Monday, March 2, 2015

Reading Comprehension: Fix-up Strategies

Good readers automatically monitor their own comprehension.  They know when they don't understand the text, and they use various fix-up strategies to make sense of what they are reading.  Poor readers, however, often do not recognize that they don't understand.  They muddle through, reading in the same way and at the same rate, even though the text is meaningless to them.  Sometimes poor readers don't expect the words they read to make sense.  They are so used to failing at reading comprehension, that they don't know any different.  For these kids, explicit teaching of fix-up strategies is essential.  Listed below are strategies that can help poor readers improve comprehension.  They can be used separately, or in combination:

1.  Stop and re-read.  This is the most important fix-up strategy.  Don't just keep going if you don't  understand.  When you reread, you might find a word that you skipped or misread.  Sometimes a single word can make a huge difference. 

2.  Slow down.  Read slowly and carefully when things don't make sense.  Vary your reading rate, depending on your understanding.

3.  Question yourself as you read.  Think about whether or not the sentence or paragraph makes sense to you.  Could you retell it to someone in your own words?

4.  Read ahead a few sentences.  Maybe getting a little more information will make things clear and help with the confusion.

5.  Visualize.  Make your own movie in your head and "see" what is happening or what is being described.

4.  Figure out words you don't know.  Look for prefixes, suffixes, and base words.  Use a dictionary if you need to.

5.  Make predictions.  What do you think will happen next?  Check to see if your predictions were right.  Make new predictions as you read further and get more information.  Predicting can keep you focused on what is happening in the text.

6.  Look at pictures, diagrams, charts, and maps.  Read captions and sidebars.  Especially in expository text, a lot of understanding comes from sources other than the paragraphs. 

Struggling readers can benefit greatly from the explicit teaching of these strategies.


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