Guide To Teaching and Learning

How to read

(adapted from Teach Students How to Learn)

Most students have not been taught how to read effectively. They don’t do it. And what they do read tends to be extremely short. Most people read, then their minds wander, but they keep ‘reading’ because they’re eyes are continuing to see the words, then the mind realizes it’s wandered, so you have to go back and re-read, even though you really didn’t read it in the first place. The steps below seem time consuming but students report that it actually takes less time than reading, realizing you’ve stopped paying attention, and re-reading.

Step 1: Preview the text, looking at headers and subheaders, boldface and italics, graphics and images. This prepares the brain for pattern recognition and sense making.

Step 2: Identify questions you hope the reading will answer. This can provide motivation.

Step 3: Read the first paragraph and paraphrase it.

Step 4: Read the next paragraph and paraphrase it, incorporating the information from the first paragraph. 

Continue on thus. 

Encourage students to read with an eye toward explaining the material–teaching it–to someone else, a friend, classmate, parents, stuffed animal. Having to teach the material improves motivation and comprehension.

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