Cloze involves a systematic omission of letters, words, and phrases from written or oral text. Students must bring to bear their own knowledge of the text, the context, and the language involved in order to fill in unfinished sentences or missing words. Cloze may be used to assess or develop listening skills, reading comprehension skills, and reading strategies such as predicting meaning. The use of cloze strategies can help students to develop specific knowledge of language features such as vocabulary and demonstrate understanding of the information in text.

The teacher:
  • needs a clear purpose for each activity (e.g., initial or diagnostic assessment);
  • gives enough initial information to provide context;
  • assesses the quality of ideas and learning.

  • differs in purpose from fill-in-the-blank or one-word-answer exercises;
  • slows down the reading and interferes with fluency;
  • may require teacher assistance throughout the process;
  • needs careful selection to match students to text. (If too difficult for some readers, cloze may produce anxiety; students who easily complete cloze activities may have already gained all the possible learning.)

Illustrations From The Mathematics Classroom


Students record a cloze passage in their writing journals and add the correct word from their math word wall or spelling list to fill in the blank spaces.

The teacher presents students with a cloze passage. Using their knowledge of a recently read text, students complete the cloze exercise. Students then reread the cloze passage and use it as a pattern for writing on a teacher-selected topic.