Reading Strategies

What are Reading Strategies?

Reading strategies are purposeful, cognitive actions that students take when they are reading to help them construct and maintain meaning.  Reading successfully goes well beyond fluency and word recognition and relies heavily upon comprehension of text.   Since reading is a meaning-making task, any behaviors used to enhance student understanding help to create more effective readers.   Reading strategies are often categorized as those behaviors designed to help students before, during, and after they read.  It is important to be aware of the strategies used to make meaning and to build upon those strategies over time and as text becomes more complex.   

Reading Strategy Tips:

  • Emphasize the importance of reading by modeling reading to your child and by sharing the contents of what you read.  Students then equate reading with meaning.
  • Recognize reading interests and encourage development through these interests (sports stories, non-fiction topics, humor, science fiction)
  • Talk with your child’s teacher about the strategies the school is using to make meaning from text.  When possible, repeat those same strategies at home as you work with your child.
  • Help your child develop an understanding of text structure: titles, headings, sub-headings, as well as graphs, charts, and diagrams.
  • Encourage your child to re-read material to get a deeper understanding of its contents.  This is particularly true for non-fiction material (textbook content) and material written above grade level.
  • Discuss the importance and approach of reading for different purposes: to entertain, to inform, to persuade, etc.  Reading for different purposes helps to define the speed and depth of understanding to apply to that reading.
  • Encourage “engagement strategies” such as highlighting, using post-it notes, underlining, and developing questions as your child reads.  These behaviors help to habitualize the process of making-meaning and ensuring your child is doing more than reading the words on the page
  • Periodically read the same content (newspaper/magazine articles, textbook sections, short stories, or chapters) and discuss its meaning.  Look for depth of understanding as well as the use of specific/key vocabulary 
  • Emphasize the importance of reading as a life-long habit and encourage its frequent practice

What is SQ4R?

SQ4R is a commonly known and used strategy for teaching comprehension of reading material.  The acronym stands for Survey, Question, Read, Reread the questions, Respond to the question and Record.

  • Survey- read the title, study the pictures, charts and graphs. Read any captions and decide if the text is non-fiction or fiction 
  • Question- read the questions to enhance understanding
  • Read- think about the questions as you read the text 
  • Reread The Questions-mark key words in the questions, check to see if the answer in your head matches one of the choices 
  • Respond to the question-choose the right answer by getting rid of answers that don't make sense, reread the text looking for the key words from the question, decide on the correct answer
  • Record- find and mark the proof for the correct answer in the text   

As students read more complex text, applying these six steps often deepens the understanding and allows students to more successfully remember and apply what they have read.

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