Comprehension Corner

How Do I Make Reading More Purposeful?
Comprehension Corner
What Strategies Do Good Readers Use?
What Are Fix-Up Strategies?
What Are Comprehension Constructors?
How Do I Use Modeling Effectively?
What Are Accessible Texts?
What Are Text Sets?
How Do I Make Reading More Purposeful?
How Do I Improve Group Work?
What Does Engaging Instruction Look Like?
How Do I Promote Transfer?
What Strategies Promote Comprehension?
What Are Inquiry Units?
How Do I Create Opportunities for Social Learning?
How Do I Promote Questioning?
Where Can I Learn More?
Meet the Author

Tovani writes, “The purpose readers set for themselves as they read affects comprehension in several ways.  First, it determines the speed of the reading.  Purpose also determines what the reader remembers.  When readers have a purpose, they remember more of the text.”  For this reason, we have to be clear in our instructional reasons for assigning reading.


How to Define Your Instructional Purpose

  • Decide what students should know after reading.  Focus only on essential information.
  • Anticipate what might cause students difficulty (lack of background knowledge, for example).
  • Model how you would negotiate that difficulty (think out loud and give them tip or two).
  • Decide what you want students to be able to do with the information once they have finished reading.
  • Decide how students will hold their thinking while reading for the purpose of remembering it for discussion later.
  • Model how students will hold their thinking and provide the necessary tools (see What Are Comprehension Constructors?).


Gradually, the responsibly for setting reading purposes can be given to students during independent reading.  The following list should give readers a few strategy options to use while reading difficult test.  It should not be used as a checklist to complete for all reading, or with one single text.


Possible Purposes for Reading

  • Look for interesting details.  Ask yourself why they are included.
  • Ask questions about the title and subtitles.  Try to figure out how they are connected to the piece as a whole.
  • Ask questions about the text as a whole.  As you read, record the questions and keep them in the back of your mind.  Look for the answers as you read.  If you don’t find the answers, ask!
  • Look for the author’s opinion.  Compare it to your own.
  • Read a piece to learn new information.
  • Make a connection to the piece.  Use information you have about the topic to connect more personally to the text.
  • Who is the author?  Do you know anything about the author and his or her writing style? What you know about the author might help you anticipate what is coming in the reading.
  • Here is my example using Tovani’s text to read for questions and new information.

For further reading, see Do I Really Have to Teach Reading, Chapter 5.

Last updated: July 9, 2008

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