Blog Post 3 – During Reading Strategies

July 21, 2007 at 4:34 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 26 Comments

Reflect on the use of during-reading strategies.

During class we read three to four articles.  Which during-reading strategies did you find yourself using most while reading these articles?  Why do you think this was so?

Which during-reading strategies do you feel present the greatest challenge for your content area and why?

~ Lindsey, T, Kristin, and Pete



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  1. I guess I’ll be the first one to go since no one else will!! 😀

    When reading the articles in class, I mostly underlined key passages or starred important parts in all of the articles. I find that doing this allows me to continue reading without having to stop and take notes. Being able to mark on the text makes it easier for me to go back through and find what I thought was important. If I did have to take notes later, I could just write down some of what I underlined. Geoff mentioned in class that having the think marks was distracting because if you were using it as a during reading strategy, you were constantly trying to read, figure out what the question was about, then writing what you found, then reading some more, and it ended up getting too confusing. I agree that trying to take notes while reading can end up making it harder to understand what was just read. Therefore, by underlining or using the Coding Text method, the reader is able to mark the most important things yet still be able to keep reading straight through the text.

    I believe that the most difficult during reading strategies for a biology classroom would be the think marks or summarizing. The think marks strategy, as I said before, can be difficult and confusing if used as a during reading strategy. It takes away from the focus needed to read some science texts straight through. Since science text is usually chockfull of information, summarizing can be difficult. If a paragraph contains 4 definitions with good examples, a student is going to want to use all of them in their summary. The summary may end up being just as long as the paragraph even if it is written in their own words. I think that if they were able to use the coding text strategy they would be able to see (after they have read all the way through) where they need to pay attention to as far as what they thought was most important or the most difficult.

    I found a website that had some good tips on how to do a good summary. This could help if you want your students to summarize in depth text.

    There was also a helpful sit for coding text. educator/documents/coding.doc+coding+text&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us& client=firefox-a
    (I had to put in some spaces to get the html address to fit so if you copy and paste it, it might not work).

  2. test…

    just seeing if this thing works…

  3. I agree with Bonnie that underlining important points in a paragraph is a great way to keep reading and not get confused while reading. I also think that coding text is helpful in science classrooms because it allows students to make their own codes and makes it easier for them to look back at the paragraph to see what confuses them or what is important.
    I’ve found in my classroom that students can easily summarize paragraphs using post-it notes next the paragraph. I use readings that I design so at the beginning of the paragraph I place a question that is the main point of the paragraph. After the students read the paragraph they then answer the question on the post-it note and place the paragraph on the paragraph. This way students can look over the paragraphs and see the main points on the post it notes. This type of strategy is great because it helps the students summarize the paragraph and when they get to the end of the paragraph they don’t forget everything they just read and if they did the students can refer back to their post-it notes.

  4. I agree with Stefanie and Bonnie. I think underlining important definitions or formulas or vocabulary and coding text is extremely helpful in mathematics. I have never taught “coding” to my students, but have seen them code their own text. I find this method very helpful, especially when students look back to study for quizzes/tests.
    I really like Stefanie’s method with the post-its. I have never thought of that, but would really like to try it in my own classroom now!
    As I was reading the articles, I wrote down side comments – sort of like “Think Boxes” only I’ll call them “Fact Boxes.” I would make a “cloud” that had one to three words in it that basically summarized few paragraphs I just read. I still coded my text, but I like to see what major important facts come out from each paragraph. I find that this will help students to summarize the text that they are reading and help them to key into important information.

  5. While reading I utilize coding and directed notes (underlining important ideas, circling unknown words, and writing in the margins) the most. I find that coding and directed notes allow me to record my thoughts without interfering with my reading. I agree with Bonnie that these methods make it easier to take notes because all of the important passages were indicated while I read. It makes it really straightforward to go back later and pick out the key points I want to include in a summary of the text. Also, if there was a word or a passage that confused me I can easily locate it after I am finished reading, and take the necessary steps to understand it without having to disrupt my reading. The less interruption I have while I am reading the more of the big picture I am able to grasp.

    Although I didn’t use this strategy in class, I am glad Stefanie brought up the use of post-its. I agree that they are great for summarizing paragraphs. Additionally, they work well for putting concepts in your own words and (if using larger post-its) creating sketches. The best part is that they never (permanently) cover-up text, and are transferable.

    I agree with Bonnie and Geoff that the think marks strategies can be a bit more difficult to use as an active reading strategy because they require the reader to stop a lot. I think they are great for post-reading activities and summaries though. I could see them as problematic for my Living Environment classes were students are trying to learn a lot of interconnected material in one text.

    However, I think the most difficult during reading strategy for my content area would be the “determining important ideas and information” strategy. With so many essential pieces in the science literature I would have my students reading I think it would be difficult, and possibly disadvantageous, for them to focus on just one key aspect.

    It doesn’t really matter what strategy we use, during reading strategies really are helpful in understanding literature. Here is a link to more during reading strategies that we may be able to apply in our (future) classrooms. 🙂

    And here is another website that has suggestions for during reading strategies in science (although most of them are applicable to math too).
    I especially like the text structure and marking the text (without writing on it) strategies. I think the text structure strategies will be very helpful for students who are struggling with getting through the material. The marking the text (without writing on it) strategies are great for those times when students cannot write on the text (like when they use their textbooks).

  6. After reflecting on what I do when I read, I realized that I typically use the coding strategy, although until now, I didn’t know it was a during reading strategy. I like to underline text that catches my eye, or something that I would like to come back to later to review or dive into deeper. During class, I found marking the text with a single character to mean various things was great. I have used ‘?’’s before when I was confused, but I also liked using “check marks” and ‘x’’s to identify areas where I can confirm information or that is different from what I thought. Like Bonnie stated, the think marks can get so confusing to try to keep straight what you are reading vs. what you are trying to “find” in the text. Using the coding strategy allows you to quickly make a mark on a page, but keep the reading fluent. I also have used Stephanie’s post-it note method. It really helps you to locate something that you want to go back to. This will be something that I will show my students. It’s a great way to let them jot down a code or make notes in a book that they are not allowed to write in. And for students who like to write more, there are different size post-it notes that they can use to give them more space to write on.
    I find that math textbooks pose a lot of challenges with reading. Reading a math book is so different from anything else you will read. The following website has some great tips for reading math text.
    I also think that word problems are a great place to use think alouds! Students have so much trouble dissecting a word problem, and I could see having “bubbles” next to key places to help guide them through word problems the first few times would be a great learning tool. This would hopefully help them to realize what the important parts are and how to “read” a word problem.
    I had a tough time choosing the during reading strategy that would present the greatest challenge in math. I think a lot of them could be tricky to use. But after looking through everything we covered in class, I think the jigsaw strategy would be extremely difficult to use. I don’t really think students would be able to get the correct information from something that was summarized by someone else. With a math textbook, you really need to pay attention to the details and follow through with the examples and I think you would lose too much of that in a second hand person’s summary.

  7. There are lots of different “During Reading” strategies; here are a few lists

    I, like Bonnie, also use a form of coding when reading through articles as I find it to be the best way to understand and make notes on material. The form of coding I use is similar to the kind we covered in class; however, I use a slightly different key. For key points, I usually end up making a vertical line along the text in the margin. I will occasionally underline, however, I prefer the vertical line as it never obscures the text (sometimes the spacing is not large in some articles). I would often place a “?” when either the passage was unclear or I question the validity of the point. The “?” will often be accompanied by a short question, marking the reason why I noted the passage. I rarely ever mark unknown words or mark points of conformation. I don’t see value in doing this as I don’t usually go back and look up words (I try to determine the meaning at that moment). Coding does allow me to return to an article and go right to the main points without sifting through the fluff.

    I will have to disagree with Bonnie about the importance of summarizing science material. Yes, many times science material can be dense and have many important points; however, the ability to distill this down into the main points is crucial. Essentially, you are requiring students to write an abstract, where the material is an abbreviated summary used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper’s purpose. This is a good skill to develop in the science field and should not be abandoned due to its perceived difficulty.

    I do feel that the use of think marks (the non-summarizing aspect) is cumbersome for science material. Not only is it distracting to constantly mark down where you visualized, connected, etc, its that performing these tasks may not get you closer to understanding the main point or purpose of the text. I think doing these exercises breaks down science writing in an unnatural way. For science articles you want the students to identify the main conclusions of the authors and be able to follow and comprehend the reasoning why the authors made that conclusion. You also want them to question whether they believe the conclusions are valid based on the evidence. To do this, I believe it is easier to get the whole picture and then break it down into the aforementioned components.

  8. …sorry for the delayed post. I had a problem posting. My comment was written earlier in the week

  9. I just want to clarify my first statement about summarizing. I do not think that it should not be used in science. It is a very great tool! However, a student usually thinks of summarizing as writing down the sentence out of the paragraph that they think contains the most information or they do not see the importance of summarizing and therefore do not do it. For summarizing to be effective it needs to be modeled well and then used repeatedly in order for students to actually gain information from it. Stefanie’s post-it strategy is great!!!

  10. I think I have to agree with the group about coding. I found myself using it during class with ease, without disrupting my reading. When just using a highlighter, you are unable to remember why you highlighted the passage. Coding allows you to recognize key points, questions, and vocabulary words that are confusing.
    I might be one of the few that liked the think marks. The main reason I like them is that it keeps me from “drifting”. Sometimes during technical reading, the mind likes to think about the weekend, the to-do list, or sleeping. Think marks are something I would like to use in my classroom because it tends to keep someone focused. You are constantly checking yourself to make sure you understood what you just read. I can see Geoff’s initial point that they can be disruptive, but I have a hard time finding flow with technical reading anyway.
    Stephanie’s post-it idea is great. One of the problems we discussed about text books is the cost and possibly sharing text books. This would be an easy way for students to highlight their individual thoughts while not permanently marking the text.
    I found the following site, which is a teacher chat room, specifically sharing ideas about reading strategies.
    This site is a nice summary of the many reading strategies:

  11. I have one more thought about reading strategies. I agree with Laurie that jigsawing would be rather difficult to use. Maybe I would feel differently after practicing its use, but at this point I would find that strategy very difficult to use in Math or Physics class. Each “expert” student expected to explain their part to the group would have to already have a deep understading, which may be challenging.

  12. I agree with all of my classmates previous blogs. Certain pre-reading strategies do work better for certain subjects. Also, that any of the pre-reading strategies need to be modeled well, and used often in order to be most useful to students. As for the strategy I use most when reading is the anticipation guide. I think for science, when one reads they are either agreeing or disagreeing at first, until they have gathered all of the facts to put together to shut out prior knowledge completely or confirm it. I found a couple of websites that give some nice examples of pre-reading strategies, which some of my classmates have put up already, but I will post them again.
    I found these websites to have a lot of information on them for pre-reading strategies, like how and when to use them and some great examples.

    Of the strategies we have covered so far I think the jigsawing would be the most difficult to do in a science course. There is a lot of information that one needs to absorb, and I think that jigsawing may not work in science as well as it would in other courses. Science is one of those subjects that you really need to be in it and work with it yourself to really get a good hold on it. I am not saying that it couldn’t be used or that it is a bad strategy, just that it would have to be used for the proper topic in order for it to work well for the general population of students taking science.

  13. “Being able to mark on the text makes it easier for me to go back through and find what I thought was important.” (Bonnie 2007)
    Coding the text was the srategy I used the most while reading the articles. Along with most of my peers, I found coding to be a logical way to emphasize or highlight a specific part of the text you may need to address later. By having a coding system it allows you to reflect on the highlighted (or coded) area of the text, that you may have forgotten. Assigning a code to signify a particular thought or expression is a wonderful way to engage and establish a sense of purpose while reading.
    A during- reading strategy that will present the most challege would be Questions on trial. The process of analyzing questions seems to be extremely tendious and time consuming. Although we need to prepare our students to become thinkers, I don’t believe this strategy will be appropriate and utilize effectively with my particular grade level (7th grade) and content area (science). A level of maturity must be there when you’re asking students to judge each others work (or questions). I don’t understand how having students debate what is a “good” question versus a “better” question will prepare them for state exam. Students will not be able to debate prepared test questions. There is a lot of information in science that students just need to memorize, and I see no correlation between science and this particular strategy.
    What is the purpose of this strategy? Is this preparing them to be better thinkers or is it just a waste of time?

  14. I am like Bonnie (and everyone else….) in that I used a coding/highlighting During Reading Strategy to highlight the key points in the chapter that I may have to return to at a later time. Also like Bonnie, I don’t take notes as I go, rather, the highlights serve as my notes. Since I normally own all the material I read, highlighting is not a problem to do, but in school I would encourage my students to use post-it notes if they were reading from a textbook. This was really the only During Reading Strategy I used when reading the articles, other than reading the article title and looking at any pictures or section titles within. The reason I do this is out of habit, one I began during my undergraduate studies. Its always worked well for me and I’ve never really thought about using other strategies other than writing some additional notes when I thought it appropriate. This question did make me think about my reading habits in general. When taking a class where I have to read material for an assignment, coding is the method I use. However, when I read for leisure, what I read from newspapers, magazines, the internet, etc., is really dependent on what the title says, if it interests me based on prior knowledge or visualization, and the purpose for reading – kind of like using a pre-programmed anticipation guide before and during reading.

    I have to agree with Laurie about having a hard time determining a during reading strategies presenting the greatest challenge for my area (Chemistry). I think most Chemistry teachers spend most of their time doing notes, discussing, doing example problems, and then assignments. I don’t think there are a variety of during reading strategies used, although I think coding probably is the most prevalent. As with Laurie, I think jigsawing may be the most difficult since often the students don’t have a good understanding of the subject material to begin with. It would take much time to do (and time is at a premium in class) and it would be very easy for students to relate incorrect information to their peers. It would take a lot of my time just to make sure all information is conveyed and explained correctly. I would definitely be uncomfortable doing this since I am responsible for their learning (and ultimately how they do on tests). However, jigsawing could be appropriate for laboratory activities, maybe something to consider depending on the lab activity being done.

    You have to observe, not merely see. – Sherlock Holmes

    Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t. – Pete Seeger

  15. While I have not used the symbols on a regular basis, the during reading strategy that I use the most when reading is a combination of the coding key and determining important ideas and information. While going through a reading I mark what I find important, interesting, confusing or just something that I really liked. I did this with the text reading for class and using asterisks and underlining I had my own code to stress what I thought to be important. This is also very similar to the strategy of determining important ideas and information. Many of the strategies are very similar and I was having trouble defining which specific strategy that I was using. I think we may find this with our students that a combination may work.

    As we learn and grow we develop ways to weed out those parts that we think are important for a paper we are writing or emphasize parts in a reading that we like or may find useful in the future. I especially have honed my skills to identify the key points when gathering information. In regards to certain aspects such as prediction, I rarely have been asked to make predictions so it is not part of my purpose or natural coding when reading. Much of what we look for depends on what the purpose for reading the article is. This is another aspect of during reading that I think is important to keep in mind. We should always know what our purpose is in reading anything. My mind tends to wander when I am reading and find it important to keep reminders of what the purpose for reading is near by to refer to. While many in the class, such as Bonnie and Geoff, mentioned that the Think Marks were confusing, they do make a nice way to keep the purpose for reading clear. Also to keep in mind as stated by the All America Reads website, is that once we get used to these strategies the more naturally students “will think about a purpose for reading and about prior knowledge. This may occur during short pauses the student takes.” After time the pauses we take will not be quite as choppy. So don’t worry Lee, we will all get better at these things with time.

    Coding also presents the greatest challenge for me as a during reading strategy for teaching in math. While many of the other strategies can be adapted to aid in the development of math knowledge, there are few texts that require a lot of different coding to dissect and understand them. Drastic changes in the key ideas to be searched for in a math text would be needed to make coding work. For example, in a selection of text that explains the Pythagorean Theorem codes could be used for formulas, connections, or for clarification but there is generally a lot less text to work with for coding. I thought what Laurie said about using Think Alouds with word problems was an excellent point and a great idea. Students have a very hard time with word problems and it would greatly help them to see how others think about it as they read them. Maybe the coding and the Think Alouds could be combined for the text readings.

  16. I agree that science textbooks can be very dense and full of information that students need to know but don’t pick up the main ideas. For this reason I don’t use my textbooks in the classroom. I don’t even pass them out. I create all of my own reading assignments that I write myself. I find that I can easily direct students to the information they need to know and I can cut out all the extra information they don’t need to know or stuff that will confuse them. I can also set the reading level to target specific students (my students) not all the students that use this textbook. I know this is time consuming but it sure saves me a lot of time when students don’t understand the textbook or are reading extra information they don’t need.

  17. plapietrplapietr61912007-08-01T15:22:00Z2007-08-01T18:34:00Z17214110Harris Corporation349482211.8106Pete’s Blog Post #3Reading Strategy ReflectionsReading Strategies – A New ConceptThe idea of having a reading strategy was never introduced to me before taking this course. I was always the student who dreaded having to plow through a bunch of text. The only pre reading strategy I used was to glance through the assigned reading and determine whether the picture-to-text ratio was high enough. Once I discovered the ratio was below my desired level I would soon after let out an unappreciative groan.Highlighting Text – Only good if you like the smell of markersThe one reading “strategy” I always used as a student was highlighting or underlining text. The only reason I did this is because I saw my sister do it and I liked the smell of highlighters. I remember studying for the Global Studies Regents. The regents covered two years of material and there were tons of facts to remember. I had to purchase this global studies review book which summarized the entire two years of curriculum. I spent hours highlighting the text but despite that fact I found myself struggling to recall information during the final. Maybe it’s because nobody ever showed me how to use the highlighting strategy but either way it’s never really worked well for me. Coding and Summarizing works for meThe two techniques that I thought were most useful were coding and summarizing important facts. Coding works well because it allows me to give more extract more information from the marks being made in the text. When it’s time to go back and review the document it’s easier to find what you are looking for. Summarizing key points worked much better for me than simple underlining. Summarizing a passage forces you to put ideas into your own words. This simple act requires a higher level of comprehension and I feel it helps to recall the information better.After doing some research I think I found some experts that might agree with me. This is a link to a paper about reading strategies in mathematics. Aloud in Groups – Tough to DoI thought the activity where we executed a “Think Aloud” in groups was tough. People in our group had different ideas about what was interesting/important and the entire exercise lacked a good flow. I’m not sure if it was the strategy or the article but I have no idea how Tanya used math to make her a better diver. It seems to me that thinking aloud by oneself would work better, but then again if a principle walked into a class full of students thinking aloud to themselves he/she might think it was a special needs class. Bonnie’s Comments – Did you guys really read them?. Based on most people’s responses, it appears as though most everyone read Bonnie’s post and seems to agree with her. There were also more than a couple of people (Geoff, GiGi, Lee) who stated they had used or preferred the coding strategy “just like Bonnie”. However, while Bonnie stated that she thought coding can be a useful strategy, “Therefore, by underlining or using the Coding Text method, the reader is able to mark the most important things yet still be able to keep reading straight through the text” (Bonnie, First Comment),she did not really say she used the coding strategy. Bonnie did start off stating, “When reading the articles in class, I mostly underlined key passages or starred important parts in all of the articles.” (Bonnie, First Comment ) Simply starring or underlined key points in not really the essence of the coding strategy in my opinion. A coding strategy implies that there is more than one symbol to decode. It gives the reader a way to identify the important stuff they are highlighting. I’m not trying to criticize Bonnie’s method I’m just saying it’s not really coding, and neither did Bonnie. Reciprocal Teaching – Sounds Hard for MathMaybe it’s because it sounds too fancy but I believe the Reciprocal Teaching strategy would be difficult to implement in mathematics. I think the main reason is that it seems to me in order to use this method you need a reading passage that is fairly extensive. It’s my experience than math topics are covered in bursts. While it’s true than many topics build upon each other, they tend to do so over the course of days and weeks. I find it hard to imagine a text reading where you would have more then one or two iterations of this method which I think is hardly worth it. It’s possible that geometric proof might be a candidate because they sometimes require and extensive solution that might apply to this method. Geometric proofs, however, are sort of an anomaly when in comes to applying literacy strategies. It’s the one topic that works with almost any strategy.

  18. Sorry About that I was trying to get Fancy with XML. I’ll try again.

  19. Test. I can’t get my stuff to post correclty.

  20. Somehow I managed to turn this assignment into a software engineering task but I think I figured it out.

  21. In accordance with nearly everyone, I think that the use of coding text via highlighting and symbols was my most effective during-reading strategy. When I was in early high school I had many teachers stress to me that writing on the text is crucial for understanding and have found that to be true and effective throughout my higher education. Similar to Stefanie’s use of the post-its, I think the use of note cards is an effective way to organize main ideas and questions and expand upon coding text. During the initial read of the text the student can star important paragraphs and underline the key ideas and highlight vocabulary. Then for each paragraph/section/page they can designate a different color note card to rewrite the ideas, vocabulary definitions, and questions to be answered that they have taken away from the piece. Doing this will enable the student to essentially re-read and then re-write the information they have gained from the text, and repetition is crucial for understanding. Note cards can be easily filed and organized and students can refer to them for studying.
    Sarah made a point that her mind wanders while reading and I am yet to meet anyone who can refute that this happens to them. I agree with her in that identification of the point of reading is crucial to keep in mind during reading. To do this, the teacher should remind the students that their mind will wander and make it clear to them what they are going to be reading for, and having them write it down. Next, the class can skim the text together and code key words or subheadings that jump out as possible triggers to the purpose of what they are reading for. When the student comes to a coded word or heading it will jump out and focus them back to remembering their purpose.
    Many people struggle with biology because it requires so much memorization. It is a subject that will always require basic understanding of certain facts and principles that are often most easily described through words. Due to this, I think the jigsaw strategy will likely be the most challenging during reading strategy for the students understanding. As biology is a web in which the subject areas support each other, it is crucial that each level is understood before moving on to the next. For example, cell structure needs to be mastered to understand cell division. The jigsaw method could certainly be effective for enrichment topics but not for the basic understanding of biology.

  22. I found the website of a community college which provides a page on “Biology Reading Skills.”
    I I found many of these tips to be relevant, especially the ones that stress the importance of reading aloud and talking through what you do not understand. Hearing the text in addition to reading the text is another great way to reiterate what you are learning.

  23. I couldn’t figure out how to use the tags correctly so you’ll find my comment here:

  24. One more time. I couldn’t figure out how to use the tags correctly so you’ll find my comment here:

    Pete’s Blog Comment #3

    Hope it works.

  25. Since I think that I am the last to reply, I will admit that I think the class has done a great job on covering all the areas.
    Personally I like to make marks while I read, by underlining or highlighting the important points. I am a person that really likes to write in my books. I thought the website Shelby provided about ways to not makes marks in the book were a great idea. I also really liked Stefanie’s idea of using post-its. Not only will I encourage my students to do use this technique but I’m excited to use it myself! I think that students find it hard to memorize all the math formulas, so even having a “mobile” post-it with formulas on it to switch from page to page could be very useful. This post-it could also be a tool to keep a running list of formulas. The students could maybe write a formula and the page it is found in the book on, and then use that as a quick reference for where to find more help with questions.
    I’m a slow reader and I don’t deny this fact, I read and re-read and re-read again. So I like to make notes as I go, I find coding to be a little to much for me and decoding in my mind as I read is over load. Quickly recalling the difference between a star, an exclamation point and a dash is too much while I’m reading. As Laurie and Geoff had mentioned, I also find myself using the question mark! I think this is my favorite code and the only code I use. I use it all the time when I don’t understand something I’m reading. I usually reread it a few times but it still gets a question mark.
    Also as Laurie has stated I think that jigsawing a lesson would be hard to do with math. I find most math concepts are derived from each other and there is a sequence that must be followed. Laurie and Sarah have a great idea with the “think alouds” I think if there is a way to aid students better with word problems the better. I think it appears that math is taking/creating a very literature based (word problem) curriculum. With more word problems the student’s ability to understand what they read becomes so much more important.

  26. Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this post. It was funny.
    Keep on posting!

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