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Reading Strategies: Helping Students Read Effectively. Darsie Bowden, WRD Department – September 25, 2009 Teaching, learning & assessment. Today’s Plan . Learn more about the difference between a good reader and a poor reader

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reading strategies helping students read effectively

Reading Strategies: Helping Students Read Effectively

Darsie Bowden, WRD Department – September 25, 2009

Teaching, learning & assessment

today s plan
Today’s Plan
  • Learn more about the difference between a good reader and a poor reader
  • Acquire tips and strategies for helping students get the most out of class reading assignments
  • Develop ideas for making reading an integral part of students' experience and learning in your courses
why are you here
Why are you here?

If you’re here, you’re probably troubled by the how students read in your classes.

Or by the fact that they don’t seem to read at all.

what s the problem
What’s the problem?
  • Students read their assignments but don’t seem to get it
  • Students don’t remember what they’ve read
  • Students can’t answer questions on assignments
  • Students are bored by reading
  • Students don’t read carefully
  • Students can’t read critically
  • Students don’t read at all
how we read
How We Read
  • Strategically and selectively
  • Purposefully
  • Quickly
  • How we read depends on what we already know and what we want to learn.
rules for reading that students may be using
“Rules” for reading that students may be using:
  • Read every word.
  • When you don’t understand a word or passage, give up.
  • Reading is sometimes boring; academic reading is really boring.
  • No need to read; I’ll just listen in class to what I was supposed to learn
  • Read and try to memorize what you think the professor thinks is important even though you have no way of knowing what that might be
what all readers do
What all readers do
  • We read to make meaning.
  • We read to answer questions we already have.
  • We read to confirm or disconfirm hypotheses.
  • We do not read to bore ourselves or “get through” something. Unless we have to.
types of reading
Types of Reading
  • Aesthetic –
    • To find pleasure in language and ideas, especially how they are expressed
  • Efferent –
    • For information
    • To problem-solve
  • For enlightenment
    • To make connections with your own ideas, beliefs, and life experiences
how we read what all readers do
How we read: What all readers do
  • We bring world knowledge (and our theory of the world) to the act of reading
    • Linguistic
    • Genre
    • Socio-cultural-historical
    • Personal/affective
    • Reading strategies
how we read what all readers do10
How we read: What all readers do
  • We make predictions
    • We predict what’s coming in a text
      • Word-sentence-paragraph level
      • Structurally (how the piece is organized)
      • In terms of meaning (what’s coming)
    • Prediction also means asking questions; comprehension means getting those questions answered
how we read what all readers do11
How we read: What all readers do
  • We chunk information or meaning from the text into existing schema in our minds.
    • We use what we read to build upon knowledge we already have
    • We often use that new information to do things

Once upon a time, there was a lovely young princess who lived in a castle in a far off mythical kingdom. The castle was designed by her uncle Hernando who was an architect in a nearby city. He was also a fine family man and was once an excellent swimmer. He competed against Johnny Weismuller many times during the late 1920’s. This was the time of the great depression during which many huge fortunes were lost. Fortunes that occasionally equaled the amount of treasure brought back form the orient many centuries ago by Marco Polo. Or perhaps the total salaries, operating expenses, and advertising budgets of the Kansas City Chiefs, Radio City Music Hall and Darlene’s Dancing Dalmatians. Next door to Hernando’s office was a tattoo parlour. Many of our country’s brave young fighting men went there for tattoos of their mothers, Barney Google and Eleanor Roosevelt. It was these same young men who displayed such courage on Bataan and Iwo Jima. The courage that made this country safe for you, me, our children, zoo animals and restoring old Hudsons as a hobby.


We present a morphological study of the 2004 August 18 solar eruption that occurred in the active region NOAA 10656 near the west limb using the extreme-ultaviolet (EUV) data from the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (MLS), hard X-ray (HXR) data of the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), and microwave data of the Owens Valley Solar Array. In this event, we have an excellent set of observations for tracing the early evolution of the coronal mass ejection (CME) from a flux rope emergence to its propagation into space as a well-connected series of events thanks to the coronameter’s field of view…

how can we help students become better readers
How can we help students become better readers?
  • Help them with world knowledge
  • Help them make predictions
  • Help them remember what they’ve read
  • Pre-read (before reading)
    • Ask students to write about what they already know about the topic and how it relates to their lives (informal)
    • Provide students with background knowledge (vocabulary, typical expressions, context, purpose) that will facilitate familiarity with what they are about to read
    • Provide a list of discussion questions that they try to answer as they read
  • Post-write
    • Ask students to keep reading journals
    • Ask students to write a response to the material; have them swap this with others in class for additional responses
  • Use Entry tickets
  • Show them how to read within your discipline

“Reading Philosophy with Background Knowledge and Metacognition” by David Concepción

(available on TLA website)

concepci n
  • Advice for readers:
    • Take care of yourself
    • Interact with material
    • Keep reasonable expectations
    • Be able to state the author’s conclusion before you come to class (BC)
    • Evaluate gist of author’s argument (BC)
    • Flag and take notes
concepci n three part process
Concepción – Three Part Process
  • Facet One – Stage Setting
    • Pre-Read
      • Quickly – getting a sense of the features of the text
      • Skim first and last paragraph to see where it’s going
      • Check headings
    • Fast-Read
      • Read entire piece quickly
      • Look up definitions of key terms you don’t know
      • Flag the structure
      • Don’t get bogged down
concepci n three part process19
Concepción – Three Part Process
  • Facet Two – Understanding
    • Re-read entire article VERY CAREFULLY
    • Correct or add to previous flagging
    • Take lots of notes
      • To rephrase
      • To understand author’s point of view
      • To diagram major moves
      • To work out/create/write a summary
concepci n three part process20
Concepción – Three Part Process
  • Facet Three – Evaluating
    • Fix any mistaken flagging or notes
    • Write down anything new that you discover
    • Enter the debate
      • Is every conclusion well-defended
      • Are there alternate conclusions
      • Are there counter-examples?
      • Is there a conflict between what I believe and what the author says?
      • Are there points the author did not consider?
concepci n three part process21
Concepción – Three Part Process
  • “How am I doing”
    • At each stage, reflect on the reading/thinking process you are going through and assess how it is working.
      • What kind of a text is this? (primary or secondary)
      • Who is the author?
      • What can I learn from the section headings, title, conclusion?
      • Have I identified the main thesis or argument?
      • Have I reread (again) the confusing passages? Can I determine why the passages are confusing?
      • How might the author respond to my criticism?
reading journals
Reading Journals

For essays, prose fiction, or poetry--although the kind of response to each should vary.

  • Reading Affectively
    • How does this material make me feel?
    • What do I think about this material?
    • What do I believe about this material?
    • What do I know about this material?
  • Reading Paraphrastically
    • What is the most important passage in the material I've just read? And why? How can I put it in my own words?
    • What is the next most important passage? How can I put it in my own words?
  • Reading dialectically:
    • In a notebook, make three columns. At the top of the left column, write "What question is the text responding to?" At the top of the middle column, write "How does the text address the question?" At the top of the right column, write "How does the text's response to the question match with my own personal thinking and experience?“

Three days a week for twenty minutes each. Due at beginning of class.

(borrowing from Jolliffe, Inquiry and Genre)

general strategies summary
General Strategies - Summary
  • Model the act of reading in your subject area or discipline and explain why.
  • Have students pre-read (e.g., look at topic headings , intros, conclusions, etc. before studying the chapter)
  • Have students write down questions they would like answered
  • Show them how you take notes and explain why
  • Show them how you underline or highlight important concepts
  • Encourage them to carry on an active dialog with the author

Other ideas and strategies?

  • Questions?
  • Discussion
  • Concepción, David. “Reading Philosophy with Background Information and Metacognition” Teaching Philosophy, 27:4, 351-368
  • Smith, Frank. Understanding Reading: A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Reading and Learning to Read. Mahway, NJ: LEA, 2004
  • Adams, Marilyn Jager. “Theoretical Approaches to Reading Instruction.” in Cushman et al., Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001
  • Jolliffe, David. Inquiry and Genre. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1999.