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During-Reading Activities

To guide students to a more active approach to reading, and to encourage them to check their comprehension, try the following:

Marginal Notes

Encourage students to use a system of marginal notes instead of a highlighter while they are reading a text. This will be a new activity for many students and will require a great deal of practice for students to feel comfortable with it. For example:

After reading a paragraph from a longer text, students can summarize the main point and any major details in the margin. (Pencils should be used to make corrections easier.) These notes should be written in students' own words as much as possible to make sure they are understanding the concepts being presented.

Students can also write questions they have about the information to help them remember to bring up a specific point in class.

To show that they are relating existing knowledge with new concepts, students can write examples from their life that are related to ideas in the text.

Students should also be encouraged to write definitions for new vocabulary they encounter in the text.

Note: If students are not permitted to write in their texts, a similar process of notetaking can be done in a notebook. Copies of articles can also be distributed for practice with marginal notations.

Role Playing Good Reading Habits

Using a short passage, try role playing how experienced readers might actively engage themselves with a text. Here are some examples of what you might try:

Talk about what images are forming in your mind as you read a portion of the text.

Make predictions as to what the next paragraphs might explain.

Show how you check your understanding by keeping an "internal summary" of ideas. This can be done after each paragraph or section by stopping and saying to yourself, "This paragraph explained the causes of ____. The most common cause is ____."

You can demonstrate how an experienced reader might use marginal notes.

Finally, show what you do when you come across unfamiliar vocabulary (look for synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and other contextual clues).