The 3H Strategy

Quick Fact Box

The 3H strategy is a mnemonic strategy that students can use to help them answer comprehension questions. 

Who is it for?  Middle School, Grade 5 to Year 8

Who is it by? Professor Lorraine Graham and Lyn Alder

Readiness Check

The Readiness Check is meant to help you determine whether the 3H Strategy is suitable for your students and to help get you 'Ready' to implement it.

Introduction

For the teacher, the use of questioning guides the learning process in the classroom. The goal is to activate the student’s more extensive networks of established knowledge and to identify any deficits by encouraging the students to process the material.

 For the student, questioning assists in organising information and integrating new knowledge with their intrinsic thoughts.

 Some questions are more effective than others in the learning process.  Simple explicit questions may assist the student to learn facts but do not help in conceptual understanding. Higher order questions integrate knowledge and connects components.  This aligns with Bloom’s Taxonomy work on questioning.

 The question-answer relationship (QAR) covers three areas.

  1. Locating information in the text,
  2. Showing text structures and how information is organised
  3. Linking the reader’s background knowledge to new understandings.

There are three types of questions/answers in the 3H strategy. They are: answers located in one sentence (text explicit – HERE questions) across several sentences or paragraphs, or linking information in the text to background knowledge (Text implicit – HIDDEN questions) and question/answers that go beyond the texts such as “Why do you think….” (Script implicit – HEAD questions).

Watch the YouTube clip below with Prof. Lorraine Graham describing the 3H Strategy.

Main Points of the Video
  • Underlining key words in the question. Underlining the answer, and ‘thinking aloud’ to locate the information. Finally justifying the selected answers.
  • Don’t rush this stage, be patient! Your students need to practise to make perfect!
  •  To implement the strategy into the classroom it is best to employ: ‘modelling’, ‘I do, we do you do’, ‘think aloud’, ‘oral group discussions’ and ‘reciprocal teaching’.
What are the benefits of the 3H Strategy?
Benefits for Teachers

3H comprehension strategies:

  • encourage independent learning and self-monitoring of that learning which frees up the teacher to work with individuals or small groups who may require extra instruction
  • place the onus of engagement back onto the student
  • increase teachers’ appreciation of students who are able to self-monitor learning in relation to comprehension skills
Benefits for High Ability Students

Students:

  • are able to identify areas of strength and difficulty and work at their ability level
  • exercise control over their learning which is not limited by level of content knowledge of teachers or peers present in the classroom at the time
  • increase independence and proficiency in reading/listening comprehension which encourages the learner to increasingly develop, adapt and access learning opportunities, beyond those envisioned by the teachers, that extends knowledge and understanding
Benefits for Students with Disabilities

Students:

  • become more actively involved in their learning
  • are encouraged to self-monitor comprehension levels and are able to learn new strategies to improve comprehension skills
  • recognise the importance of contributing to their learning environment
Benefits for all Students
  • learn to work independently and develop flexibility skills
  • set goals, complete expected tasks, review completed work, and move to the next learning task
  • persist with challenging problems to find solutions and therefore they experience success and satisfaction for effort expended
The 3H Strategy: Description and Examples

This section describes and explains the 3H Strategy.

Answering written comprehension questions, after reading a passage, is an important school exercise that encourages students to focus on important themes/concepts in the text and enables teachers to assess student comprehension competence. Question-answer relationship (QAR) strategies have been shown to result in improved comprehension scores for poor and average readers (Raphael & McKinney, 1983; Raphael & Wonnacott, 1981).

Development of the 3H strategy was informed by research into various QAR strategies (Raphael, 1985), inferencing, and the comprehension processes of poor readers and students with learning disabilities (LDs) (Graham & Wong, 1993). The 3H approach differs from previous QAR strategies in relation to the classification scheme and definitions, and the instructional emphasis placed on activation of background knowledge and the use of text information to answer comprehension questions, especially inference questions. For example, Pearson and Johnson’s (1978) taxonomy of QARs, divided into three categories (text explicit, text implicit, and script implicit), was modified and utilised, to improve a learner’s interaction with the question, the text, and their own knowledge base to develop and enhance skills in comprehension. . Students use what they already know about the world, and about reading, to identify question-answer relationships. Here (right there) refers to question-answers that are relatively easy to locate and are generally found in one sentence; Hidden (think and search) are question-answer relationships found by joining together information in a text that is in more than one locations; and Head (world in your head) questions seek the child’s opinion or look for information that is not contained in the text. These keywords give the 3H strategy its name.

Providing a planful way of approaching this comprehension activity is important, especially for poor readers and students with LDs, as they tend not monitor their understanding of what has been read (Garner & Krauss, 1982) and they find it challenging answering inferential questions (Hansen, 1981). Thus, equipping students with a strategy to answer reading comprehension questions enhances performance (Graham & Wong, 1993).

EXAMPLES OF 3H questions

Australia and New Zealand combined military forces at the commencement of World War I. The combined military force was called ANZAC, an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. The ANZACs landed on the Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula at dawn on Sunday the 25th of April, 1915. After landing on the beaches the ANZACs advanced up the steep hills and dense scrub. The goal was to attack their enemy. Due to the courage and sacrifice demonstrated on that bloody battlefield Australians chose to recognised the day as a public remembrance to honour all who served their country in war.

Here

  • Here Questions.   Which war was to end all wars?
  • What does the acronym ‘ANZAC’ stand for?

 World War I was the war to end all wars. Australia and New Zealand combined military forces at the commencement of World War I. The combined military force was called ANZAC, an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. The ANZACs landed on the Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula at dawn on Sunday the 25th of April, 1915. After landing on the beaches the ANZACs advanced up the steep hills and dense scrub. The goal was to attack their enemy.  Due to the courage and sacrifice demonstrated on that bloody battlefield Australians chose to recognised the day as a public remembrance to honour all who served their country in war. 

 

Hidden

  • List two reasons why Australia and New Zealand chose to recognise April 25th each year?
  • Describe what happened after the combined army forces landed at Gallipoli?

 World War I was the war to end all wars. Australia and New Zealand combined military forces at the commencement of World War I. The combined military force was called ANZAC, an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. The ANZACs landed on the Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula at dawn on Sunday the 25th of April, 1915. After landing on the beaches the ANZACs advanced up the steep hills and dense scrub. The goal was to attack their enemy.  Due to the courage and sacrifice demonstrated on that bloody battlefield Australians chose to recognised the day as a public remembrance to honour all who served their country in war.

 

In My Head

  •  How do Australians recognise April 25th?
  • What do you do at your school to commemorate ANZAC day?

 

Review and Reflect

This section introduced and described the 3H strategy. It detailed the benefits to teachers and students and emphasised the importance of identifying indicators of student level of self-regulated learning and of teaching and modelling self-regulated learning capabilities.

Practice activity

Discuss what you have learned in this section with a colleague. In your discussion, reflect on ways in which student levels of self-regulated learning impact teaching and learning. How will developing student levels of self-regulated learning benefit students and teachers at your school?

 

Diagnostic Tools

This section contains a questionnaire that you can provide to your students to help assess their initial level of understanding of the 3H Strategy. A marking guide and report format are also provided.

The Questionnaire 

  • There are 6 passages of increasing length and complexity. Each passage has one HERE, one HIDDEN and one IN MY HEAD question. This makes a total of 6 questions of each type. 

Marking Sheet

  • 1 point per correct answer.  There are a total of 6 points for each of the 3 Hs.

Evaluation Report

  • A score of 5 or greater is a strength
  • A score of 2 or less is a weakness

The Intervention: Teaching the 3H Strategy

This section develops teacher knowledge and understanding of how to use the 3H strategy in the classroom

Teaching the 3H Strategy

Utilising the 3H approach in teaching provides students with explicit instruction about how to use text information appropriately in order to answer written comprehension questions Graham, 1995- conference paper).

 Students are prompted to use text- and/or knowledge-based information to answer questions about a passage they have read (Westwood, 2008).

3H is a learning strategy. After students have been taught how to use them, learning strategies are to be used by students independently. Use explicit instruction (explanation, modelling, guided practice, independent practice) to teach this strategy.

 

Three steps involved in teaching the 3H strategy (Brown-Chidsey, Bronaugh, & McGraw, 2009):

1. Model the strategy

You can find sample passages and comprehension questions here.  These passages and questions vary in complexity so that you can select items which are most appropriate for your class.

After the 3H strategy has been explained to student(s), model the approach using the “think aloud” strategy to voice thought processes behind each of the steps. You can instruct students to write Here, Hidden, In my Head alongside the comprehension questions you use for the passage chosen.

2. Guided practice

Provide students with the opportunity to implement the strategy in small groups or pairs using different passages of text and comprehension questions. Students may use prompt cards with descriptions of the three Hs if they need additional support and they could also use the “think aloud” strategy to strengthen learning and comprehension if working in pairs. Monitor progress, scaffold learning, and provide additional support to those students who may need assistance (e.g., individual modeling of the strategy with that student).

3. Independent practice

Following the guided practice exercises, and once students have shown that they have grasped the 3H strategy, they are able to implement it independently. It is also valuable to provide time for students to reflect on the strategy..

Resources to Support Implementation of the 3H Strategy
Title and Links
Suggested Use

Sample Passages and Questions

These passages and questions vary in complexity so that you can select items which are most appropriate for your class.  As this is a sample, feel free to create your own.  A confidence scale is attached to each question.  The student uses this confidence scale (I’ve got it! Maybe? I didn’t get it)  as part of their discussion when justifying their answers.

Lesson Plan

​Suggestions for implementing the 3 H Strategy in your classroom. 

Parent Information Sheet

Information for parents to assist at home

The 3H Strategy Table

This can be downloaded and placed on the student’s desk to assist them to remember the terms and to provide a scaffold for learning.

Prompt Cards

This prompting mat could be attached to a student’s desk to assist learning. The student needs to remember the process of how to answer comprehension questions. Two mats are on an A4 page for photocopying purposes.

Website that sells posters, worksheets etc for Here, Hidden, in my Head

Metacognitive questions are a way for a student to reflect their learning as apart of self-regulated learning.

Two sets of metacognitive questions are provided.  One is Independent student questionnaire and the other is in interview format. Teachers have a choice.

The Evaluation

To evaluate the impact of the intervention you can run the diagnostic questionnaire a second time - as a post test, and evaluate if your students have improved.

The Questionnaire 

  • There are 6 passages of increasing length and complexity. Each passage has one HERE, one HIDDEN and one IN MY HEAD question. This makes a total of 6 questions of each type. 

Marking Sheet

  • 1 point per correct answer.  There are a total of 6 points for each of the 3 Hs.

Evaluation Report

  • A score of 5 or greater is a strength
  • A score of 2 or less is a weakness

Review

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