RUNNERS – A Test Taking Strategy

What is the RUNNERS Strategy?


Help students succeed when answering multiple choice questions with the RUNNERS Strategy. This acronym teaching device helps students break down reading passages, so they can more easily answer multiple choice questions. By implementing this strategy, students will have a better understanding of what they read causing them to more accurately answer questions.

R – Read the title and predict.

U – Underline key words in the question.

N – Number the paragraphs.

N – Now read the passage.

E – Enclose key words.

R – Read the questions eliminating wrong options.

S – Select the best answer.

Download this free printable Runners Strategy Staggered Flip Organizer.R – Read the title and predict.

  • Read the title of the passage and look at any graphics, pictures, and subheadings.
  • Does the font change size? Is some font italicized?
  • Are the pictures, photographs, or drawings of real people, events, or objects?

Make predictions:

  • What is the genre?
  • What is the author’s purpose?
  • Does the passage appear to be fiction or nonfiction?

U – Underline key words in the question.

Underline key words, names, and dates in the question.

Is the question asking you to …

  • make an inference
  • find the main idea
  • determine the author’s purpose
  • sequence events
  • locate a detail
  • determine a theme or central message
  • make a comparison
  • etc.

N – Number the paragraphs.

Number the paragraphs unless the passage contains a lot of dialogue between characters.

Take notice of text features.

N – Now read the passage.

Read the selection taking notes.

Possible things to write in the margins:

  • a summary
  • predictions
  • opinions
  • connections
  • questions
  • analyze the author’s craft
    • setting
    • characterization
    • plot
    • conflict
    • point of view
    • figurative language
    • etc.
  • write reflections
  • look for patterns

E – Enclose key words.

Not only can you enclose key words, but you can also mark up the passage using these codes:

  • highlight – important details
  • question mark (?) – things I don’t understand
  • underline – vocabulary
  • circle – who or what
  • box – where and when

R – Reread the questions.

Underline key words, names, dates in the question.

Reread the questions focusing on the important words.

Eliminate incorrect responses. (Slash the trash.)

S – Select the best answer.

Make sure you can show proof in the passage of where your answer was found.

This download contains printables to create the staggered flip organizer to teach these steps to students. 

Gay Miller

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