The Concept Anchoring Routine

"Concept Anchoring Routine manual cover photo"

Teachers use the Concept Anchoring Routine to introduce and anchor a new concept to a concept that is already familiar to students, that is, to learn by analogy.

Students whose teachers used the Concept Anchoring Routine had significantly higher overall test scores than students in the comparison condition. In the experimental condition, students with LD scored 25% higher, low-achieving students scored 27% higher, average-achieving students scored 19% higher, and high-achieving students scored 7% higher than these groups in the comparison condition in studies in secondary science and social studies classes.

Author(s): Janis A. Bulgren, Jean B. Schumaker, and Donald D. Deshler

Publication Info: Edge Enterprises, 1994

This product is published by Edge Enterprises, Inc.  Professional development is recommended, see the SIM Event page for sessions.



  • Deshler, D.D., Schumaker, J.B., Bulgren, J.A., Lenz, B.K., Jantzen, J.E., Adams, G., Carnine, D., Grossen, B., Davis, B., & Marquis, J. (2001). Making learning easier: Connecting new knowledge to things students already know. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33(4), 82-85. This article describes the Concept Anchoring Routine and its use to help adolescents with disabilities grapple with complex concepts.
  • Bulgren, J.A., Deshler, D.D., Schumaker, J.B., & Lenz, B.K. (2000). The use and effectiveness of analogical instruction in diverse secondary content classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 426-441. This article reports the results of three studies on using analogies to teach important and difficult information. These results indicate that use of the Concept Anchoring Table and the Concept Anchoring Routine can enhance student performance with regard to understanding and remembering secondary subject-matter content.


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