Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

...to be beneficial,
our reading must be
carefully directed
Annaeus Lucius Seneca
4 BCE - 65 AD
Roman philosopher

Reading and research series

Pre-reading Strategies

What you bring to the printed page
will affect how you understand what you read,
and may be what is most important in understanding what you read

Organize yourself before you read

Strategies to activate your prior knowledge:

Brainstorming:
Examine the title of the selection you are about to read
List all the information that comes to mind about this title
Use these pieces of information to recall and understand the material
Use this knowledge to reframe or reorder what you know, or to note what you disagree with, for further research

Group discussions:
Group discussions in and out of class will help you to discover what you bring to your reading, what your fellow students bring, as well as shared experiences
If you find they have new background information, ask for more information from them

Concept or mind mapping:
This is a type of brainstorming where you place the title/subject as the main idea,
then develop a "mind map" around it. It can be effective either in a group or by yourself

Pre-questions:
Often chapters in texts provide organizing questions.
You can also write out a series of questions you expect to be answered when reading:
Examples:

    Definition:
    What is....? Where does ... fit? What group does ... belong to?

    Characteristics:
    How would I describe...? What does ... look like? What are its parts?

    Examples
    What is a good example of ...?
    What are similar examples that share attributes but differ in some way?

    Experience
    What experience have I had with ....? What can I imagine about ...?

Visual Aids:
Pictures and other visual material can activate your prior knowledge.
Use the Internet to search for pictures related to your title/topic to give you visual images of what you are about to read.

Advance Organizers:
Relate new reading material to something you already know, to your background or experiences. Ask your teacher for assistance in developing these.


Additional Pre-reading Strategies:

Overviews:
Discussing information about the selection or assignment prior to reading must take place.
This may take the form of class discussions, printed previews, photographs, outlines, or films. Spend enough time before the students begin the assignment to ensure understanding of it.

Vocabulary Previews:
Unfamiliar key words need to be taught to students before reading so that new words, background information, and comprehension can improve together.

    List all words in the assignment that may be important for students to understand. Arrange words to show the relationships to the learning task. Add words students probably already understand to connect relationships between what is known and the unknown. Share information with students. Verbally quiz them on the information before assigned reading begins.

Structural Organizers: Before reading an assignment, basic frameworks which are included in the text should be pointed out such as cause-effect or problem-solution. It can be beneficial to call attention to specific plans of paragraph or text organization such as signal words, main idea sentences, highlighted phrases, headings and subtitles. A review of skimming techniques might also be appropriate as these various areas are covered.

A Purpose for Reading: When students have a purpose for reading a selection, they find that purpose not only directs their reading towards a goal, but helps to focus their attention. Purposes may come from teacher directed questions, questions from class discussions or brainstorming, or from the individual student. Along with the question, it is a good idea to pose predictions of the outcome and problems which need to be solved. These may be generated by the student or the teacher, but the teacher should use these to guide students in the needed direction for the assigned selection.

Author Consideration: Depending upon the content area, a discussion of the author of the particular work can be helpful to the understanding of it. What is the author trying to say? What is his point of view and his reason for writing the particular work?


KWL: This strategy consists of three steps for students to use with expository text:

    What do I Know? What do I Want to learn? What did I Learn?

A good strategy for group discussions.
Develop a three column poster with each question in a column and list out responses.
See also: K - W - L


Reading and research series

Reading critically | Pre-reading strategies | SQ3R reading method |
KWL reading method | Marking & underlining | Reading difficult material | Interpretive reading | Reading essays | Reading fiction | Narrator/character types |
Speed and comprehension | Researching on the Internet | Evaluating websites |
Organizing research: computers | Organizing research: note cards


Adapted from Porter, Karla, M.Ed., Pre-reading strategies, funded by the State Board of Education from Federal Funds, Weber State University.