Content area reading strategies
Everyone agrees that sound reading and comprehension skills are essential for learning. However, content area textbooks often provide more of a challenge, especially as students reach middle and high school. That’s when the reading volume and level of difficulty increases. The results can be a negative impact on content learning which will largely determine academic success.
One strategy for boosting reading comprehension involves helping students recognize word clues that point to a specific structure. For example, compare/contrast paragraphs may contain the words “however” and “both.” This is where visual organizers such as Venn diagrams can help students compare and contrast concepts. Then students can write summaries to clarify meaning in their own minds.
Students also need comprehension skills that include learning new vocabulary prior to reading, learning how to use text clues to identify critical information (such as titles, subheadings, graphics, and summary statements), and recognizing key terms that imply relationships between ideas.
Over time, these strategies will become second nature. A good reader will use these tools subconsciously in order to understand what they’re reading. However, struggling readers have to be taught what strategies to use, when to use them, and how to go about it. With practice, harnessing these strategies will become second nature for them regardless on the content area.
- Reading Skills