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High School — Reading
Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies

Overview

Core Resources

Reading Process

Activities

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Activities: Advanced Work

These activities can help your students reach the next level in their understanding of Reading Process.

Writing a Critical Review

Encourage students to write reviews of the books they read independently or in class. Remind students to consider the following as they identify, summarize and evaluate the ideas and information the author has presented:

  • Clearly state your position about the book in your introduction.
  • Compare or contrast your point of view to that of the author by evaluating specific parts of the text.
  • Make a few key points about the book or article; do not discuss everything the author writes.
  • Conclude your commentary with a statement that is suitable to the purpose of your review. (Some reviews summarize the book's content and then evaluate it; others comment on the book and summarize only to give examples.)

Ask students to read scholarly book reviews in such publications as The London Review of Books or The New York Review of Books.

Synthesizing Classics and Culture

Literature addresses universal human struggles and celebrations. Readers of classic literature are able to participate in a cultural dialogue, and well-read students are empowered with the knowledge behind references, allusions and expressions they encounter in daily conversation as they enter college and the work force.

Encourage your students to connect their classroom literary explorations with their experiences in the world outside of school. Look for references and allusions in newspaper headlines, movies, commercials and songs. Shakespearean references are particularly common in daily life. References to "something's rotten in the state of Denmark," or "all the world's a stage," will resonate beyond just the readers who paid attention when they read Hamlet and As You Like It in high school. The references are familiar to many, but have deeper meaning to those who know the texts.

Ask your students to bring in examples of literary references in pop culture. Encourage them to conduct an Internet search of famous lines from literature to see how many resources they discover. This discussion will illuminate for students the value of literary experience beyond the classroom. In addition, the process of identifying relationships between academic texts and cultural experience challenges students to synthesize ideas.

Personal Recommendations

Students benefit from having you as a model reader. If you are an avid reader yourself, it is easy to convince young people of the value of a great story. Your enthusiasm trickles down to your students as you discuss the books, authors and genres you love.

Informally discuss what books you are reading for pleasure and which authors and genres you enjoy. (You may have more recommendations to share with them after vacations when you can leave behind the paper load and indulge in personal reading!) Take time to consider the interests of each of your students and come up with a short personalized reading list. This gesture communicates powerful messages to your class. By taking the time to notice their interests and finding a book or two that each of them might enjoy, you let students know that you care about their reading, that you are interested in knowing what they might like to read, and that books are a personal journey.

Keep a bulletin board in class for students to post recommendations for one another. This exciting hub in your classroom might evolve into a centerpiece that encourages a culture of discussing books. Leave paper and markers handy so that students can post personal notes or recommendations for one another. (You could refer to these as IRs, Instant Recommendations, since students communicate actively using Instant Messaging programs and enjoy IM'ing each other.) Other recommendations might come from individual students to the entire class. Ask students to post the relevant information for each recommended book (author, title, publisher and number of pages) and a brief description to entice other readers. You might use this as an opportunity to model correct citation forms, such as the order and punctuation of an MLA-style list in a works cited entry.

As you recommend books for your students and as your students suggest books to one another, encourage them to seek out other titles from authors they enjoy or from types of writing that are interesting to them. This process encourages students to develop self-monitoring strategies such as setting a purpose for reading, activating background knowledge, and developing inquiry--skills that will serve them in academic settings and beyond.

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