Reading and Word-Attack Strategies

Reading is not just pronouncing words—it requires understanding. Most experienced readers use a variety of strategies to understand text. Research has shown that teachers can, and should, teach these strategies to beginning readers. The following strategies can help students understand any text in any subject.

Make Predictions
Visualize
Ask and Answer Questions
Retell and Summarize
Connect the Text to Life Experiences, Other Texts, or Prior Knowledge
Word-Attack Strategies

Make Predictions

Predictions encourage active reading and keep students interested, whether or not the predictions are correct. Incorrect predictions can signal a misunderstanding that needs to be revisited. Instruct students:

Visualize

Many students think visually, using shapes, spatial relationships, movement, and colors, and can benefit greatly from this strategy. Instruct students:

Ask and Answer Questions

Having students form their own questions helps them recognize confusion and encourages active learning. Instruct students:

Retell and Summarize

Relating the text in students' own words clears up language issues. Retelling challenges them to aim for complete retention. Summarization allows students to discriminate between main ideas and minor details. Instruct students:

Connect the Text to Life Experiences, Other Texts, or Prior Knowledge

Connecting a text to students' experiences and knowledge helps students personalize the information. It also helps students remember information when they link it to their lives. Instruct students:

Word-Attack Strategies

Word-attack strategies help students decode, pronounce, and understand unfamiliar words. They help students attack words piece by piece or from a different angle. Model and instruct students:

Use Picture Clues

Sound Out the Word

Look for Chunks in the Word

Connect to a Word You Know

Reread the Sentence

Keep Reading

Use Prior Knowledge