Children are inundated with text, just as adults are. But it’s not necessarily the quality or quantity of text that makes reading difficult. It’s the pre-reading skills that are lacking.
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What Is Pre-Reading?
Pre-reading is a strategy of approaching a text with a purposeful mindset. This is when the reader rehearses the key ideas in the text to ensure that he comprehends them. This is the step that comes before reading. It helps students gain context, access previous knowledge, and prepare for the task ahead.
One way to acquire this skill is to read closely without attempting to speed read. It helps the reader understand the words they encounter and even learn new vocabulary.
Pre-reading builds a knowledge base and an understanding of the text. As a result, the teachers know what to discuss during the book and what is appropriate for that lesson. It makes for more interesting discussions and more thought-provoking inquiry, and the topic will be well understood.
Why Is it Important?
Pre-reading helps students remain active and engaged in the material they are about to read.
But the main difference is that you do it before you start reading your book. This is advantageous because it allows you to focus on what you need to do in a flowing manner rather than along the way.
It will enable you to comprehend the text before you have fully digested it.
Pre-Reading Strategies to Improve Comprehension
Pre-reading strategies help students make sense of what they read and engage meaningfully with the form and content of the text. It sets a solid foundation for a successful reading experience in the future.
The goal is to get the students into strategic reading practice.
It helps children decode words and boost reading comprehension, both at home and in school. The practices apply to both adults and children. However, the following strategies are especially helpful for the younger kids to make reading fun and pique their interest.
Previewing the text
Previewing is the process of skimming through a text to gather ideas before going through the content thoroughly from start to finish. The same principle applies to children but in a playful manner.
Encourage children to gather clues from the book’s titles, covers, and inside illustrations to figure out what they will read or hear. Have them notice and speak aloud what they see in the book. This will activate their prior knowledge and help them make personal connections.
For the little older kids, it would include going through the table of contents, title, and subheadings to identify the genre of the book. Then discuss the title and point out the similarities and differences to spark interest in the readers for what they will read.
Finding the purpose for reading
For young readers, comprehending the author’s goal may be too difficult. They must, however, have a general concept of whether a story is meant to be enjoyed or if it contains a lesson.
The students need to understand that in non-fiction texts, the author will usually share knowledge, and it’s not for enjoyment. Elementary students are expected to know that the purpose of a writer is to entertain, inform, or persuade.
Ask the students to talk about what they think the author’s purpose of a particular book is to improve their understanding of the text. It will help the readers be mindful of what to expect in the story and help them set a purpose for their reading time.
Based on the information gathered from the titles, illustrations, and cover, motivate the students to make predictions of the storyline. Let them express what they think would happen in the story before reading any part of the text.
Then when you start reading, try predicting the events together as the story unfolds. Ask them to predict the ending of a story or the types of information they will learn from a non-fiction book.
If they can successfully examine the text features after preview, they are likely to be able to support their predictions with text evidence.
The order of the steps could be changed based on what suits the students best. The most important thing is to teach the students these simple but effective strategies in their reading process. It will enable them to take hold of their readership independently in the future.
Many students make the mistake of reading the whole text in their class before even grasping the main idea. This can lead to underwhelming performances and increased frustration.
Pre-reading is essential in enabling students to gain conceptual understanding, typically before they start reading the text of a story. It will kindle their interest in the story and make comprehension much more effortless.
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