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During Reading: Tasks and Strategies

Stage Two

Once the reader's mind is "warmed up," the next task for the reader is to interact with the text and to monitor (keep track of) comprehension, paying attention to points at which the material is not clear or the terms are not familiar.

Tasks and Strategies of the During-Reading Stage

It is helpful if the teacher can model reading behavior by "thinking aloud" or reading and signing at the same time to make his or her thought process available to the students as the teacher interacts with the text material. The process involves the following steps on the part of the teacher:

Read the text, saying or signing the idea you are getting.

Ask questions or hypothesize along the way: "I think that means …" or "That's similar to …"

Identify important concepts.

Summarize at the end of a section what you understood.

Designate pairs or groups of students in class to practice this strategy.

A second during-reading strategy involves annotating a text by writing margin notes. Margin notes are important for students because they …

Encourage the student to actively respond to the ideas in the text.

Serve as a visible record of the student's thought process as he or she is reading.

Provide a useful tool for review and test preparation.

What should the student note in the margin of a text? Some ideas for margin notes include (a) writing a synopsis of paragraph ideas, (b) using symbols to call attention to portions of the text, (c) writing down questions, and (d) recording observations.

A synopsis of paragraph ideas could include the following:

"Causes of X"

"Problems with Y"


Symbols to use as margin notes could include the following:

* = important point, key concept

? = I don't understand that idea or sentence.

Def. = definition of a term

The student can write down questions in the margin to either look up later or to ask the instructor about, such as …

"What is synergy?"

The student can record observations about a text that might help in interpreting the texts or putting the information in context, such as …

"The author seems politically biased."

Importantly, students are better able to follow these strategies effectively on their own if they see them demonstrated in class and receive guided practice and feedback from the teacher.