How Can Reading Strategies Help?
2 Kinds of Strategies
There are 2 levels of strategies, some of which we talked about in your Reading Habits discussion.
There are Mega-strategies and General strategies.
Mega-strategies are the overarching things you do as you read that help you to understand the text and stay focused. Think of them as the umbrella that covers your entire reading process. Some examples of mega-strategies would be (Boling Mullin, 2008):
- Connecting to what you already know about a topic (background knowledge)
- Asking questions about what you are reading
- Figuring out words that you don't know
- Making inferences (predictions, conclusions, connections - figuring things out that aren't exactly right in front of you) - If you saw a woman crying, you might infer that she is sad.
- Making mental pictures about what you are reading (visualizing)
- Summarizing (main points) and Synthesizing (combining thoughts from different places into one organized place)
- Being aware of when you stop understanding what you are reading
- Stopping to "fix-it" when you realize you are lost.
Boling Mullin, M. (2008, July). Megastrategies of Comprehension. PowerPoint presentation for L 517. Indiana: University of Indiana.
General strategies are those additional tools that you use to help you to better accomplish the Mega-strategies. Some examples are:
- VIP-MVP summaries
- Question Stems
- The Talk-Through
- Learning Logs
Brozo, W. G., & Simpson, M. L. (2007). Content literacy for Today's Adolescents: Honoring diversity and building competence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
The goal of any reading strategy is to help you better understand what you are reading, remember what you read, and use the reading effectively for your intended purpose. Eventually, after multiple exposures to several strategies, you'll be able to choose those that work best for you. Keeping up with the amount and complexity of college reading is challenging. Reading strategies can help you work more efficiently and effectively!
In the next section, we'll take a look at our first General strategy - VIP-MVP summaries. This strategy can help you pick out the most important ideas from a reading, and prepare you to write a summary.