Three-Stepped Approach to Reading
As students progress through middle and high school, even strong readers occasionally need aid in reading new, difficult, or frustrating material. This week, Teaching Today adapts secondary reading strategies from Into Focus to offer a series of strategies to help students before, during, and after reading in content areas.
This Week's Tips
Pre-Reading with a Key Word List (Monday)
Generate anticipation in students through prior knowledge and inferences. Consider the reading assignment and create a related series of categories. Pull 15—20 words from the assignment (not too many words unknown to most students) and ask students to categorize the words based on prior knowledge or assumptions. Finally, ask students to write a statement of anticipation using as many of the key words as possible. See the download for a sample graphic organizer.
Pre-Reading with Directed Conversation (Tuesday)
Make a copy of a portion of the selected reading assignment, cut it into paragraphs or sentences, then distribute one passage to each student. Invite the students to wander from person to person in the room reading their passage and listening to the passages of others, attempting to build connections among the passages heard. Once the “conversation” lulls, direct students to write an anticipatory statement drawing from the information gathered, share the statements aloud, read the passage, and finally evaluate the pre-reading statements.
Stop, Identify, and Explain During Reading (Wednesday)
Stop students at any point during the reading process and ask them to identify the most important word from the passage. Ask them to provide a minimum of three supporting facts for their selection. Students can then share their work in pairs or groups, or you can take it up as a brief class discussion.
Stop and Talk About It During Reading (Thursday)
Ask students to read to a designated midway point during a reading and conduct a short discussion about the material up to that point. Conversations can be teacher directed through a specific question or topic to be discussed. Or, depending on the sophistication of the students, students simply can be invited to share their thoughts about the reading with a peer or small group.
Rate Reading Comprehension (Friday)
After students have read a difficult passage for the first time, ask them to rate their understanding on a scale of 1 (very little understanding) to 10 (strong understanding). Ask them to read the passage a second and third time, rating comprehension each time. Once students see for themselves how rereading improves comprehension of a difficult passage, they will be more willing to implement this strategy on their own.