Young people today need to build strong reading, writing and thinking skills to ensure success in school, the workplace and for a quality everyday life. As students progress through primary and into secondary school, they face a whole new set of comprehension challenges that can be difficult even for children who ‘read well’.
Every subject at school relies on students having the ability to understand what they are reading. Students are also required to use the information in a specific way for an assignment, a homework challenge or to study for an exam. Without good comprehension skills, students can struggle.
Why is comprehension more challenging in high school?
Student work becomes harder in secondary school and there is an increased expectation that students be more independent in their learning. The nature of reading changes significantly and comprehension becomes more challenging due to the use of more complex vocabulary and concepts in the reading and learning tasks. Students will need to use a variety of strategies to comprehend new information and to use the information appropriately in different contexts. For example, students may need to skim through research material, looking for information or clues to whether a section will help them with a history or science assignment, or they may need to carefully read poetry – looking for literary devices like alliteration or metaphors. Different subjects require different strategies and these strategies may be new to your child.
Parents can help by reminding students to use the following reading strategies to assist them to become better readers and thinkers. You probably already use some of them without even realising it.
|Making Connections||Connect with information by experiences, relating information to another text or to something happening in the world.|
|Predicting||Use information, images or our own experiences to predict what might happen next.|
|Questioning||Ask questions to help clarify the meaning.|
|Monitoring||Realise when something is tricky and then stop, re-read or seek extra help.|
|Visualising||Paint a picture in our mind of what is happening to help us understand and remember information.|
|Summarising||Put the main information we have read into our own words.|
(Strategies compiled from ‘Homework help, tips and info sheets at: www.schoolatoz.com.au)
Effective readers and learners regularly use these strategies. They ask themselves questions like ‘did this make sense? If it didn’t, they go back and re-read it, and slow their reading speed accordingly. It’s important that we remind our students that being a good reader isn’t about speed or getting all the words/understanding right the first time. Good reading is about knowing when you have to stop and try different things to help you understand the text more fully.
Broadening your teenagers reading experiences will help them with their education, social skills and future employment opportunities. Encouraging them to read a range of written material will help extend their vocabulary and life experience. Encouraging them to ask questions when they are reading, promotes thinking skills and supports them with aiming to achieve better results from their learning at school.
Secondary Book Club
Secondary Book Club has commenced for the year and a group of enthusiastic readers catch up in the Library every Wednesday at lunchtime. This term, students are taking turns sharing about a really great book they have recently read and are also working on a Reading Blog – highlighting great reads and upcoming events. The ‘Blog on Books!’ reading blog can be viewed on the GCCC Library Weebly under the iSucceed tab.
During assembly this week, the students in middle school listened to a presentation by one of the Librarians from Sunshine Coast Libraries. Lisa Austin, spoke about the range of services that our local libraries offer for students and encouraged them to make the most of free membership. For more information about what local libraries provide, click on the following link: http://www.library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/
Beryl Morris – Secondary Teacher Librarian