Reading Strategies
  • Look at the picture for clues
  • Skip the word and read to the end of the sentence 
  • Go back and get your mouth ready to say the first sound/s in the word
  • Look for a "chunk" you know
  • Say a word that makes sense
  • Ask these three questions...
  • "Does it look right?"
  •  "Does it sound right?"
  •  "Does it make sense?"

We have been working on “schema.”  Schema, simply put, is using what you already know to help you better understand or connect to what you are reading.  Readers use their schema by thinking about what they already know about the topic of the story, author, and/or characters before, during and after reading.  Readers then add to or “fix up” their schema as they learn new information.

To help your child make connections or use their schema as they read at home, ask them the following questions:

  • Does this story remind you of anything that has happened to you?
  • Does this book remind you of any books you have read?
  • Does this story remind you of anything you have heard on the news or read in the newspaper?

We have been learning about how making predictions before and during reading can help us as readers. Making predictions helps the child focus on the characters and events. Your child is more likely to remember what happened if s/he is actively thinking about the story as s/he reads.  Making predictions before reading helps the child anticipate vocabulary that may be in the story.

  • To help your child make predictions before reading ask: 
  • What do you think this story is going to be about

Have them:

  • Look at the front and back cover of the book
  •  Read the summary on the back of the book
  • Look at the pictures throughout the story

To help your child make predictions while reading ask:

  • What do you think will happen next?
While they:
  • Use the story to support their answer
  • Use the pictures to support their answer
One of the most powerful tools that skilled readers develop is their ability to visualize what they are reading.  Visualization is the process of creating mental images (or playing a movie in your head) and making associations to the text by using our prior knowledge (or what we already know).
To help your child visualize as s/he reads have them:
  • Close their eyes and tell you what they see after reading a short section of text.
  • Tell you words from the text that helped them play a movie in their mind.
  • After reading a section of the story together, have your reader describe what they see in their head, afterwards you share your visions.
We have been practicing asking questions as we read.  Good readers ask questions for many different reasons. Before reading a text, perhaps they are curious about something they might find out. During reading, asking questions can help them stay engaged with difficult or unfamiliar material. Help your reader by stressing the importance of stopping to consider what has been read along the way and by letting them know that turning the information into questions—even questions that they already know the answers to—leads them to reflect on and better comprehend what has been read.  When reading with your child use statements like:
I wonder...
I think...
What if...
Some answers may be found right in the text (thin questions) and some may cause the reader to really think about the information in the text and what they already know (thick questions). 
We have been working on summarizing.  Summarizing is pulling the most important ideas out of what we have read.  We pull out the gist of the story or the main points that are worth remembering.
When reading with your student ask them to:
  • pull out main ideas
  • focus on key details
  • use key words or phrases
  • break down the larger ideas
  • write only enough for the listener to get the gist of the story 
We have been working on being responsible for our own learning by using "fix-up strategies" as we read.  Readers use "fix-up strategies" when they detect an obstacle or derailment of understanding as they are reading and use strategies to repair these break downs.
When readers don't understand what they read, they do certain things to make sure they understand before reading on:
  • Notice when understanding is lost
  • Stop and go back to clarify thinking
  • Reread to enhance understanding
  • Read ahead to clarify meaning
  • Identify and talk about what is confusing about the text
  • Recognize that all questions have value
  • Talk to another reader about the text
  • Read the text aloud
  • Slow down


As students begin to perfect their use of the above strategies, they begin to exhibit metacognitive abilities.  Exactly what is metacognition? The word sounds intimidating, but it simply means thinking about our thinking.  Metacognition enables us to be successful learners.  Metacognition refers to higher order thinking which involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Activities such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a task are metacognitive in nature. Metacognition plays a critical role in successful learning and it is important to to determine how students can be taught to better apply their cognitive resources through metacognitive control.