Many times, teachers assume that the students are skilled in reading a text, understanding the same and critically analyzing it to draw their conclusions. However, what they can do is basically just read the text and develop some basic understanding of what the writer is saying.
I have seen students struggle to analyze poetry and literature text in languages as they prepare for their oral examinations. It makes me wonder that, if they have this problem in languages, where the teachers teach them Reading Skills, how were they coping in human sciences, arts, natural sciences and mathematics?
Reading skills should be part of their college readiness programme and working on student’s college readiness should be part of the teaching learning process in every subject in school from Grade VI and above.
Here, I am picking up Reading Skills and how we can help students develop it.
Hook 1: What do you think the text is about
Broadly try and interpret the text and annotate it. It would be a good idea to first read the full text and jot down what you think it is about. Then go para by para and annotate in the margins
- what it states and what evidence in the text supports that.
- what inference do you draw from it.
Hook 2: What is the big idea of the text
Identify the big idea or theme of the text. See how that is being developed. The idea could be developed using different perspectives, have supporting evidences etc. Summarize the key details.
Hook 3: Use of language
Look closely for the style of writing. Does the text appear objective? What about the choice of words? Do the choice of words indicate a certain tone, meaning?
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. This is also the time to highlight the words that you may want to find the meaning of.
Hook 4: Text structure
What structure is the author using? Is it a expository, persuasive or argumentative writing? More information on text structures such as problem/solution, cause and effect can be found here. Understanding signal words for each type of text structure will help in identifying and understanding different types of texts. Also, analyse how each of the paragraphs relate to each other and the whole text.
Hook 5: Point of view
Look to understand how the point of view shapes the style of the writing.
Hook 6: Arguments and claims
What are the points of view being stated? Do they cover different perspectives? Are those perspectives backed with evidence? Is the argument presented valid and does the text provide a balanced argument or there is a certain bias? Evaluate the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence presented.
Hook 7: Authenticity
Managing flow of information from a wide variety of sources is a critical skill to be learnt. Curating articles they wish to read and use for reference, checking when was the article written, by who and how is it relevant for their study is valuable learning experience for students.
Reading with intention