated comprehensible exposure to the structures and language and have participated in a variety of activities (which may also include listening, writing or speaking about the topic addressed in the story/text.)

2.    Use an embedded reading routinely when reading a novel or novella.   Begin each novel with the base reading (see Esperanza example in Spanish file) and the second version along with activities.  Then read Chapters 1 and 2 as a class (along with whatever activities are usually done).   Go back to the embedded reading and read version three.  Discuss what has already happened in Chapters 1 and 2.  Identify what is now going to happen based on the embedded reading. (i.e.There is going to be a fight.) Make predictions about details. (How will it start?  Who will be present?  How will it end?)  Read Chapters 3-5.  Continue to alternate between the novel and the embedded reading.

3.  Use an embedded reading to look at the details of a particularly important section of a longer piece.  (for example see Chapter 1 of Pirates in the French section)  If a particular chapter of a novel, or a particular paragraph in an article contains a large amount of important information, break it down using the “Top Down” approach.  Use the versions created, beginning with the base reading, so that the students have a very clear view of this particular section of the reading.

4. Use an embedded reading at the end of each unit.  It can be created to include a number of the concepts, vocabulary words and language structures from the unit.

5.  Use an embedded reading to introduce a song.  The lyrics can be an embedded reading or part of an embedded reading that includes a “backstory” to the song.

6.  Use embedded readings to focus on what people think, feel and say.  The base story can be a narrative.  Version 2 will include what characters are thinking.  Version 3 will add what characters are saying.  Version 4 can include what characters feel based on what they think and in reaction to what other characters have now said and done.

7.  Use embedded readings to compare/contrast a point of view.  (See Vantage Point in Spanish Readings)

8.  Use embedded readings to prepare students to be comfortable reading the type of  selections that will appear on a standardized test (district or otherwise).

9. Teach the strategies involved in creating “Bottom Up” embedded readings to have students become better writers.   Students can create base readings or add on to existing versions.  Give students as much or as little support as necessary.

10.  Teach the strategies involved in creating “Top Down” embedded readings to have students “pare” down a complicated text into a more comprehensible version.

11.  Work with another teacher (if you work with a team).  The first 2-3 versions of the reading could be done in English / Language Arts and the 4th and 5th version in Social Studies or Science depending on the content.

These are just short summaries.  If you would any of these ideas in further detail, let us know!


All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

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