Much of what happens with texts in classrooms gives students the mistaken impression that reading comprehension happens by magic. To begin to build a repertoire of activities for reading comprehension, students need to have the reading process demystified. They need to see what happens inside the mind of a proficient reader, someone who is willing to make the invisible visible by externalizing his or her mental activity.
My students were completely amazed that I, as a mature, adult reader, would find some texts challenging. They delighted in watching me struggle to understand the texts they brought me, recognizing the feeling of being lost, but surprised by my patience and tenacity, by my vigorous search for handholds and willingness to stretch for any shred of meaning. Many found strategies like using the pictures, slowing down, breaking it into chunks, using my knowledge of Spanish, thinking about what the root of a word might mean, wondering about meanings in new contexts, flat-out guessing, etc., to be a complete revelation.
~Gayle Cribb, high school social studies teacher, quoted in “Apprenticing Adolescents to Reading in Subject-Area Classrooms,”