I’ve Read It, but I Just Don’t Get It.

June 9, 2006 at 9:17 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 31 Comments

How do pre-reading strategies help to promote deeper content understandings? 

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  1. From what was discussed in class and the strategies that we used in our jigsaw tonight, for me, pre-reading strategies help promote deeper content understanding by first introducing a topic or an idea to your students. Next, it gives you an assessment of prior knowledge that each student has or may not have on that topic. It also can bring out any misconceptions on that topic. It also gives you a bases for what you will be reading. Giving your students reading materials and not having discussions with them about what they are reading, how to approach the reading, and what they should be getting out of it puts them at a great disadvantage and their expectations are lowered because they have no ground to stand on when they start to read the assignment.
    Up until now, I really didn’t have any knowledge of pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading strategies. This class has really opened my eyes up to a lot of great things that I can implement into my future classroom. It will also provide me with skills for when I take on reading tasks. I am not a strong reader to begin with and by using these strategies, it will help me build a deeper understanding in my content area.

  2. I think that in terms of math classes, reading literacy and pre-reading techniques are something that I have never thought about. Why would I have to teach students to read in a subject that requires seemingly no reading. In fact there is less reading in math, but you could argue that the reading that a student will do is as important if not more than in other subject. It is important to use these pre-reading techniques for a number of reasons. The students might not be familiar with a term that is essential to understanding the question or concept. It is also an important way to ascertain the misconceptions that your students might have. The 5 word, 3 word exercize would be an excellent way to do this. Our group was also talking about the fact that from grade school on, we are taught to read and write with the idea in mind that the important information has to be close to the beginning. In Math, it is sometimes the complete opposite. Many times the most important information is found at the end of a section or question in math. A good example are the word problems that students are confronted with. Many times the essential part of the question is at the very end. Since we have been conditioned to read in a way that is completely opposite to this, it is imperative that we give our best effort to prepare our students.

  3. Hi Wendy — thanks for your post — yes I would love to have my students work with your, can you send me an email with your email address? My email is santamrr [at] buffalostate.edu. looking forward to your response! Ramona SantaMaria

  4. I definitely agree with Sara and Jason on their comments. I am going to piggy back on Jason’s ideas because of the math link as well. He hit the nail on the head when he said that the way we read in math is the opposite of the way we read in other areas.
    I think the reason that kids do have such a tough time with math is because the sentences contain so much information. My students always cringe at word problems even though we review all the key words necessary to use them. Now I can see why. The paragraphs contain so much information it is difficult for students to decode them. It also seems like math word problems contain some vocabulary that is difficult for students as well which makes the process of decoding all the more difficult. Catherine and I talked in our small groups of our techniques with the kids in the pre reading stage. We set them up with key words to look for and go step by step and basically do a think aloud which helps the kids tremendously. The most important part of the process is the pre-reading because it gives kids an idea of what to look for and allows them to begin to decode. The techniques we have talked about in class are definitely helpful to myself and I am sure to others in our own development of pre reading strategies.

  5. I found the reading and last night’s class very eye opening in terms of the uses of pre-reading activities in math classes. I really hadn’t thought of mathematics within a literacy context before this class, but now I am making connections to some issues I have encountered during my own education where the application of pre-reading strategies could play an important part. As much as any other subject, math is very constructivism oriented in that it is imperative that previously covered content is thoroughly understood before a student can grasp new ideas. Pre-reading strategies can prepare students for new content through use of vocabulary and textbook usage refinement. But at least as important is its use in activating prior knowledge. Pre-reading excercises can act as a type of review for the students, to refresh their memories and clarify prior content knowledge before the introduction of new material. Personally, I always found this very useful, particularly after returning to school after extended breaks or when required to access content from previous classes. Instructors can use pre-reading activities as assessments, uncovering gaps in prior knowledge in order to add or modify lessons if necessary to include appropriate review material. In particular I think that brainstorming and think-alouds would be helpful for students in preparing them to develop strategies for solving word problems, trigonometric proofs, algebraic equations, and nearly any other that you can think of. These are terrific ways for teachers to model the thought processes behind problem solving strategies, and for students to explore their own thought processes with one another.

  6. I think yesterday we had some great discussions on how important it is to create pre-reading strategies in all content areas. I was extremely impressed that I already do incorporate pre-reading strategies in my classroom and I had no idea!!! For example when we do word problems in math class I am constantly thinking aloud so students can follow and start to develop active reading strategies to help them get to the root of the problems. The “Think Aloud” strategy is extremely important to use when modeling math problems. I also agree with the previous posts on how math is so different from other curricular areas in that I tell my students to look for the point/question of the word problem at the end of the paragraph. This is so different from reading and writing essays. How confusing for the kids. In addition, I was impressed at how many strategies there are for mathematics;anticipation guides, SQRQCQ (Survey, Question, Read, Question, Compute Question), Think Alouds and mapping to name a few. After discussing the strategies, we commented on how all of these strategies should be taught in all classes. By teaching pre-reading strategies in every content area students will become better readers and take a more active role in their learning. Likewise, the consistancy between courses will really promote understanding. It is totally up to us as educators to instill these strategies in our teaching and continue to model active reading.

  7. I have to agree with Jason. I didn’t think about it until we talked in our group yesterday about how math problems are set up. When reading an article or course textbook (other than math) there is usually a topic sentence or introduction into what will be discussed. Math works completely backwards. The question or what the student needs to find is located at the end.

    I have known about reading strategies, have been given information on them but have never been shown how to incorporate them into my own content area. I have found the different pre-reading, during reading, and post reading strategies extremely helpful. Before taking this class I had decided that I needed to find some alternative way to get students to really understand how to solve those ‘dreaded’ word problems. I also recognized the importance of vocabulary but I am now discovering through this class the different strategies I can use to help motivate students to read as well as understand what they are reading. I am hoping that I can get the students to look at a word problem and not say “I hate word problems”.

  8. You might also like to check out this article http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/051128_brain_memory.html on the role of prediction in learning. Just like pre-reading, if the brain doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be looking for…how will it know if any learning has occurred?

  9. Up until this point I have never really considered the importance of a pre-reading strategy. The first I had ever really heard about a focus on reading in the content area was when I started teaching in Greece. It’s been a focus in the district for the three years I’ve been teaching there. During my first year I was handed a book and told “this will help you”. Do you know where that book is now? I don’t. Our class discussions, the samples we have seen and the examples that Daniels and Zemelman give have provided a lot of insight into pre-reading strategies and the importance in using them. I have used Think Alouds and Brainstorming plus others but I have never used them in the context of reading. One big focus throughout Greece with science is creading BDA’s (Before-During-After) to go along with labs. We are told to do them but we are not given strategies that are known to work or exemplars. I am so glad to be gaining the knowledge from this class and I am really excited to start adjusting lessons and using these strategies.

    FYI: I was searching the Greece website and stumbled across their take on Reciprocal Teaching . Take a look. I’m sure there are others to be found as well.

  10. Following Jason’s, Stacie’s, Jodi’s, and Mike’s comments about reading math being different from reading in language arts, there is not much more to say. I guess I was not even aware that the backwards reading was even there. After discussing the topic from our article in class Friday night I realized that perhaps the difference in reading strategies that student’s learn in their English and Social Studies classes were not working in my Math class and maybe that could be a reason for some of my good readers having difficulty starting out new types of word problems.
    Nonetheless, I believe that out of our discussions and mini exploration of pre – reading strategies, I have realized how important setting students up for reading success by activating their prior knowledge and sort of giving them a “heads up” on what they are about to read and do with it would help my students tremendously.
    By using pre – reading strategies, I can see my students developing deeper understandings of what they are learning and what computations or work they have to do based on what the word problem says. If I activate my student’s prior knowledge and give thema little background on the topics we are going to practice for that day, my students will be better able to understand the material instead of spending most of their time searching for meaning and their own prior knowledge by themselves for those that possess those skills.
    All in all, I believe pre – reading strategies will definitely promote higher learning in my Geometry class in particular.

  11. I agree with everyone before that after discussion and readings in class pre reading strategies are a must. The website the_science_goddess suggested reinforced this idea. The article talks about that Researchers have shown scientifically that “predictive ability is key to having a good memory”. ( LiveScience Staff, 2005) This is a typical strategy, used in pre and during reading strategies. Predicting is needed while doing word problems for math and physics trying to find the correct formula to use with the information given. I found another article LiveScience.com – Why Teens are Lousy at Chores connected to how adolescents deal with information. Research from this article specifically dealt with multi-tasking. Researchers found multitasking for adolescents is challenging, because their frontal cortex is not fully developed until 16-18 years old. This shows that students need lots of modeling and coaching with the pre-reading strategies because this is a multitasked procedure. Pre reading will help students have a better self-esteem about their reading skills and have better recall of information. I am sorry if hyperlinks don’t work if anyone knows how to get them to work in blog let me know.

  12. As I was reading the comments written so far a simple thought came to mind, I am so glad that high school teachers see the value in pre-reading strategies! I certainly come from a different perspective as an elementary teacher. I know that without doing pre-reading strategies with students the reading they are about to take part in will lack meaning and purpose which is something that third graders absolutely need. As students get into the older grades I find that teachers (especially when I was in high school) took the approach that we had made it this far in our learning and therefore the content of the course was the only aspect of teaching they were responsible for. This class, as many of you have remarked has been a real “eye opener” and I think that is fantastic. We are all responsible for teaching literacy strategies and promoting life long readers. We as educators can never take for granted that a student is ready to tackle any assignment, reading or activity without our guidance and if we loose that focus then we forget that we are the facilitators of their learning. Our role as a teacher has so many dimensions to it but making the content accessible is a top priority. Pre-reading allows us to bridge the gap of challenging new material to knowledge that students can be successful with (and that is pretty exciting). Wendy and Janet both mentioned how ESL (English as a Second Language) especially benefit from these strategies. I can testify that is 100% true. I have three ESL students that don’t just struggle with the everyday new content but prior knowledge that comes with living in the United States and speaking English at home and at school. When we looked at the incredible difference between students that come from different economic backgrounds and how that effects their vocabulary development (and overall success in school really) it is easy to see how ESL students have a big disadvantage when they are not speaking English at home. Pre-reading strategies can make the content relevant by providing the students with the prior knowledge that is crucial in order for them to understand the content. Knowing your students and what interests they have can be especially important in this stage because it will be your vehicle for tapping into their existing schema. A picture walk, KWL, think-alouds or any of the other numerous ways to tap into that background knowledge will help promote high engagement and high importance which of course is the quadrant we are aiming for in all of our lessons. For example, before beginning a reading of a nonfiction text about butterflies my students completed a true or false test about butterflies. I assured them it was not an actual test but predictions as to what they thought were true about butterflies. As I walked around I noticed what the students wrote down to this quick true or false quiz and it helped me realize what they already knew and what our focus would need to be. As we did a picture walk that focused on the features of nonfiction text, the students started to notice and revise their predictions. During reading I heard comments such as “Oh, I never would have thought that a butterfly’s wingspan could be a foot long!” or “My prediction was right, some butterflies do fly to warmer places. That is called migration.” This pre-reading was effective because the students had purpose, were constantly checking if their predictions were accurate and sharing with each other their ideas as well as enthusiasm for knowing a right answer! I know that all students, whatever their age, truly benefit from pre-reading strategies.

  13. I think pre-reading strategies is a great tool to have in the classroom. It promotes deeper understanding from the get go. It is very useful for teachers as well. Pre-reading strategies allows teachers to access student’s prior knowledge, and this will in turn give him/her a basic to start a unit. Pre-reading strategies such as: KWL charts, treasure hunts, anticipation guides and 5W3W will show possible misconceptions that the students hold. Speaking of misconceptions, people might think that seeing as I’m certified in elementary; I would have received literacy training in the past. Unfortunately, I only took maybe one literacy class in undergrad, so all of these strategies are new to me as well. Seeing as I am based in the elementary level, I agree with Kelsey. This not only is a great course for the elementary teachers, but for the secondary ones as well. The math and science teachers see the importance of teaching reading in their classrooms, and this will lead to optimal student success. I am very grateful that I’m taking this course, because there are so many useful tips and strategies that any teacher can manipulative into their classrooms.

  14. Before this class, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t thought much about pre-reading strategies and probably wouldn’t have done much with them in my class. But after the discussions we’ve been having through this blog and class, I see that they are absolutely an essential part of learning. Pre-reading strategies, as pointed out by Sara and Jason, are an excellent tool for stimulating prior knowledge and identifying misconceptions. I think one of the most important things that I’ve learned so far is that it is essential to activate the student’s schema before requiring them to learn new information on the topic. By activating the schema, the students are able to incorporate the knowledge and retain the information.
    Pre-reading strategies are effective because they introduce the students to the topic and provide expectations for reading. This enables the student to read for understanding and makes reading more meaningful. If students are just flung into a subject without being introduced to the topic, it is more likely that confusion will occur. Below is an example where a pre-reading strategy would be extremely helpful in understanding the text:
    The man was worried. His car came to a halt and he was all alone. It was extremely dark and cold. The man took off his overcoat, rolled down the window, and got out of his car as quickly as possible. Then he used all his strength to move as fast as he could. He was relieved when he finally saw the lights of the city, even though they were far away.

    How comprehensible was the paragraph: 1=low 10 = high

    Estimate the time of day this event took place.

    Estimate the month of the year this event took place.

    Describe the location where the car came to a halt.

    Why do you think the man rolled down the window?

    Why do you think the man removed his overcoat?

    I’ll tell you the name of the passage at the end of the blog…

    I’m sure some of you figured it out, but the story makes much more sense when it is placed in context. By exploring the concepts of the story beforehand, it becomes more meaningful and understandable, which will lead to greater comprehension! I will definitely make use of pre-reading strategies in my classroom. Okay, reread the paragraph with this title: “The submerged car” Ahhh, doesn’t it all make sense now?

  15. This class, these blogs, our book, our discussions; they all reinforce how essential literacy is in the classroom. It is all around us. To use pre-reading strategies, just makes good sense. When students’ prior knowledge has been activated, their syntaxes start firing within their brain and they are alert and ready to learn. They are thinking about the content before they even open the book. I am loving learning all of these strategies. It makes me psyched for next year, because I’ll be armed with more information and ideas to get their little brains working. Keep ’em coming!

  16. Tess’ comment brought to mind an analogy for pre-reading. To many students, reading an unfamiliar content passage is like opening a novel at a random page and starting to read. You have no idea of the context, storyline, characters, or plot. Unlike the man in the submerged car, you didn’t see him drive off the bridge – a somewhat important part of the story!

    Pre-reading strategies let us know what happened in the earlier chapters. Who’s who? How did they get here? How do they relate to one another? Where is the story taking place?
    Extending the analogy, maybe this is why we often read novels more than once. The first time through is a detailed, extended pre-reading. The second time through we know the story, background, (and ending), but we can get much more out of it.

    Content reading needs the same mental setup. Pre-reading strategies that activate our prior knowledge about a topic let us know what happened in the figurative early chapters. Think how drastically our understanding changes when we find out the car in Tess’ story is under water? That one piece of information is critical to correct understanding.

    In complex math or science content, imagine how critical prior knowledge can be? One missing detail can make the reading incomprehensible, or worse, misunderstood. At least if a reading is not understood at all, the reading has a motivation to repeat it. But with a misunderstanding, it’s likely they will forge ahead, not knowing that they don’t know.

    I’ll confess I had never heard of or thought about the idea of pre-reading (as others have admitted). Maybe good readers often do it unconsciously when reading, re-reading a passage if something doesn’t make sense, but there is no denying the power of using formal pre-reading strategies.

  17. Honestly, I never gave reading much thought as to the “how”. Obviously I learned how to read words, but I was never told how to read. I have always just looked and tried to take in meaning from words, but I know I have read many things over and over and never took them in. Now I wonder how much better and how much more I could have done in school, had I actually had some of these tools at hand.
    As to our Science_Goddess, I learned, while bouncing through the Scatterbrained article on the web site she gave, that I am merely a highly imaginative person with a very busy life. If only someone could have told my 4th grade math teacher that. Although this does not help me much, I guess it’s nice to know that it’s not a lack of ability.
    I never really thought much about the math questions until it was brought up in class. I always re-read things, especially stuff I was being graded on. I’m not sure how to remedy this, except to teach during reading skills. Even though math problems are generally only a paragraph in length, I think if we can teach student to pick out important elements in a paragraph and to understand what they are reading, half the problem will be solved, literally.
    As for reading textbooks, the thought still makes my skin crawl. Besides being a difficult read, I don’t think that the average textbook works for all or even most students. If we all think differently, how can we use the same explanation for all students? For a pre-reading strategy, it might be beneficial not only to introduce them to the topic and to learn what students know, but also how they understand what they do know. Perhaps from there, alternate sources can be introduced and offered for those who truly can’t follow the book’s explanations.
    Textbooks are crammed with difficult, complex concepts, written in ways that only further baffle their readers. If pre-reading strategies can help even just a little, I believe they are worth doing as any edge for a struggling student could definitely change their course.

  18. Jen, you have no idea how much I relate to your post. I walked away from my undergrad at Fisher feeling good in my ability to teach reading, but I never really felt 100% confident on the “how”. I didn’t feel like I experienced the things I learned about during my schooling, yet I felt confident in myself as a reader. So, as much as I agreed with it, I didn’t live by it until I really got into my own classroom and saw the difference it made for my students. Without pre-reading strategies, my kids would not make the progress they have. I personally work with the academic intervention students. These are the students who need that extra push to begin with. They lack the background knowledge and ability to master strategies on their own without scaffolding targeted instruction. Through pre-reading strategies, they are activating their prior knowledge, demonstrating misconceptions and creating a purpose for their learning. This class and book has put it into the greatest perspective for me. It has demonstrated the PRIORITY we must put on the pre-reading strategies. Without it, our students are falling further and further behind. They lack the knowledge and education that they need and deserve. Jen put it perfectly when she said “If pre-reading strategies can help even just a little, I believe they are worth doing as any edge for a struggling student could definitely change their course.”

  19. Everyone prior to me has explained the benefits of pre-reading techniques from virtually every vantage point. I will not repeat this critical information, but add a thought or two. By preparing students for reading, we obviously remove the mystery, supply expectations, prepare them for success and ultimately excite or motivate them to want to read more. If we can somehow use the students’ schemata and connect the subsequent text to them personally (a difficult task at best!) we will have a room full of people who can’t wait to begin their assignment. Knowledge that is connected and useful expands the understanding of an idea. The essential goal of pre-reading strategies is just that, prepare them (schema recognition, essential vocabulary acquisition, etc.), stimulate them (connect it to their world, not ours), and let them go! If they are prepared and motivated comprehension skyrockets.
    The concept of pre-reading strategies was mentioned in passing on occasion during my courses at St. John Fisher, however until now I really had no idea what the instructors were referring to. During my discussions in Adolescent Literacy, reading Readers, Teachers, Learners by William Brozo & Michele Simpson, reading Subjects Matters by Daniels & Zemelman and studying all your blog entries I can readily see the elemental importance of this cognitive strategy. I can say without hesitation that I was never prepared for any of the readings I was asked to do throughout all the years of my education. I can only imagine how much my comprehension and retention would have improved if I had been taught using this relatively simple technique. Although the strategies are foreign, in the respect that I have never utilized them, I am confident that I will be able to employ them with success, even as I hone my craft. Expertise is not required to begin to use a new approach. Relative success for the student can be realized even when the teacher is still refining his/her technique.

  20. The concept of pre-reading is relatively new to me. It makes a lot of sense that pre-reading would be a useful strategy to activate prior knowledge and to get the students thinking about a particular topic or concept, before actually reading about it. In my opinion, one of the most important benefits of pre-reading would be in the identification of student misconceptions, as both Sara & Jason touched on in their comments. If a student has significant misconceptions about a topic they are reading, the whole passage may not even make sense to them. I thought that the Daniels and Zemelman example passage (Page 25 & 26) where you need to know the “Columbus Key” in order for the passage to make sense, was a great illustration of how important it is to activate prior knowledge before your students begin reading.
    I agree with Jen V. in that “I know I have read many things over and over and never took them in. Now I wonder how much better and how much more I could have done in school, had I actually had some of these tools at hand.” Pre-reading is something that I intentionally avoided in the past! Similar to watching a movie, I felt that I would be “spoiling the surprise” if I looked over the upcoming chapters in a textbook, so I never did. Now I know better!

  21. I think everyone has tapped into the importance of using pre-reading strategies and how they can help our students succeed with whatever they are reading. While I was reading all of these posts, one thing Stacie said really stuck with me

    I think she makes a great point here. As an elementary teacher a lot of times we work with our colleagues, especially in the same grade level to maintain consistency, but I think it is a wonderful idea for middle and high school as well. I think it would be really powerful for students if all of their subject area teachers were using the same few strategies in their classrooms. This would provide students with consistency and reinforcement of good reading strategies.

  22. Ok, I tried really hard but the quote did not come out the way I wanted it to, and actually you got my comments before, and in the quote is mo comments after. Stacie’s quote goes in the middle, and she said

    Likewise, the consistancy between courses will really promote understanding.

  23. I really believe in pre-reading strategies because they prime the brain and stimulate the proper schema as evidenced by research and the in-class examples. The difference between using a pre-reading strategy and not using one can be clearly illustrated with test taking. You are given a test. You open to page one. You start to read the first question. You have a million facts racing around in your brain. Can anyone remember the last test that they took? I am thinking back to the CST for example. Do you remember reading a test question and feeling like it was hard to translate the question and determine what type of answer they were looking for. If you just had one clue it would open up the meaning, the “Columbus key” so to speak. Think of all the time we would save, if we were given the ability to talk to the test writer. I don’t mean, “Give me the answer!” I mean, being able to talk to them about the question. I imagine that might be what our students go through when reading the text book. Giving them a basis to start with, so that when they have to do some work alone, they can learn to help themselves. So, I am convinced that pre-reading activities have a place in my classroom.

    I enjoy reading tremendously. I read two or three books at a time. I read for the simple joy of it, to learn new things, to improve my vocabulary, and to improve my ability to articulate my feelings. I employ many pre-reading strategies with out even realizing it. I don’t just put my head down on a book and hope the information and meaning is transferred by osmosis. I become the book. I go online and learn about a topic, read about the author, talk to others who are knowledgeable on the topic, read the book aloud, share it with others, and underline and highlight passages of interest. I always thought that if you liked a topic and picked up a book to learn more, that being the book, is just what you do. I am so glad to hear that being a good reader is possible for just about anyone. It has instilled an eagerness to develop some of these activities to help my students.

    The only thing that I worry about would be time to develop these strategies. How many strategies are necessary for effective teaching? How many of these activities are used in a typical unit? How much time to they take up? They all sound so wonderful. I would love to have the opportunity to sit in on a classroom to really see them in action.

    I like the point that Andrea makes about the ESL students-very insightful. To piggy-back on that, I would like to share an experience that I had while observing a Biology classroom last year. I live in Geneva; a considerable proportion of the city High School students happen to be African American and Hispanic. When I had the opportunity to observe a Biology classroom I was told to sit in the back of the classroom near two Hispanic students. They were both male and unfortunately failing the Biology course-not that one had to do with the other. The teacher suggested that I sit with them because they were a continually disruptive in her class. I knew a little Spanish and feebly tried to communicate with them. They were very polite and bashful even. They explained that they had been in New York for a few years, growing up in Mexico. They had no expectation of graduating from High School. Their family worked hard and saved money to bring the rest of their family to the United States. They barely understood English, let alone the vocabulary that is necessary to be successful in a Biology course. I felt horrible for them; yet they didn’t understand why I had such concern for their future. They were just happy to be in the United States. They were eager to leave school so that they could be earning money for their families. Their focus was so different from mine that I could not comprehend their apathy toward education.

  24. Excitement, engagement, sparked interest and more confidence; these are just a few of the benefits of implementing pre-reading strategies. I see pre-reading activities working as a sneak preview does. I love Catherine’s comment, “get those synapses firing”! Sometimes, the prospect of reading a text can be daunting. In my own experiences as a student, a pre-reading activity enhances my confidence, giving me the courage to take on the content!

  25. This is just an experiment to try to unquote the quotes. Hang on!

  26. One more time….

  27. OK – We’re out!!!

  28. Going along with what most of you are saying, I also must agree that pre-reading strategies are an important aspect of class. I think that pre-reading strategies are similar to the warm-ups done in the beginning of class. It is important to get the students in the right frame of mind so that they are comprehending the material. If they get an idea of what it is about and are able to predict what will happen, then the reading will be much more successful and enjoyable.
    I also thoroughly enjoy the variety of pre-reading strategies because that will allow you to mix it up in the classroom. Students may get bored if the same strategy is used all the time, so the ability to mix it up for them is very important.

  29. With everyone’s great insight there is not much left to say. There are so many great post and I have to agree with my colleges. I too did not realize how important it is for pre-reading strategies. Having Physics in my background, much like Math, teaching literacy is not a concept that is ever talked about. I will be honest I maybe had to write four or five papers in my entire undergrad career. I know the skills we have learned in class where not taught when I went to school. I particularly liked the group activity when we had focused reading. I always read what was printed and took it as fact and did not process it very much. When you analyze reading and start to form opinions, it builds such a deeper understanding. The concepts that we practiced in class and the ones found in the reading have opened my eyes up to a whole way of thinking and performing my educational abilities. As a science person there are thousands of different vocabulary words that are new to students and with the pre-reading strategies I believe I have an edge to helping my students succeed.
    Something that has interested me with all these posts is the fact that very few of us knew about, used or had thought about these concepts. Now this class is made up of about 30 students with various backgrounds-some teaching and some working on it-but if we did not know then how many of our colleges fail to help students become life long readers? For the people that are already teaching is there some program or class that could help your colleges with these concepts?
    On a personal note-this has changed my way of thinking so much that I have changed my bed time reading with my own children. It use to be just read a story to them or my oldest would read a story and sound out words he did not know. Now I apply all the reading skills (pre-during-post) into every story. I have already noticed a difference. I found it to be true-a statement was made in class regarding teachers giving students vocabulary words with no real reading strategies. My son was giving vocabulary words and he had spelling tests every Friday. He aced his test because of repetition and sounding words out. It had never occurred to me that he had no idea what the words meant or how to use them in a sentence. After our class I went home and asked him if he knew what “benefit” meant. Much to my surprise he did not know!!
    With that being said pre-reading strategies promote a very deep understanding. They make it so the brain is actively thinking instead of lying dormant. When you engage the brain it is proven to cause better results as clearly seen by the hand out we got in class. The pre-reading strategies also let the educator know what students are thinking and how to proceed to the next step. There maybe misconceptions or ideas that had never occurred to the teacher. Students are wonderful creatures that are often unpredictable and yet smarter that we give them credit for. Pre-reading is a tool that all teachers much us to give to their students no matter what the subject area. It will benefit them not only know but their entire life-time.

  30. Implementing pre-reading strategies are a great opportunity for students to see how “irrelevant or hard concepts” in their eyes are relevant. I agree with Sara because it is really hard to take something from a text or even to understand it if you are not aware of what to look for and what is important. Pre-reading strategies are not only an opportunity to expose and clear up students’ misconceptions, but it is a chance for students to increase their prior knowledge for future use.

  31. I believe that pre-reading strategies are essential in order to promote a deeper content understanding. By first introducing a topic to students and exposing them to working with it somewhat wets their palette engaging them to want to learn more about the content. For me especially as a science student for quite a few years putting a purpose to my reading is the most important for me in order to attain the optimal amount of information from my reading. I have been through a number of science classes (seeing as though I will be teaching science it is my specialty)- and in a science text there is so much dry text out there, if I can put a purpose to every text that I give my students to read, I know they will be more successful in getting out of that reading what they should be. Pre-reading strategies are essential in order to put a meaning to the reading. It also is beneficial to the teacher to both discover and clear up any misconceptions that may be present prior to the reading.
    One excellent example in the science classrooms that comes to my mind is a lab. In is critical especially at the high school level that students read their labs prior to coming into class to perform the lab, however it is a big struggle for science teachers to get their students to actually read the lab before class, using a fun and engaging pre-reading activity can prove to work to the teachers advantage getting the students engaged and actually desire to read the lab ahead of time. Labs are definitely a time I can see myself using pre-reading strategies in my future biology classroom. I must say after reading over all the blogs I can also agree in stating that before taking both this class, and the literacy class that I am taking simultaneously with this class I never even thought about literacy in the way these two classes have taught me to look at it. I have always thought that “reading strategies” are left up to the elementary school teachers not high school science teachers. However, I see the importance of promoting literacy through every content and every grade level I am so excited for my future classrooms I am constantly on the look out and thinking about all the different types of reading material I want to have available in my future classroom! I really liked the point brought by Kelsey about ESL students and the struggles they have in the classroom that I think most individuals just do not realize. I never thought of the fact that these students even have different background knowledge about various topics compared to a typical student I think this fact alone makes the pre-reading strategies even more key in the classroom. Sorry if my thoughts may seem scattered I have so many ideas popping into my head as I read all these blogs it is so awesome to see what everyone has to say I feel like I am getting an inside peek into the minds of all of you most of whom I have never met everyone brings such good points to really think about!


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