Revealed on this page....
Have you heard that reading can take you anywhere you want to go? People who love reading can get lost in a book for hours upon hours. For others, this is not the case. Instead, some readers can decode the words very well but do not understand a word of it. I call this zoning out while reading.
Yesterday, I was tutoring a high school student who did just this while we were reading a book he wanted to read. Previously, I've noticed that he was engaged in the reading by answering questions, laughing appropriately, and participating in the discussion.
Yesterday's student wasn't the first high school student of mine to zone out while reading. I have had many others do the same thing. HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!
Main Way of Getting Information
Reading is an important way of getting information at the high school age. High schools use textbooks, computer articles, periodicals, and other media to gain information. Three of the four main tests on the ACT involve reading. The ACT gets students valuable scholarships to college. Colleges depend on using textbooks for information. But yet students are wasting their time decoding words on the page while lacking the understanding of what they are reading.
If you have struggled with reading since you were little, if the school has taken special reading help away from you, if you can read a recipe, then you can change your reading comprehension level.
But how exactly can you figure out if you are zoning out while reading? Today I am going to talk about staying engaged in a prose fiction type of story. My next article will talk about how to stay engaged in a nonfiction type of story.
Reading during School Breaks: Important or Waste of Time
Some of you might be enjoying summer, winter, or spring break and want to skip over this article because you think it doesn't apply to you, but you would be wrong. During breaks would be the perfect time to hone in on your reading skills and get some extra practice while you don't have other homework to complete. Here are some other benefits of reading during breaks
Missing Warning Signs
If you speed past a word you don't understand, you are zoning out while reading. Getting used to stopping at words you don't know is a great way to increase your comprehension, vocabulary, and ACT scores. Great readers will slow down during this part of the story and ask themselves questions such as:
Not understanding what is going on in the story is another warning sign. Why continue to read, if you don't understand what is going on? Great readers will not let this happen. Great readers interact with the story to keep them engaged and keep reading. Here are ways to interact with the story:
Every couple of pages or so ask yourself these questions
By asking yourself these questions, you should be able to engage in the story. However, it could be time to abandon the book altogether and find a different one. If you find that you have tried to get into a book, but it just isn't that interesting, abandon the book and find a different one. Great readers abandon books all of the time.
Be Like Spielberg
As you read, can you picture what is happening in the story? Great readers create a mini-movie in their head as they read. If you have heard someone say the book was better than the movie, it is because of the mini-movie he/she imagined while reading the story. Here's how you can create a mini-movie while reading:
Using Post-It Notes
One of the excuses that my students use is "I don't remember what I read." I understand. You are a busy person and might not have hours upon hours to sit with a book to read it from cover to cover.
I used Post-it notes with one of my students to help her understand what was going on in the story. She had to learn to stop every couple of pages and write a sentence about what was going on. That way she could look back to help her remember without rereading the whole book or story.
By the time you reach high school, you have created habits that are hard to break. However, you can change those bad habits to good habits even those dealing with reading. Use the tips above to change your reading behaviors and start understanding what you are reading.
What struggles do you have while reading? How do you fix them? I would love to know. Please leave a comment below answering these questions.
P.S. I would like to help you comprehend reading better, so I am giving you a free PowerPoint that teaches you to ask questions as you read. The document also works for creating test questions in reading, science or social studies classes as well. creating_reading_questions.pptxCreating Reading Questions has worked for countless students of mine and it can work for you too.
My name is Stena Schmitt.