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Teacher-Tested Strategies
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Strategy Toolbox: During Reading
General During Reading

1. Text-Tagging
There are wonderful little stickies available for students to stick in their texts. Depending on the stickies, students could make brief notes or use a color coded system to identify important sections. This is a tool you may want to model for students.

2. Questioning
Any way a teacher can encourage students to question while they read will enhance comprehension. Verbally or in writing, questions force students to interact with the text. The following web sites offer insight into types of questions to spur thinking:
Open-Ended Questions
Questioning Strategies

3. Paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is something many teachers assume their students can do, without modeling or giving samples. Here are some ways to get them to be better at “putting it in their own words”:
• The first few times you ask students to paraphrase something try modeling for them. How would you do it? Read a passage aloud and then think out loud so they can “see” your thought process.
• Ask students to paraphrase a section and collect their writing. Share the best examples with the class.
• Explain why it is important to be able to put things in their own words (teachers often use other wording on tests).
• When you can tell it to someone else you really “know” it.
• Students tend to understand better when they paraphrase .

4. Highlighting
Whenever teachers use supplemental materials that can be written on, it is valuable to take a little time to discuss the most effective way to read them. Oftentimes, this means highlighting important points. Initially students tend to over-highlight. Once again, modeling is very powerful. Begin reading the material together and show students where and why you would highlight. Talk over your thinking process. Make highlighting part of an assignment. Be specific about what students are to highlight.

Reading Guides

This is the traditional “fill in the blank” worksheet. However, check it out. Can you fill in the worksheet without really understanding the material? Students are experienced with many publisher-made worksheets and can fill them in without reading or understanding. Sometimes it is worth the effort to create your own, interspersing application or evaluation questions to encourage students to interact with the text.

Guided Notes

Students need this technique modeled. Many teachers assume that high school students know how to take notes from textbook. However, each text, class and instructor are different. Reading a section together and modeling note taking while commenting on why you took those particular notes is beneficial. You may want to consider using text notes as an evaluative tool as well.

Two-Column Notes

Two-Column Notes are a terrific way to teach students to create organized notes that can be used as a study tool later. This type of note taking can be used both when reading textbooks and when taking notes from a lecture on any subject.

Students create Two-Column Notes by folding each piece of notebook paper so the right edge is lined up with the left lined margin. This leaves a smaller side on the left and more room for notes and sketches on the right.
Key ideas are written on the left of the margin with explanations written on the right.

Once the notes have been written, students can fold the right side of the paper back over to the left margin, leaving only the key words on the left exposed. Students can then study for tests alone, defining the terms and then lifting the right side of the page to check their answers.

Hints for Two-Column Notes
• Include the title and the date
• List main ideas, topics, and key words on the left
• List information and/or subtopics on the right
• Indent subtopics and leave plenty of extra space
• Use only words and phrases, or pictures and diagrams
• Use abbreviations when appropriate
• Make notes neat and complete

Read Stop Write

This is a great in-class reading strategy. The teacher assigns a section of the text to be read. After a period of time the teacher says, “Stop. Write.” The students close their books and write what they remember about what they just read. This can be repeated. It is valuable to pick up the papers and see what your students are thinking and gleaning from what they read. This strategy can also demonstrate the power of re-reading by having the students read the same information a second time, and then adding new learnings to their list.