Literacy @ VPSHS: Reading for understanding

​Annotating a text helps with reading comprehension.

​Reading comprehension is an aspect of learning that is complex and requires the application of a range of skills for the reader to be successful. The application can be simplified through a reader being active and following a few steps to improve the chances of understanding the text and gaining required comprehension as quickly as possible.

The first step is simple, have a writing implement in your hand.  Before you start reading, pick up a pen, pencil, highlighter, quill and ink… it does not matter as long as you can effectively use it to write.  You will be using this as you read, so make sure it is ready to go before you begin.
Secondly, skim read through the questions you will need to answer before you look at the text.  This will be a preview of what key information you will be looking for as you read the text.  Make special note of any key words you need to find or sections of the text that there are questions about.
Thirdly, it is time to begin reading the text.  Still with pen in hand begin reading.  As you read it is important you are identifying key pieces of information.  Circle the words you do not know, but keep reading. Underline key words or phrases relating to the questions you are about to answer.  For each paragraph write a five word summary in the margin. Your text should be covered in markings and notations by the end, but the process of actively processing the text as you read will assist in your ability to recall the information.  Hopefully this means it will stand out when you get to answer the questions.
Finally, it is time to answer the questions.  Go through the questions and refer back to your text with your notes to answer all questions.  If there are any circled words your primary response should be to look at word meaning in context (do the words around it explain what the word means?).  If this does not assist in your understanding is a dictionary available?  Under testing it will not be, but it may be other times.  Use your summaries and key words to find required information to answer all questions being asked.
This process may seem long, but if done effectively it will stop you needing to read over a text multiple times to locate information.  The time taken to actively read and annotate a text once will be less than reading a text three, four, or even five times.  It will also transfer some of the information to the active part of the brain so it is easier to recall.  This should make it easier to answer all questions and get the best marks possible when being tested on reading comprehension.
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Last reviewed 19 December 2019
Last updated 19 December 2019