By Angela Padrón
Out of all the school subjects, Reading is the one that is binds them all. Whether students are reading directions in Math, reading texts about science or social studies topics, or reading over a written essay, having the ability to read is essential.
There are many different reading strategies that parents and teachers can use to help children at any age develop and refine their comprehension, fluency, and higher-order thinking skills. Depending on the text being read, one or more strategies can be used at the same time. Here’s a list of a few:
- Questioning to understand – asking questions and looking for answers before, during, and after reading a passage. Students should think of the 5W+H words (who, what, when, where, why, how) or use thinking stems like “I wonder…”, “What if…”, “I was confused when…”
- Visualizing – creating mental pictures while reading. Students use their five senses to picture, imagine, or see the text come to life in their mind.
- Making connections – connecting the text to personal experiences, to another text, or to something happening in the world. Students use prior knowledge and experiences to understand what they’re reading. Some thinking stems include “This reminds me of… because…”, “This reminds me of the book… or what I heard…”
- Synthesizing – students combine what they know with new information they have read to help better understand the text. At first they may think one way but change their mind after reading. Students can also analyze the main idea (what the story is about) or theme of a text (life-long lesson) using this strategy.
- Predicting – students use clues in pictures or in the text that will help them guess what might happen next. Students can then confirm or analyze their predictions after reading.
- Inferring – students draw conclusions and reflect on what is being read. To infer, students must use prior knowledge to understand information that the author does not present outright. This could include to think of what the characters are thinking, or to think of the meaning of a word using context clues.
- Re-reading to clarify – students can go back and re-read parts of the passage to help them find answers or understand parts of the text better. They can re-look at words, phrases, or pictures, chunk words or analyze any prefixes, suffixes and root words to clarify the meaning of an unknown word.
- Summarizing – students identify the most important parts of a text and restate them in their own words.
- Compare and contrast – students identify similarities and differences among parts of a text.
It’s helpful to create posters or anchor charts of these strategies in the classroom so students can refer to them as needed. You may also want to create small cards with these strategies for students to cut and paste in their notebooks. However you decide to teach these strategies, there’s no doubt that by using them every day, students will develop stronger reading skills that can help them in any subject throughout their lives.