Reading is Thinking and Strategic

Reflection of Chapters 1 & 2

Reading Is Thinking

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I'll use these sticky notes….

In the very beginning of the first chapter, teacher Steph demonstrates a basic strategy using sticky notes to help engage students in reading by helping them make connections. This is a great method that accomplishes two major things. First, it is a way to build up a passion for a book, which makes reading it a pleasure instead of a chore. Second, it engages the students while they are reading. Thinking about how each picture, paragraph, or situation relates to personal experiences will likely increase retention and promote active reading.

Connecting to a personal story…..

I hadn't even finished reading two pages before I caught myself reminiscing about my own lake experiences! I find it overwhelmingly impressive that I seem to be bonding to a book I've never read or even heard of and on top of everything it is a picture book and I can't see the pictures! It seems comparable to if I grew attached to a movie I'd never seen just because someone told me that it reminded them of growing up in the city. Anyway, a particular story caused this revelation so I'll share it.

Ever since I was 11 or so I have been celebrating my birthdays on Sabago Lake and every year we would go tubing. In the early years my father would take my brother and me to the lake and rent a speed boat. My brother and I would take turns and have a blast! However as time went on, I got bigger, the group got bigger, and the tube got bigger. Now each summer in August my father's friend Dick loans us a premium speed boat and a tube that can hold four full grown men. Dick even volunteers to drive the boat for us while my friends and I ride the tube. The only caveat is Dick's first two commandments : 1. He doesn't stop until the tube is empty and 2. There is only one proper way to empty a tube. In short this translates to the occupants of the tube being thrown from it at speeds high enough that it is not unlikely they imitate the trajectory of an imperfect skipping stone. While I could probably continue recounting endless tales of spectacular wipeouts, in the interest of space I'll save them for the dining hall if anyone wants to hear them.

What Is Reading?…..

"reading is thinking" - The brain is the tool that makes sense of letters on a page. It has two tasks, "crack the code"- realize which combinations of letters correspond to which words, and be able to interpret, construct, assign, and extract meaning from those words.


"Crack the code"- to be able to realize that F-O-X spells the word 'fox' and how to say the word

"Interpret, construct… meaning"- to understand that the word 'fox' means a small red furred mammal or depending on context its meaning can denote an aspect of cunning or slyness.

Comprehension is King

"Comprehension means that the readers think not only about what they are reading but also about what they are learning"

The Goals

  • Monitor understanding
  • Enhance understanding
  • Acquire and actively use knowledge
  • Develop insight

Examples of a reader who understands:

  • extract the guiding moral/message of a fairy tale
  • form a new opinion from an editorial
  • develop a deeper understanding of issues when reading a feature article.

What does a proficient reader do….

  • search for connections between what they know and the new information they encounter in the texts they read
  • ask questions of themselves, the authors they encounter, and the texts they read
  • draw inferences during and after reading
  • distinguish important from less important ideas in text
  • are adept at synthesizing information within and across texts and reading experiences
  • monitor the adequacy of their understanding and repair faulty comprehension
  • visualize what they are reading

in other words to best comprehend try…

  • activate and connecting to background knowledge
  • ask questions
  • make inferences
  • visualise
  • determine importance
  • summarize and synthesize information

Reading Is Strategic

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"When readers focus solely on decoding, meaning takes a back seat."

Another personal connection

I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. I ended up not being able to decode text with any amount of proficiency until 4th grade. Even then I was reading things my peers had read two or three years prior. I can completely relate to the story about the second grader. I tended to be happy enough to simply be able to read each word and often any meaning or information in the text was quite lost on me. To be honest I still struggle with it. I need to consciously slow down, reread, and check myself to make sure I understand what my eyes just glazed over.

Things that help improve reading skills

Teach Multiple Strategies

High Volume Of Reading = Good "readers get better at reading by reading"

Teach students to monitor their own reading

"Leave tracks" in text (notes, thoughts, questions)

Four Types of Learners

Tacit learner - lack awareness of how they think when they read

Aware learner - realize when mean is lost and when confusion has set in but might now have strategies to fix the problem

Strategic learner -has tools and strategies to monitor and repair meaning when disrupted

Reflective learner - reflect on think and purposes and adapt strategies accordingly