Reading comprehension is influenced by what a reader knows about a text and the reading strategies they apply to build on this knowledge. These focused teaching strategies can be used to support a student’s development within this area of knowledge. The strategies are presented in a developmental sequence to systematically teach aspects of comprehension. This teaching and learning sequence can be applied to a range of text types at the student’s independent reading level. This allows the focus of the teaching to be on the student’s comprehension of the text rather than their word reading skills.
Deciding the likely topic of a text and developing a plan for reading This sequence of activities assists students to decide the likely topic of a text and develop a reading plan. The activities are presented in the following developmental order:
Forming an initial impression of the topic of a text This activity can be repeated to allow students to practise forming an initial impression of the topic of a text.
Guide the student to decide the likely topic of the text, directing them to use text information such as the title, the text type or genre, headings, sub-headings and relevant images if available. Ask the student:
What do you think the text could be about? What do the images tell you?
What does the title tell you?
What is another way of saying the title?
Give students the title of a text or some of the topic sentences in a text. Ask the student to suggest ideas that might be included within the text and discuss how they came to this decision.
Comic Life (available on eduSTAR) allows teachers and student to create annotated visual sequences.
Predicting plausible ideas and events in the text These activities can be repeated to allow students to predict plausible ideas and events in texts.
Cue the student to visualise the suggested topic of the text.
Ask the student to: suggest words and phrases the text might say. For example, say in sentences what the pictures and diagrams show and describe the images the student has in their mind of possible ideas or information to be mentioned in the text.
Prompt the student to suggest questions the text might answer. For example:
Who are the key characters in the text (if appropriate)?
Who is the intended audience for this text?
When did the events described in the text take place?
Where do the events in the text take place?
How does the writer want us respond to the information presented/characters portrayed?
What type of text is this?
What questions could it answer for us?
What words do you think could be in the text?
What was the author’s purpose in writing the text?
Ask the student to summarise what they have decided about the text so far. Say to the student: Even before you begin to read the text, you already know some things about the text that you can use to help you as you read, tell me the key ideas and information about text that will help as you read.
Comic Life (available on eduSTAR) allows teachers and student to create annotated visual sequences. Developing a plan for reading This activity can be repeated to allow students to practise forming a plan of the actions they can use when reading a text.
Ask the students to say the actions they might use when reading the text and what they might do if what they read doesn’t make sense.
A list of actions may be suggested, discussed and added to, in order to support the student to develop a reading plan, including:
I will highlight key words phrases in the text.
I will highlight words that I don’t know and suggest synonyms for these words.
I will read and paraphrase sentences.
I will ask questions about what I read such as: Why did that happen? Why am I told that? What might happen next?
I will visualise an image of what I read in each paragraph to help me remember the main ideas.
I will answer questions about what I read in the text.
I will predict and infer what might happen in the text.
I will summarise key information across paragraphs.
FreeMind (available on eduSTAR) can be used creates visual word maps. For example ask students create a map listing key words and phrases describing the actions they might use when reading a text.