While in conversation with a parent the other day regarding reading and our balanced literacy approach in MISD, we visited about the nine habits good readers need in their toolbox to be successful lifelong readers. Perhaps these sound familiar…
Before reading begins:
- Check it out! Preview a selection before reading to anticipate content and plan how to read it. For example, we do “book walks” during shared reading event where we “walk” through the book looking at clues, illustrations, and concepts in print to spark interest and pique curiosity. When in the library, you can often see a child pick a book, browse/book walk it, and choose it.
- Think about what you know about the subject. Drawing on personal experience or background knowledge relating to the selection helps to improve comprehension.
- Decide what you need to know. Establishing a purpose for reading helps the reader to focus on the content or message.
- Stop and ask, “How does this connect to what I know?” Connecting content being read to prior knowledge or information helps the reader to organize ideas and identify relationships.
- Stop and ask, “Does this make sense?” Using self-checking strategies helps the reader determine personal understanding of what is being read.
- Stop and ask, “If it doesn’t make sense, what can I do?” Clear up confusing parts by re-reading, defining a new word through context clues, or using other learning strategies practiced with the teacher in small groups. (It always amazes me what I see our learners using when they struggle; their coping skills are truly extraordinary!)
Finally, after reading:
- React to what was read. Decide what has been learned, determine personal feelings, or think about other points of view (author’s intent).
- Check to see what is remembered. Pause, reflect, react, and share what has been learned immediately after reading for better recall at a later time. This is why you see students in classrooms talking and sharing about their reading; it’s part of the process to overall comprehension. If you teach something to someone else, you know it better too!
- Use what was read! Assign a value to what was read to better internalize the content so new ideas form.
It’s an exciting process, this learning to read and reading to learn! The BEST way you can encourage your reader is to model and participate in the process daily–no exceptions and no excuses . . . READ, READ, READ! 🙂
Note: I owe special thanks and praise to my parents, Sam and Brenda Folsom, who both always modeled good reading for me and with me…even to this day. 🙂