Ever find yourself finishing a lengthy chapter only to discover that you can’t remember anything that you’ve just read? Reading for retention, is more than just getting from the beginning of a chapter to the end. Effective reading is all about attention and focus. It gives the mind time to absorb the material. But how does one do that? Use these two reading strategies, metacognition and active reading, kids (and adults) can teach themselves to become effective readers.
Metacognition is a reading strategy that allows the reader to take control over their reading by thinking through the text. This strategy requires the reader to think about the text before, during, and after.
How It Works
Prior to reading, the reader clarifies the purpose for the reading the material. I a kid is reading a biology chapter about genetics, she may write down that she is reading the chapter to better understand meiosis and gene inheritance. I suggest having a reading notebook for every subject, and for every chapter read, a page should be used to write down the purpose of reading the chapter (or book if a child is very young).
Monitoring comprehension while reading through the text is a major component of metacognition. The reader marks difficult passages in the notebook or directly onto the text. For example, if a concept in the text doesn’t make sense, the reader may jot down, “I don’t understand the concept on page nine” in his notes. At this point, the reader should either reread the concept and attempt to make sense of it, or go back to it after completing the rest of the material.
Upon completion of the text, the reader checks her understanding of the text. During this stage, the reader needs to identify what was difficult to understand and work to understand the author's intention. It is important that the reader understand that chapter before moving any further.
Active reading uses several reading strategies to help readers gain as much understanding of the text as possible. Students should always have a pen and notebook handy. Active reading expects the reader to engage with the text fully. Active reading requires a quiet study space to be effective.
How It Works
Learning New Vocabulary
The reader writes down and looks up the definitions of unknown words or concepts in the material.
Take Effective Notes
Ask questions and take notes.
Rather than highlighting important material make comments, notes, and asking questions in a notebook. Don't forget to jot down the page number. Notes can be fragments or summaries of the reading.
Readers should use the headings within the text as the organizational structure for their notes.
See it Young Padawan
For added understanding, active readers should create outlines, diagrams, and flow charts to connect concepts. Think mind mapping...
At the end of an essay or chapter, students write a one-page summary with several examples to show that they understand the material. It works.
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