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How to Make a Cloze Passage

Updated July 20, 2017

A cloze or cloze passage is a reading strategy that increases reading comprehension. A cloze passage is a piece of text in which words have been omitted throughout.
A teacher's objective in delivering a cloze activity is to increase reading comprehension.
The objective for the student is to predict words that belong in the blanks of the cloze passage.

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  1. Choose a topic.
    A cloze can be used to introduce new material or to review material. Choose a short supplemental text to turn into a cloze passage.
    For example, if you are a history teacher and you are introducing a unit on the Civil War, you might choose or write a summary of the unit, or a letter written from a soldier to his wife. Any text can be used for a cloze.

  2. Copy, retype or copy and paste the text you will use. If you are going to white out the phrases, you will want to use a copy machine to make your copies. Make one copy for yourself, then make a copy for each student in the class.
    If you are using a word processing program, simply create two pages with the same text. One of the pages will be the complete text and the other will become a cloze.

  3. Omit words from the complete passage. If you are going to white out words after having copied the text, simply white out certain words from the selection.
    Important: This is not the same as a fill in the blank worksheet. Avoid whiting out only key words from the text. A good approach is to white out every fifth word. This may include articles such as 'a', 'an', or 'the' or conjunctions such as 'and', 'but' and 'or'.
    If you are using a word processing program, use highlight the word you would like to omit and then simply insert a blank long enough for students to write in their guess of the missing word.

  4. Copy the cloze passage on a separate piece of paper. It is important that the complete text and the cloze passage are on separate pages. This will be explained in the administration section of this article.

  5. Distribute the cloze passage only.

  6. Instruct students to read the selection, even though there are missing words.

  7. Tell students to guess or predict which word belongs in each blank.
    Tell them to use context clues and to pay attention to parts of speech that are missing from the sentence. Important: Tell students they will have an opportunity to check their work with the complete passage. Their guesses should not be graded for correctness. (If a grade is given for this activity, it should be for completion only.) When they are finished, tell them to turn their cloze over.

  8. Distribute the complete passage. Instruct students to read the complete passage silently. Here, they should pay attention to the words that were missing in their cloze text.
    Important: Again, they should only have one paper on their desk at a time. At this point, they are not to be "checking their work" by comparing their answers side-by-side. Having the pages side by side eliminates the objective of this strategy.

  9. Instruct students to turn the complete passage over and to return to their cloze. Students now have the opportunity to make corrections, if necessary, to their guesses or predictions.
    If a student is having trouble "remembering" which words to correct or needs to refer back to the complete passage, he or she may turn the cloze over, reread the complete passage, turn the complete passage over and return to the cloze. Both documents should not be face up at the same time.

  10. With the class, discuss aloud or with the use of an overhead projector which words belong in each blank.

  11. Before proceeding to the next blank, ask students to share what they originally put in the blank and discuss reasons why they guessed that word. Praise students who wrote synonyms for the actual word (ex: for the word 'omitted' the student wrote 'removed'). This shows their ability to make accurate predictions, and this is the objective of the strategy -- to improve reading comprehension.

  12. Proceed blank by blank, discussing each blank, if possible.

  13. When you have completed the review of this activity, ask students to put both the cloze and the complete passage out of view. Either give a written, no-pressure, pop quiz covering the content you wanted the students grasp, or ask questions regarding the content.

  14. Point out to students that they just learnt something on their own, by reading, making predictions, correcting and discussing their mistakes.
    When students feel they have taught themselves, their self-confidence is raised and they will retain the information longer, if not forever.

  15. Tip

    If a grade must be given, please grade the students on their completion of the entire activity, not on the correct answers. This will lead to stress for students, as they do not feel as if they were "warned" about a "fill-in-the-blank quiz".


    This is not the same concept as fill-in-the-blank. Do not use a word bank. Students must draw from their background knowledge of the content, of written word, and of grammar and syntax.

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Things You'll Need

  • Two copies of a short piece of text (200-300 words)
  • White out or word processing program
  • Copier
  • Copies of cloze passage for students
  • Copies of complete text for students
  • Overhead projector
  • Cloze passage on transparency
  • Overhead marker

About the Author

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