Learning Strategy
  • appropriate text
  • CAATS strategy sheet
Target Student

Students who struggle with comprehension and critically analyzing text.


The CAATS strategy is an acronym that stands for Creator, Assumptions, Audience/User, Time and Place, and Significance. The purpose of this strategy is to help students look closely at these features of a text. This strategy also assists students in critically analyzing the stated and unstated messages of a given text.

How To

1. Choose an appropriate text.

2. Students should now read the text and should be able to demonstration comprehension of the text's main ideas.

3. Look over each feature of the CAATS strategy with the student. Perhaps display this acronym over a projector or on the board for students' reference. Optional: Model the strategy on multiple texts before independent use of the students.

4. Give students their own copy of the CAATS strategy.

5. Have the students look at each element of the strategy by examining the text and investigating. They may be allowed to utilize the Internet and/or other sources. Ask the students to utilize evidence to back up their thinking. Optional: Students may work in pairs or small groups. Prompts should be provided as needed.

6. Provide a column where students can note any questions or comments.

7. Using a master template, record each students' responses in a whole-group setting.

8. Have a whole-group discussion about what the students learned from the text and what they gained about its make-up and context.

Adapted from 40 Strategies for Guiding Readers through Informational Texts

(Moss, B., & Loh-Hagan, V. (2016). 40 strategies for guiding readers through informational texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.)  


Annenberg Learner. Democracy in America: The Constitution: Fixed or flexible? Retrieved October 10, 2015, from

Appleman, D. (2010). Critical encounters in high school English: Teaching literacy theory to adolescents (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2007). Critical media literacy Is not an option. Learning Inquiry, 1(1), 59-69.

Leu, D. J., & Zawilinksi, L. (2007). The new literacies of online reading comprehension. The New England Reading Association Journal, 43(1), 1-7.

Loh-Hagan, V. (2014). How to teach historical documents. Annenberg Learner. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from

McClatchy Washington. (2013). Founding fathers framed today's budget battles, in a sense. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from

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