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English Detective #58 Skills for Reading Comprehension, Dec. 1, 2015
December 01, 2015

#58 Skills for Reading Comprehension, Dec. 1, 2015

A few simple reading comprehension strategies and skills can help your students understand more of what they read. This issue links to several pages on EnglishHints and other sites with ideas you can use before, during, and after reading lessons to help students get the most from them.

If you prefer not to open links in email, you can just go to (the first page linked below), which has links to the other pages mentioned.

The way you introduce a reading lesson makes a huge difference in both student motivation and comprehension.

Take the time to plan an intriguing introduction that helps students see the value of learning about your topic, arouses their curiosity, and raises some of the questions the reading selection will answer.

One way to introduce the subject is with an Anticipation Guide. (Read more...)

These guides are “often structured as a series of statements with which the learners can choose to agree or disagree. Anticipation guides stimulate learners’ interest in a topic and set a purpose for reading.”

The author goes on to explain how to make and use them here. He includes a template as well.

Colorin Colorado also offers some very useful reading comp strategies, especially on using comprehension questions.

In addition to those pre- and post- reading strategies, you might find it useful to teach your students a few reading skills: skimming, scanning, chunking, word analysis, decoding, and the use of context clues, sequence markers, and inferences.

Several of those are taught in the newly-expanded Word Detectives pdf for teachers. It has 5 detailed lesson plans that teach reading skills including inferences, context clues, and word analysis.

The lessons use detective fiction (substituting a selection about Poe’s Dupin for a more difficult passage on Sherlock Holmes, who now only appears briefly), the story of the research that led to the conquest of yellow fever, and an introduction to roots and affixes.

If you’re interested, it’s near the top of the Reading Comp Lesson Plans page -- not linked directly from the first page above, but from the Reading Skills page (or on our sitemap.)

It usually costs $6.75, but readers of English Detective can get it at a 20% discount (so the price will be $5.40) through Dec.5th if you use the coupon code EDReader.

What topics would you like to see on English Detective in the future?

More online reading or listening materials—on any subject or some subjects in particular? More activities, games, or hints for language learning or teaching? More vocabulary or grammar practice exercises? Something completely different?

If you are a teacher I’d also love to know what subject(s), ages, and levels you teach. (Do you need to adapt materials for Common Core standards, or teach both native speakers and English language learners?)

If you’re not a teacher, what helps you most? (Are you preparing for a big test like the IELTS or TOEFL, or for university studies? Do you use English in your profession?)

Just write a few words (or sentences) about what you’d like from English Detective—then hit reply. Your answer will help me plan a more useful newsletter. Thanks!—Cathy

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