What’s better on a cold day than curling up with a good book? Not much. Unfortunately, not everyone can simply dig into a book, as learning to read doesn’t come easily to every child. There are many processes working simultaneously to create the miracle known as reading. Literacy experts agree on several powerful strategies that will strengthen the reading process for your lucky little learners.
Students must often revisit text to clarify understanding. When a student neglects to reread, comprehension can suffer. Using passages (either printable or digital), like the one seen below, can help students practice this skill. Model rereading with your students. Our youngest readers may not know that it’s OK to reread!
2. Activate Prior Knowledge
Before reading, the student should look at the title and ask himself what he already knows about the topic. Prior knowledge can significantly improve understanding. Ask your lucky little learners what they already know about a topic. Using KWL charts (what I know, what I want to know, and what I learned) to collect knowledge before, during, and after reading is a great way to activate background knowledge. This skill can also be demonstrated during whole group read alouds too.
3. Use Context Clues
Context clues help the reader to differentiate between similar words in a passage. Using the words around the unknown word, your students are able to determine what makes sense. Try using Digital Reading Passages to help your primary readers decipher word meaning using context clues and other vocabulary strategies.
4. Infer Meaning
Making an inference requires higher order thinking skills. Inferencing is a necessary part of reading throughout school and is also an important skill in life in general. Tell your students that inferencing is like making a guess based on facts and evidence.
5. Think Aloud
The think aloud strategy is usually modeled by the teacher, so that students can see the meta-cognitive process. Your students can imitate this think-aloud process in order to be more transparent with their meta-cognition. This means they are actually thinking (and speaking) about their own thinking and reading processes.
6. Summarize the Story
The point of reading is, after all, comprehension, so it’s so important for your lucky little learners to be able to effectively retell what he or she has read. Knowing the main idea and details is essential in retelling. This can be practiced using the Digital Reading Passages. Students will read the passage on the screen and then have two choices to pick the summary of the paragraph.
7. Locate Key Words
Finding key words is helpful when summarizing a passage. When answering questions about a selection, locating key words helps the reader use important information quickly. This is a concept that needs to be taught and modeled. The teacher will need to demonstrate and explain how to scan a passage to locate key words.
8. Make Predictions
Regardless of the media we’re consuming (video, audio, print), we are constantly making predictions. This is the same for even our young readers and viewers. This building block of meta-cognition is essential in achieving deep understanding of text. Have your students make predictions as they read passages from our Digital Reading Passages.
9. Use Word Attack Strategies
Strong decoding skills enable fluent reading and strong comprehension. Chunking, rereading, and connecting letters to sounds are effective strategies for decoding words. The sentence scrambles bundle is one of my favorite ways to help students with sight words, decoding, and fluency!
Good readers picture what they’re reading. Sometimes called a ‘mind movie’, this strategy of visualizing can help the reader in connecting to and comprehending text. I love helping my lucky little learners visualize by drawing pictures of what they are reading (or what I read aloud).
11. Use Graphic Organizers
Helping the reader arrange information is a powerful component of comprehension. Graphic organizers can be used for determining cause and effect, character traits, problem and solution, and more. The nice thing about a graphic organizer is that they are easy for students to draw because they are typically basic shapes like squares and circles with a heading on top. Graphic organizers are great for putting into reading notebooks.
12. Ask Questions
Like inferencing, we are always asking questions – when reading, watching, or listening. Developing good questions is a foundational piece of meta-cognition in readers. Encourage your littlest readers to write down questions on sticky notes or in their reading notebooks. These questions can be revisited at the guided reading table or during independent reading time when the teachers is available.
13. Monitor and Repair Understanding While Reading
The essence of meta-cognition is realizing when you’ve lost meaning as a reader. This critical step in the reading process is what ultimately separates competent readers from word-callers. This is so important to practice in reading centers (small groups) or as a whole class. Your learners need help monitoring their own understanding before they do it on their own!
Becoming a proficient, engaged reader is a long process, and doesn’t happen by accident. Early, consistent exposure to books helps create a love of reading in children. By combining these strategies, the child who loves listening to stories can become competent and confident in reading independently! Help your lucky little learners by teaching these 13 reading strategies and using these ready-to-go reading products!