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Reading strategies


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  • 1. Becoming a college-level reader reading strategies
  • 2. that’s confusing …
    • Our ultimate goal when reading is to understand . If you get it on the first try, great. If not, you need to decide what is confusing in text.
    • Then, choose the best strategy to fix your confusion
  • 3. that’s confusing | vocabulary
    • Example: words from the first page of Chapter 6: Budget or Fudge it – National Aid
      • Tilapia -- Kebab -- Abruptly
      • Ambassador -- Minister -- Incongruously
      • Insight -- Diplomatic
    • For a book like this, decide which words are part of the lingo (language and vocabulary special to the topic), and which ones are not . Focus on words that are lingo – these will most likely be important again soon.
  • 4. that’s confusing | vocabulary
    • Choose words to focus on, make sure you know what they mean
      • Skim the text before reading to pick out tricky vocabulary words
      • Take words apart and sound them out.
      • Skip the word and read on. Come back and figure out the word.
      • Connect this word to other ideas you do understand in the text Remember where you have seen the word before.
      • Reread.
      • Use the dictionary to find the sound, spelling and/or the meaning.
      • Keep a word list. Keep track of new vocabulary and their meanings in some way.
  • 5. that’s confusing | importance
    • Not everything in a text is equally important. How do you decide?
      • Be picky – choose just a few (3-5) quotes, phrases, or moments. Avoid calling a whole page, section or anecdote (mini-story) important.
      • Use the chapter title or section heading. (If there isn’t one, try to make one up)
      • Use textual features: changes in font, items that are offset (like in the margins, or in boxes of their own), special images (like maps and charts) are all helpful.
  • 6. that’s confusing | background knowledge
    • Feeling trapped in a book with words, phrases and topics that seem completely foreign? It’s time to build your background knowledge!
    • Keep in mind, you can work to do this before or during reading .
    • Use the title, description on the back, important words, and author’s name to help you determine words that will be helpful in a key word search
  • 7. that’s confusing | background knowledge
    • Visit the library, use the internet, or use class materials to revisit readings that are related, but written in more friendly language
    • If on the internet, choose sites that are for students, not experts in this topic! Try
      • Adding ‘lesson plan’ to the end of your search, which will help you find things prepared for students
      • Newspaper articles, which often give good, specific examples (which might not be in an expository text), and offer the latest updates on the topic
      • videos, which often show rather than tell, while still using important vocabulary words.
  • 8. that’s confusing | sentence structure
    • Sentences full of ‘extras’ (often separated by commas or semicolons) can make you feel like you’ve lost the main idea
      • Work to find the subject ( who or what is doing) and verb ( action being done).
      • Look for conjunctions , or connector words, like but , and , or , because and however
      • Look for items in pairs or lists (you can think of them as one ‘chunk’ in a sentence)
      • Ignore adjectives that aren’t necessary for meaning
      • Reword things if you need to simplify
  • 9. that’s confusing | sentence structure
    • Example : “American society can maintain a substantive role in providing for its domestic public social needs because it has a well-functioning state and a welfare safety net” (ADM, 55).
    • American society can maintain a substantive role in providing for its domestic public social needs because it has a well-functioning state and a welfare safety net.
    • Becomes: American society can afford to help with people’s needs because the state works well and has a safety net called welfare .
  • 10. I get it | STOP AND …
    • So, you identified what’s confusing
    • Then you fixed your confusion
    • You’re ready for the next level of reading: building meaningful connections with what you’ve understood
    • Good readers use ‘STOP AND’ strategies to connect with their reading.
  • 11. STOP AND | ask questions
    • Using this strategy, you can ask about almost anything … just be careful that you’re not taking your ‘connections’ too far from the reading
      • Who is this character? What do they believe in? Is this character like anyone I know?
      • What’s the point of this being included? How does this build, or add to, the text?
      • What do I know that connects to this idea?
  • 12. STOP AND | make predictions
    • This strategy is especially important at the beginning of your reader. Make some thoughtful guesses about
      • What will come next
      • What you’ll learn from the text
      • What your instructor will ask you to do with this text
    • As you read, correct your predictions if they were incorrect, or make new ones.
  • 13. STOP AND | create mental pictures
    • This strategy works best for literature (especially plays, short stories and novels). But you can also use it with expository texts and poetry.
      • Can you imagine the characters in motion?
      • Can you picture the setting of text? What mood does it suggest?
      • Can you envision the graphs, tables, charts or maps that go with the facts and ideas presented?
      • Could you illustrate this text, and help others picture the key ideas?
  • 14. STOP AND | draw conclusions
    • As you read, it’s important to stop and connect ideas to one another, especially across sections.
    • Think about
      • The order the writer uses to present information
      • Repeated ideas, images, words or phrases
      • Section titles and headings (or anything in the margins)
      • Summarizing what you have read so far