Usually, the learning process for students entails reading complex print materials and texts to understand the information therein and use it elsewhere. Therefore, having the necessary skills in reading becomes a necessary tool to students aiming at succeeding in the learning process. Here, students may have several reading strategies to work with but it is imperative for learners to take some time in knowing how different strategies are applied in different contexts (Pressley, 2006).
In addition, since reading is an active thinking process that involves comprehending different materials, there is the paramount need for students to apply different reading strategies before, during, and after reading (Adams, 2004). This paper presents a discussion on ten different reading strategies, which are used in different contexts. Therefore, the strategies examined in this paper include making prediction, KWL, summarize, drawing conclusion, think-aloud, making inferences, story map, think-pair-share, and asking questions (QAR). In addition, the paper examines the impact of these strategies in teaching the process of reading.
Teaching students the process of making predictions entails a situation where students are given the opportunity to predict the content of different materials before reading it. This allows the students to take some time in comprehending and thinking critically during the reading process to assess the accuracy of their predictions (Scott et al., 2004, p. 1239). Conversely, predictions provide the students with a reason for reading. When students are reading with a purpose in mind, they get motivated to understand what they are reading because they are looking for facts to substantiate or contradict prior arguments or predictions. Therefore, teachers should aim at incorporating the strategy in the pre-reading activities.
On the other hand, the KWL strategy means ‘what I know’, ‘what I want to learn’, and ‘what I learnt’. Therefore, the KWL strategy enhances reading by having the students reflect on their background knowledge. Here, the students follow a specific procedure involving three steps, which include, the “know” step, “want to learn” step, and “What I learned” step (Pressley, 2006). In the first step, the students undergo a brainstorming procedure to analyze their background knowledge in a particular topic or field. In the second one, the students are asked to reflect on and present the reasons why they want to learn the topic or read the text. Lastly, the students provide a write-up of what they learned from the reading. Overall, this strategy improves the students’ ability to understand expository texts and graphic materials.
The ‘summarize’ strategy provides the students with the opportunity of capturing the most important points in a text during the reading process. Here, the students take some time out in the middle of reading to reflect on what they have already read (Olshavsky, 2007, p. 654). Therefore, at the end of the reading exercise, the students can use their summaries to generate coherent discussions in the subsequent reading activities. In addition, a summary enables the students to remember what they read besides making the whole process of reading enjoyable and satisfying.
The strategy of ‘drawing conclusions’ entails collecting information from different sources, analyzing it, and presenting an individualized meaning of the information. Usually, this strategy is used together with a graphic organizer to explore different materials. In addition, the graphic organizer requires the students to draw conclusions in a logical manner during research or the reading process. The organizer is subdivided into three parts, which include “I Read”, “I Think”, and “Therefore” (Olshavsky, 2007, p. 660). In the first part, the students record what they have read and in the second one, they input what they already know. Finally, in the last part, the students draw conclusions based on what they read and their background knowledge. Overall, this strategy enables students to use their basic knowledge in responding to various notions when reading.
The ‘think-aloud’ strategy involves giving readers the opportunity to speak out their thoughts when thinking about the questions that were asked, when reading, and even when tackling math problems. Usually, the strategy is used by teachers who think loud to demonstrate the different ways of engaging complex problems such as reading comprehension. Therefore, by thinking loud, the teachers provide the students with different examples of solving problems in a professional way (Pressley, 2006). In addition, as the students think out loud, they get to learn how to orient their thoughts and behaviors during the process of problem solving. The students do also learn to become independent learners.
‘Making inferences’ is a reading strategy that enables learners to link what they are reading with their thoughts and in the process; they get to draw an educated conclusion. In addition, making inferences is an excellent comprehension skill, which enables students to draw an informed meaning of the materials read by considering their explicit features and the implicit evidence (Adams, 2007). Moreover, making inferences when reading enables the learners to employ their background information and experiences in analyzing what they are reading and draw conclusions in the present, past, and the future. Overall, the strategy enables learners to develop the capability and confidence required in understanding the understated ideas in different materials.
The ‘story map’ strategy involves teaching students different ways of reading materials such as expository texts, fiction books, and non-fiction materials. Here, the students are allowed to read selected topics and at the end of the reading process, the students must create a map(s) showing the logical organization of ideals and notions in the text. Subsequently, the maps are presented to other students for discussions and clarifications (Olshavsky, 2007, p. 665). In addition, other students are allowed to give their comments on what they think or comprehend from the texts. Overall, this strategy enhances the capability of individual students in responding and comprehending different materials. In addition, the strategy helps readers to generate a logical framework to be used in writing or discussions.
The ‘think-pair-share’ strategy can be used when reading different materials such as expository texts, fiction books, and non-fiction materials. Here, the students are paired with other student partners. The pair is then given materials to read and after the first reading, they should take some time out to think about what they have read after which they make notes based on their thoughts about the reading (Pressley, 2006). Subsequently, the members of a given pair share their thoughts and come-up with selected points, which they should share with a larger discussion group. In the larger discussion groups, different pairs raise the pertinent issues that arose during their paired conversations so that the other students can contribute their views. This marks the end of one cycle of the ‘think-pair-share’ strategy. Overall, this strategy gives readers the chance to tell others what they have read and their views on certain issues.
Lastly, the Question-Answer-Relationships (QAR) strategy examines various approaches used when reading and in answering different questions. Here, the students are made to understand that the answers to different questions can be retrieved from the text or graphic materials they are reading. Conversely, the students should also use their background knowledge to answer different types of questions. In addition, the strategy requires students to come up with questions from different areas of study. These questions are then used to create a QAR visual, which should be analyzed by students to discover the various QARs used in different disciplines. Overall, the QAR strategy enables students to widen their thinking beyond what they are reading when it comes to answering questions.
The paper examines different reading strategies employed by readers in different contexts to enhance the comprehension of various text materials and graphics. From the discussions above, it is notable that there are different reading strategies, which are applicable before, during, and after reading. In addition, reading is an active thinking process that involves comprehending different materials. Therefore, there is the paramount need to teach students these strategies to enable them to develop the necessary skills required in reading, asking questions, discussing, writing, and answering different questions.
Adams, M. M. (2004). Beginning to read: thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Olshavsky, E. J. (2007). Reading as problem solving: An investigation of strategies. International research Association, 12 (4), 654-674.
Pressley, M. (2006). Reading instruction that works: the case for balanced teaching. New York: Guilford Press.
Scott, P. G., Cross, D. R. & Lipson, M. Y. (2004). Informed strategies for learning: A program to improve children’s reading awareness and comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76 (6), 1239-1252.