Students may be able to read a chapter or section of a book on their own, but are they really comprehending what is being said? Teachers must learn to recognize the answer to that question and, in turn, support students' comprehension of written material. Of course, that's easier said than done.
Teaching reading comprehension strategies isn't particularly complex, but it does take consistency and repetition in order to instill these strategies in students. Here's a look at the key strategies teachers should be sharing along with tips to implement them in the classroom.
#1 Preview Each Section
Have you ever sat down to watch a movie without first viewing the trailer or reading the description? If so, you likely know how much more difficult it was--and how much longer it took--to realize where the movie was going. In a similar sense, previewing a piece of text before reading through it helps enable students to get in the right mindset for comprehension and gain an understanding of its direction more quickly.
When you have students preview text, encourage them to think about how it will connect to their prior knowledge. This gives them. platform on which to base expectations and assumptions, essentially building a framework so that they can easily sort through any new information they are about to retrieve.
#2 Make Predictions
After previewing a text, have students make predictions about the details of what they are about to read. This also works to solidify expectations and help them realize how this text may connect to similar topics that they are familiar with. Suddenly, they aren't watching the movie blind--they have background knowledge that helps them sit down knowing the direction it's going to take. Now, have them guess the "ending" or main point of the text.
You can do this in an engaging and different way by using the video hooks we've created for our Once Upon a Crime Reading Mysteries. Show the video before beginning the reading part. After viewing the video, discuss:
For longer reading sessions, stop throughout and continue to reinforce the thinking ahead notion. As they become more familiar with the text and read through it, have them stop briefly and revise their predictions about what could be coming. This will also help them process the new information as they collect it.
#3 Identify The Main Idea
Learning how to summarize what they just read is a fantastic way to reinforce the "main idea" behind a piece of writing. Summarizing requires them to think about the main points of the text and then put it into their own words, which will help with both comprehension and retention. This strategy helps them to understand the author's purpose when they wrote the text, which is at the core of reading comprehension.
#4 Question The Text
Another way to help focus the students' minds on the main idea and meaning of what they just read is to have them answer questions about the information they just collected. Teachers should start this process by thinking of good, open-ended questions that they can ask students about the writing. Show them the strategies they can use to find answers to these questions by reviewing the text again.
The Private Eye CSI Literacy Mystery resources are ideal for reading and stopping to ask questions and having discussions as a class. Your students will truly be reading detectives and practicing important comprehension skills in a fun investigation format.
#5 Make Inferences
You can expand on this strategy by having students make inferences about the text. By having them identify something that isn't explicitly stated, they must learn to use both prior knowledge that they had before reading and also by learning how to identify clues within the text itself. This will get them exploring the text more deeply and ultimately improve their comprehension to a greater level.
Making inferences is also a big part of the Private Eye CSI Literacy Mysteries and is a skill needed to correctly solve the case.
So, if you are on the hunt for some fun mystery themed activities to supplement your reading comprehension lessons, check out our unique range in the two categories below.
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