What is Cloze Procedure?

Cloze procedure is a technique in which words are deleted from a passage according to a word-count formula or various other criteria. The passage is presented to students, who insert words as they read to complete and construct meaning from the text. This procedure can be used as a diagnostic reading assessment technique.

What is its purpose?

It is used:

  • to identify students' knowledge and understanding of the reading process
  • to determine which cueing systems readers effectively employ to construct meaning from print
  • to assess the extent of students' vocabularies and knowledge of a subject
  • to encourage students to monitor for meaning while reading
  • to encourage students to think critically and analytically about text and content

How do I do it?

To prepare materials for Cloze exercises, any of the following techniques may be used:

  1. Select a self-contained passage of a length appropriate for the grade level of the students being assessed. Use materials easily read by the students.
  2. Leave the first and last sentences and all punctuation intact.
  3. Carefully select the words for omission using a word-count formula, such as every fifth word or other criteria. To assess students' knowledge of the topic or their abilities to use semantic cues, delete content words which carry meaning, such as nouns, main verbs, adjectives and adverbs. To assess students' use of syntactic cues, delete some conjunctions, prepositions and auxiliary words.
  4. When preparing the final draft of the passage, make all blanks of equal length to avoid including visual clues about the lengths of omitted words.
  5. Have the students read the entire passage before they fill in the blanks.
  6. Encourage the students to fill each blank if possible.
  7. Although there should be no time limit for this exercise, the time necessary for completion should be noted.
  8. Suggest that students reread the completed passage.

How can I adapt it?


  1. Supply choices for the blanks.

Just as ____________have fur, birds have ____________.

(coats, animals) (feathers, wings)

  1. When learners have used the technique described above and can replace the appropriate words from the choices supplied, provide passages in which every fifth word or every tenth word is arbitrarily deleted and only a letter or two of the correct word is available, perhaps a beginning consonant or consonant blend:

With the price of f______ going up all the t______, more people are trying t___ raise some of their f_____ in their own back y______.

  1. When the learners do well with this task, indicate only the blank with no additional clues. Accept any word that seems a reasonable fit:

Instead of grass, you _______ rows of lettuce, tomatoes, ________ beans lining the fences _______ in the biggest city.

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