ALL THROUGH MY HIGH SCHOOL years, I was an avid reader of books: fiction and non-fiction, comics, magazines and so forth. I still recall that well after I had graduated from High School and university, there was a year that I read 121 novels, 79 magazines and 85 short stories.
READING books gives us an opportunity to be informed, entertained or escape as we comprehend fiction and non-fiction texts against their understanding of the world, their personal insights, opinions and finally comparing those texts to others.
I have managed to do this and even taught my children the elements of independent reading. Learning to read is challenging for many High School students and is even more so when the process is unclear. Without effective reading strategies, many students struggle and a large percentage will be left behind in High School lessons, when they are unable to acquire the skills necessary to read grade level materials.
As such, it is never too late to formulate a strategy and incorporate reading into our children’s lives. Reading enriches not only your vocabulary and writing skills, but also keeps High School students active, entertained and curious while at home during this self-isolation.
INDEPENDENT READING CHALLENGE
Independent reading is students’ reading of text — such as books, magazines, and newspapers — on their own, with minimal to no assistance from adults. It can consist of reading done in or out of school, including purely voluntary reading for enjoyment or assigned reading for homework.
During this period of isolation, we can actually take advantage of this predicament and implement some reading strategies for our children to pick on, by letting our home students read a book of their choosing.
Two Reading Methods Suitable @ Home
There are many reading strategies but, from the lot, I have picked on two that I have found to be most effective. This is what effective high-flying students at High School implement in their reading:
SQRRR or SQ3R is a comprehension strategy that helps students think about the text they are reading while they’re reading. Often categorized as a study strategy, SQ3R helps students “get it” the first time they read a text by teaching them how to read and think like an effective reader.
This strategy includes the following five steps:
- SURVEY: Students review the text to gain initial meaning from the headings, bolded or italicised text, footnotes and charts. Thus, scan the piece of writing to establish its purpose and get the main ideas.
- QUESTION: Students begin to generate questions giving purpose to improve concentration about their reading from previewing it. This aids comprehension.
- READ: As students read, they need to look for answers to the questions they formulated during their preview of the text. These questions, based on the structure of the text, help focus students’ reading. In other words, make notes and highlight main ideas that support the concept.
- RECITE: As students move through the text they should recite or rehearse the answers to their questions and make notes about their answer for later studying. Reciting helps to put the information into your long-term memory as well as putting what you have learned into your own words.
- REVIEW: After reading, students should review the text to answer lingering questions and recite the questions they previously answered. Reviewing each time you study will eliminate the need to “cram” for a test.
NB: There is another version of this method called the SQ4R. In this method the additional R can mean several things that you can do to add more power to your study method:
R = RELATE – It is easier to remember ideas that are personally meaningful. When you study a chapter, try to link new facts, terms, and concepts with information you already know. It could also mean wRite. This is making “maps” for yourself; reducing the information and rereading or skimming to locate and prove your points, as well as writing down the key terms and ideas in outline form. Lastly, the R also means RECORD. This is marking the textbook increases understanding of the material for the present and for future reference. The process of selecting and marking requires you to find the main ideas. Later, when you review the text for exam purposes, you will find that the textbook markings and highlights enable you to grasp the essential points without having to read entire paragraphs and chapters again.
THE KWL READING STRATEGY
This is an instructional technique used to improve reading comprehension. It also improves a student’s ability to remember the material. KWL is most often used with expository reading materials such as classroom textbooks, research articles, and journalistic pieces.
KWL is a research strategy. The approximate acronym stands for
- What I KNOW
- What I WANT to Know, and
- What I LEARNED.”
Many students and teachers also use it as a reading comprehension aid: The KWL is a BEFORE, DURING and AFTER reading and learning strategy.
It is used to connect a student’s prior knowledge to what they are actively learning using three key techniques in that:
- The student begins by thinking about what they already know about the topic.
- Next, they think about what they want to know or find out.
- Finally, they actively learn something new about the topic.
This method explicitly teaches key reading comprehension and learning skills through making connections, self-questioning, visualising, inferring, determining importance, summarising, synthesising and self-monitoring. Consequently, it helps students become more purposeful, active readers, thinkers and learners.
25 READING STRATEGIES YOU CAN DO @ HOME
These strategies enhance students’ comprehensive reading skills. By using some of these techniques, parents can help High School students, to able to understand the material and direct their attention to the details. Subsequently, these strategies enhance students’ learning and help them prepare for an essay or report submission or even for a test.
- ACTIVATING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE – It is an indisputable fact that better comprehension occurs when students are engaged in activities that bridge their old knowledge with the new. For example, a simple question like “what do you know about … (a particular topic)” will stimulate students’ previous knowledge of that topic. This will help them connect the current reading to their already existing knowledge and make the new reading more stimulating and engaging. The strategy allows students to work their way up from an already existing schema, instead of starting a new one.
- QUESTIONING – This encourages students to frame questions before and after reading to increase their comprehension. There are three main questions to reflect on:
- A ‘right now question’ focuses on the material presented. What is the essence of the material read? What are the facts that are being mentioned?
- An ‘analytical question’ requires students to ponder over what they have learnt. What does the author want me to understand from this material?
- A ‘research question’ encourages the students to look for information beyond what is in the text. This allows for more comprehensive active learning to occur.
- COLLAGE – This is a collection or combination of various themes/ideas/images/techniques in a text being read. This could be creating an individual collage around themes/symbolism/ characters in the book/magazine/short stories.
- ANALYZING TEXT STRUCTURE – This requires students to learn how to analyze or comprehend the structure of a text: The five key techniques are Exposition/Introduction; Rising Action; Conflict; Falling Action and Resolution/Denouement. It can also be in the form of cause-effect pattern, problem-solution pattern, or a descriptive pattern like a list, web or a matrix pattern. They should also be taught to make use of subheadings, labels, captions, tables, graphs, etc. as these help students to understand the material better.
- READER RESPONSE – Pick the most important word/line/image/object/event in the chapter and explain why you chose it. Be sure to support all analysis with examples.
- NOTES AND QUOTES – This applies more to a prescribed text, be it at GCSE/AP English/IB. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side write down important quotes, on the other comment on and analyze the quotes.
- TEXT TO SELF – Based upon a book you have just read, share a story about yourself that is related to an event or character that was in the book. It is probably best done in the form of a written recount. Link your experience to no more than four situations that occurred within the text. Thus, text to self is a great opportunity for students to become introspective about the content they read and make comparisons to their own experiences in life.
- VISUALIZATION – Students should be encouraged to form visual images in their head as they read the text, which will help in better comprehension. Research suggests that students should visualize them as structural images or diagrams instead of mere pictures, as pictures have a tendency to fade.
- ROUND TABLE – This is an opportunity to give students a chance to talk about what intrigues, bothers, confuses them about the book/story they are reading. Just be a good listener and a keen participant.
- DEAR DIARY – Let the High School student place oneself in the shoes of one of the characters they have just read about and write a diary entry of a key moment from the story. Try to choose a moment in the story in which the character has plenty of interaction and emotion to share in a diary entry. It is usually written from a first person perspective not always written in present tense.
- INSPIRATIONS – Watch a film inspired by a story and then compare and contrast: eg – The Imitation Game tells the story of computer scientist Alan Turing, who tries to crack the Enigma code that the Nazis used to provide security for their radio messages during WWII. American Sniper is a dramatic adaptation by Clint Eastwood, who is a visceral account of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, whose pinpoint accuracy saved countless lives and turned him into a legend during the war in Iraq.
- YOU HAVE THREE WISHES – Imagine a genie lands in the midpoint of the story you have just read and grants the protagonists/antagonists three wishes. Formulate those wishes.
- FISHBOWL – This is an impromptu or scheduled task with two to four family members sitting in the middle of a circle and talking about the text. The others make observations about the conversation then rotate into the circle.
- MOVIE REVIEW – This is a follow up of #14. The student writes a review of (or discuss) a movie based on a story they have read. Compare and contrast the text to the movie adaptation
- DEAR AUTHOR – After reading a book encourage the student to write a letter or send an email to the author. You may be surprised by the response. Letters via the publisher are always forwarded to the author.
- DIG DEEPER ON THE WEB – This applies to prescribed texts or if you are just doing it out of interest. Prior to, while, or after reading a book, research the book, its author, or its subject online.
- TIME MACHINE – Instead of traveling into the book, write a scene or story in which the character(s) travel out of the book into today.
- BIOGRAPHY – Write a biography of one of the characters who most interests you.
- AUTOBIOGRAPHY – Have the character that most interests you write their autobiography of the time before, during, or after the story occurs.
- DEAR CLASSMATE – Using email or some other means of corresponding, write each other about the book as you read it, having a written conversation about the book.
- WHAT DO THEY WISH FOR AND WHY? – Consider this – the protagonists/antagonists would their wishes have changed anything about the story? How so? Again think about the cause and effect relationship and how this may have altered the path of the book you have been reading.
- AFTER READING: After reading several of the next chapters in your book…
- For Fiction: write a one page response analyzing the characters, and their motivations. Consider the conflict, setting, relationships of characters and any other significant details that you find important.
- For Non-Fiction: write a one page explaining what you learned and how it confirmed, challenged or changed your thinking today. Tell your reader how you became smarter about that topic.
- P.S. – The term comes from the Latin post scriptum, an expression meaning “written after” (which may be interpreted in the sense of “that which comes after the writing”). Thus, after you read the story, write an epilogue in which you explain – using whatever tense and tone the author does – what happened to the character(s) next.
- SUMMARIZING – The last technique is to summarize the material read. Research has indicated that the ability to summarize enhances comprehension. A summary is the ability to condense main ideas, and connect major themes into concise statements that capture the purpose of a reading for the reader.A student making use of the other four strategies will find it easier to summarize the material. They can summarize the material in the form of diagrams, either visually or in writing.
- Finally, complete the BOOK REVIEW CHALLENGE by taking a comprehensive task here using the Scott County word document.
Dear Parents and Guardians: Talk with your children about the books they are reading.
WHERE DO I GET THE BOOKS?
If you would like an e-book, go to https://www.nypl.org/books-music-movies/ebookcentral
I have also compiled two earlier posts on books to read for High School students. You can access a range of books on the link here:
You could be starting something new and exciting which would be a lifelong hobby. Take up the challenge and enjoy.
Good luck in all your endeavours.
As of old . . .