Strategies that Work

Reading is Thinking and Reading is Strategic

Relating Text to Readers

It's important to relate any type of literary texts to your students. This will engage them in ways that would surprise you. They will end up wanting to read and learn if it can somehow be brought back to their own lives. Once they see their teacher making text to self connections (T-S) they will want to make connections too. The idea of sticky notes is a great way to show students visually what it means to connect. An example of a book that I would relate to would be Hello, Vermont, a story about a family from Vermont.


"Reading is thinking...when you read, you have to figure out the words and what they mean. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's hard." Said DeCoven (P. 13). Having some type of definition for reading is important for any classroom BUT the definition may be slightly different for each student. "It involves cracking the alphabetic code to determine the words and thinking about those words to construct meaning." (P. 13).
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There has been a pressure on teachers to cover certain parts of the curriculum, often times even making teachers instruct based on a test. However, reading should never be about that. Comprehension of all things in literacy has to come first. Being literate is important in all subjects. Teachers must "monitor understanding, enhance understanding, acquire and actively use knowledge, and develop insight." (P.14). There are many different strategies around that teachers can use to help their students understand. As children and even adults read we are constantly building on background knowledge. As a psychology major, I like to call this past knowledge our schemas.

Constructing meaning basically refers to "building knowledge and promoting understanding." (P. 15). It's the readers who make the story. Readers take the words off the page and give it meaning, often relating it back to their own lives. Many times schools are actually teaching literature in the wrong way. Instead of ASKING the questions we should be fostering their young minds by having them ask US.

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When students are learning to read or reading to learn we should trust that they will use the strategies we showed them to understand. They often will take their background knowledge and will then use it to draw conclusions from a text. This is how they end up predicting, questions, and arriving at a destination. As they read they can also summarize (finding the big ideas) and synthesize (integrating all this new information into their old information). My favorite quote in these chapters was "Like writing, reading is an act of composition...When we read, we compose our own meaning in our minds." (P. 21). Each child will read a story in a different way based on their past experiences. For instance, one child may have had a rough upbringing so they may read the stories about poverty in a more realistic manor. Or, an athlete may find the story of Babe Ruth all more inspirational. No one experiences life in the same way...the same can be said for literature.
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There are many specific strategies that teachers can use to influence their children in reading. Some of these are: "questioning, drawing inferences, creating summaries, or transactional strategy." (P. 23). By giving the children something like a toolbox for reading you are giving them choice in how they problem solve if they come across a word that they can't make out or don't understand a concept. We also must push these children to read as much as possible. The more literature they are exposed to the better. This could mean bedtime stories, audiotapes in the car, or even bath-time writing with those water crayons. Literacy is fun!

They must also be able to monitor themselves. This is very important because there may not always be a teacher or a parent around to help them.

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Types of Readers

Tacit learners/readers: lacking awareness

Aware learners/readers: see meaning but may not have strategies to solve problems.

Strategic learners/readers: Use strategies and can monitor themselves.

Reflective learners/readers: Are very skilled readers.

Goal: Understanding!

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Teaching: What We Say and What We Do!

Reading Comprehension Lesson for Kids - Dusto 1


Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

Chapters 1 and 2