Using the Storia Highlighter Tool

How to use highlighting for instructional purposes and to help students find deeper meaning in their books

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Why Use the Storia Highlighter?

Highlighting can be used for a many instructional purposes, from identifying key vocabulary to demonstrating an understanding of a particular reading skill or strategy.

It's also a vital tool for helping students in the upper elementary grades and beyond find deeper meaning in their books. For visual learners, viewing the highlighted text will help cement their learning. For tactile learners, the process of highlighting the text, whether in a physical or digital book, will enhance their comprehension.


How to Use the Highlighting Tool


Adding Highlights

Follow these steps to model how your students should use the highlighter tool:

  1. Tap or click the  + icon.
  2. Tap or click the highlighter icon. A highlighter icon will appear in the top right corner to show you that the highlighter is on and ready to use.
  3. To highlight a single word, simply tap or click that word. To highlight an entire phrase or sentence, drag your finger or cursor across the words you want highlighted.
  4. When you are finished, tap or click the highlighter icon to turn the highlighter off. 

Remind your students that the highlighting feature is available in all Storia chapter books.

Deleting Highlights

If your students are highlighting a book assigned to a shared bookshelf, you may want them to delete their highlights when they've finished reading. Here's how they do that:

  1. Tap or click the  + icon.
  2. Tap or click the highlighter icon once it appears.
  3. To remove a highlight from a single word, simply tap or click that word. The “delete highlight” option will appear. Tap it, and the highlight will disappear.
  4. To remove a highlight from an entire phrase or sentence, simply drag your finger or cursor across the words from which you want the highlighting to be removed and tap or click the “delete highlight” option. 

Using the Highlighter for Reading Comprehension

Before students begin using the highlighter independently, model how the highlighter tool can help their comprehension. Work with your students to model and practice these instructional strategies and routines.

  • Set purpose. Explain that there are many purposes for highlighting. Your students should determine their purpose for using the tool and then stick with it.
  • Connect e-books and print. Show students that highlighting in an e-book uses the same skills as highlighting in a print book. Making this connection explicit will especially help students who struggle with transference of skills.
  • Introduce the value of using the highlighting tool for research. Pose a research question to your class. Then have students read a short selection of a nonfiction e-book and highlight relevant text that supports their research ideas. Ask your class to share the ways in which highlighting helped answer the question.
  • Reflect on highlights. Teach your students to “revisit” their highlights after finishing a book or a section of text. Engaging in this reflective practice will enhance their comprehension and help them retain new information.

Teacher Chat
“I noticed that many of my students were ‘highlighter happy’ and highlighting all sorts of text that didn’t seem necessary. This told me that I needed to review the specific purposes for highlighting and follow up with some lessons about determining importance. It took a while for my students to realize that this was another instance of ‘quality over quantity.’”

Using the Storia Highlighter to Enhance Instruction

You can focus your students’ attention in both whole- and  small-group instruction by highlighting text passages that need further exploration and analysis. You also can use the highlighter tool to turn your Storia e-books into mentor texts that model particular instructional points. Best of all, highlighting can serve as a motivational tool, encouraging students to explicitly practice literacy skills and strategies.

First, model reading skills and strategies using the Storia highlighter, then have students practice them by using the highlighting tool on their own. 

Teaching Reading Strategies

Strategy instruction and practice involves encouraging your students to focus on the more holistic features of the text to define the big ideas.

  • Clarify unfamiliar vocabulary. Have students highlight unfamiliar words. After using the infer-and-define strategy, they can write the highlighted words in their personal word lists.
  • Use context clues to determine unfamiliar words. Encourage students to define an unfamiliar word using context clues by highlighting words that surround the new vocabulary.
  • Make inferences. Remind students to go into the text to find and highlight evidence to support their inferences.
  • Draw conclusions. Model using the highlighter and notes tools to collect evidence from the text that supports conclusions and then have students practice highlighting evidence to support a conclusion.
  • Ask questions. As they read, have students highlight information in the text that inspires them to ask questions about the story line. Then encourage them to use the notes tool to record their questions.
  • Visualize. Show students how to identify words or phrases that help them envision what is taking place in the text. Then have them highlight those words.
  • Answer reading challenge questions. To give students practice answering text questions based on model text, use the Storia reading challenge questions (comprehension questions found at the end of many e-books) or post literal or inferential test questions at the end of a shared classroom e-book. You can use the entire e-book as a mentor text by highlighting specific passages that provide the answers to the test questions. After modeling and discussing text for test practice, have students practice these skills with their own e-books. They can practice with a partner as well.

Teaching Reading Skills

Skill instruction and practice focuses students on more detailed text features. In each of these activities, students will use the highlighting tool to identify details and evidence from the text that support the target skill. Encourage students to use the highlighter tool and note feature to:

  • Identify the main idea. Model finding textual clues that help identify the main idea.
  • Identify supporting details. Remind students to include inferences, notes, and character analyses.
  • Identify facts and opinions. Encourage students to practice differentiating between fact and opinion.
  • Identify characters’ feelings and traits. Model using text details to infer how a character is feeling.
  • Identify sequence. Point out that sequence of events can pertain to a character or action. 
  • Identify conflicts and resolutions. Encourage students to identify both the conflict and the potential solutions.
  • Identify the author’s purpose. Model finding text details that imply author’s purpose and point of view.  
  • Identify themes. Model scanning large portions of text to come up with common or recurring themes.
  • Identify story elements. Remind students to include characters, setting, plot, rise and fall of action, conflict and resolution, main idea, and theme.

Modeling Writing Skills

Use your e-book as mentor text by highlighting exemplary writing that supports the focus of your writing instruction.

  • Model strong leads. Choose e-books that begin with strong action, dialogue, or setting. Highlight those lines and use them to model how to write strong leads.
  • Model words. Use the highlighter to model descriptive adjectives, vivid verbs and adverbs, and other exemplary word choices in your e-book.
  • Model figurative language. Find and highlight examples of similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, idioms, personification, and alliteration to model strong figurative writing.  
  • Model writing with dialogue. Use the highlighting tool to capture good examples of dialogue within a text and to show how and when to use dialogue effectively.
  • Model sentence structure. For elementary students who are still working on sentence structure, highlight lines that model the use of correct word tense and sentence fluency.
  • Model authentic use of punctuation. Display and highlight models of appropriate punctuation to show how authors use specific types of punctuation.
  • Model capitalization. Highlight a few lines of model text to teach your students how and when to capitalize words and letters.

Teacher Chat
“To help my students prepare for our state’s standardized ELA test, I added some test-like literal questions into the notes feature of our Storia books. I then taught the students to find the answers to these questions on the pages of their Storia e-books and to use the highlighter feature to highlight the answer. This really helped my students learn to skim and find the answers for ‘in the text’ questions.”

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    Teacher Tips and Strategies, Teacher Training and Continuing Education, Teaching with Technology