When a table is included in their reading, encourage students to follow these four steps for better reading comprehension:

Step One: Previewing and Comprehension

  • What is the title/caption?
  • What data is recorded in the columns and rows?

Step Two: Structural Analysis

  • How is the information organized?
  • How should the information be tracked and read?

Step Three: Content Analysis

  • Summarize the information the table conveys.
  • How does the table relate to the reading?

Step Four: Critical Analysis

  • Who created the table, for what purpose, and for what audience? Could the table be biased?
  • Does the information appear complete and current?
  • How can you use the information in the table? How does it relate to what you have read?