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You often find that the world around adults can disappear as they read.

While reading, we are making connections, predicting, critiquing, and contextualizing, already plotting how we may use any new information or insights we find. It’s probably surprising to realize we do all that just when we read.

Education resources

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All About Me Activity

All About Me Activity

$1.75
Story Retelling Worksheet-Fiction

Story Retelling Worksheet-Fiction

$1.25
Rounding Task Cards

Rounding Task Cards

$2.00
Bug Study Montessori Insects Observation Worksheet Early Writing

Bug Study Montessori Insects Observation Worksheet Early Writing

Free

"Paper Bag Princess" Book Companion, WH Comprehension Questions with Visual answer choices

$2.49
Halloween Irregular Plural Nouns Activity Packet

Halloween Irregular Plural Nouns Activity Packet

$1.50
Dolch Sight Words Matching Words to Pic- Task Cards- Phonics

Dolch Sight Words Matching Words to Pic- Task Cards- Phonics

$3.00
You've Been Hugged - Staff Morale Booster

You've Been Hugged - Staff Morale Booster

$3.00
Bible Study Crossword Puzzles (Set 9)

Bible Study Crossword Puzzles (Set 9)

$4.00

Active reading strategies

Teachers must train our students in these skills when they are young. Recently, a study in a second-grade classroom where 70 percent of instructions were given in English and 30 percent in Spanish analyzed ways to engage children with reading.

In the study, the students would sit around on the floor, and the teacher would pause every few minutes to allow them to ask questions. Every student would begin their comment by saying, “I would like to make a text-to-self connection, or I would like to make a text-to-text connection.” This specific analytic skill had been taught to them from a young age. They have been given a language and strategy, a way to phrase their thoughts, that allowed them to delve deeper into the text, and this was from children who were still learning to read, which is impressive.

The message is clear: Regardless of age, children need a structured opportunity to engage with the text in a deep and meaningful way, regardless of whether they are in the learning-to-read stage or the stage of reading.

Below are some really good strategies to build those active reading skills:

1. Check text and vocabulary

Before reading, look at subheadings, titles, charts, graphs, and captions. Speak out loud as a group, and encourage your students to predict what they will read. Ask students to point out phrases or words that look new to them or that they are curious about.

Consider the structure of the text. Is the context sad or funny? Is it a poem, story, or fiction? And how do we know these things? By providing your students with knowledge of the text structure and its various associated features, students begin to identify the author’s intent or goals and begin their analysis.

2. Don’t read passively

This particular strategy confronts the passive reading approach. Instead of instructing your students to “just read”, you should say, “When reading, tackle this mission…Look for”. They will read closer in search of the author’s purpose, humor, use of various literary devices (imagery and foreshadowing), confusion, facts, and much more.

3. Mark the text

You can use these steps for marking the text:

  1. Number paragraphs
  2. Circle words, names, phrases, and dates that stand out
  3. Underline important information and the author’s claims
  4. Teach students how to write in the margins (for example, by asking questions)

4. Link text

You can teach students the text-to-text, text-to-self, or text-to-world strategy mentioned previously. Read as a whole group and model it often. This means linking it to something personal, for example, “this reminds me of a poem, a birthday party, etc.

5. Summarize

We often expect students to summarize without providing the necessary models or support. Consider how hard it is to summarize for adults, then think about the students still in the decoding stage. Below are two effective strategies for adolescents and children Magnet Summary and Sum it Up. Don’t forget to model these summarizing tools during class, then follow this with guided practice before asking your students to summarize independently.

One of the ultimate goals for all teachers is to prepare their students to read critically and deeply on their own: just like adults.

If you need support for books and reading materials for your classroom, but you’re struggling with funds, then why not raise some funds via Classful? We know that with budget cuts and lower pay, finding money and resources can be challenging, but sign up today to see how Classful can help.