Two Column Note-taking Strategy


To increase student comprehension and engagement with challenging texts by identifying important ideas and concepts and responding to that information.


Students will increase their comprehension of complex texts through close observation and higher level thinking.

Action Steps

In a notebook divided into two columns (“Key Ideas” and “Response,”)

Students write down the key ideas from a reading or section

Specify the level of expected detail and use prompts, such as:

  • What are the most important ideas here?
  • What new terms/concepts are being introduced?
  • Under “Response”, use prompts, such as:
    • Why is this concept important to this unit?
    • How does this information connect to your own life?
    • What do you think of this idea? Do you need clarification?


Are these strategies helpful?