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
Decide what students should know after reading. Focus only on essential
what might cause students difficulty (lack of background knowledge, for example).
how you would negotiate that difficulty (think out loud and give them tip or two).
what you want students to be able to do with the information once they have finished reading.
how students will hold their thinking while reading for the purpose of remembering it for discussion later.
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
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.
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!
for the author’s opinion. Compare it to your own.
a piece to learn new information.
a connection to the piece. Use information you have about the topic to connect
more personally to the text.
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.