Strategic Reading of Expository (Informational) Text (page 2)
The student with dyslexia may require repeated explicit instruction and practice to develop the awareness and strategies that support effective comprehension of expository text. Skimming, scanning, paraphrasing, surveying, and summarizing are proven ways to facilitate comprehension of expository text.
Skimming is the rapid reading of text in order to get a sense of text structure, organization, and gist. Chapter titles, bolded type, marginal glosses, chapter previews, and chapter conclusions give the reader a cursory understanding of what the reading content involves. Teachers can instruct students with dyslexia to look for specific text components (e.g., chapter titles and headings, introduction and conclusion sections, pictures and graphics) when skimming to get a global picture of the reading at hand. Rubin (1991a) cautions that students be aware that skimming behaviors are not the same as studying, which requires "much slower and more concentrated reading". If students learn to paraphrase or summarize information as they adjust their reading rates, comprehension can be enhanced.
Scanning is the rapid reading of text in order to locate needed information after a reading purpose has been established. Students who need to find information quickly, such as a phone number, an author in an index, a topic in a newspaper, and so on, can be guided to look for the keyword(s) wanted. Teachers need to point out that once the information is located, students need to read more slowly.
In studying the reading behaviors of struggling readers, Winograd (1984) has found that these readers have difficulty abstracting key ideas and summarizing or paraphrasing key concepts and information. Similarly, Taylor (1984) states that individuals who are poor readers will not actively think to paraphrase information before writing about what they read. Maggart and Zintz (1990) suggest that with poor readers, teachers first concentrate on having students paraphrase their ideas orally before written expressive tasks are assigned. These authors also indicate that discussions should follow reading assignments where students can brainstorm and share ideas regarding the summary of contextual material. Teachers can assist students with dyslexia in paraphrasing what they read by alternating with students as to who will paraphrase a paragraph, page, or story.
Immediate and positive feedback should be given to the student. The teacher should be quick to point out why the summary statement(s) are good and then add/delete obviously incorrect/irrelevant information. In this way, teachers actively model good paraphrasing or summary skills.
Paraphrasing skills can be applied to "fun" writing formats. For example, students could work on paraphrasing key story structure information and then report this information on a Book Report.
Surveying is the guided exploration of the structure and content of the text material which is well suited to instructional strategies with basal readers.
According to the National Reading Panel Report (2000), the teaching of summarizing needs to involve rules and procedures for single and multiple passages where students generalize and integrate information found in text. Instruction in summarizing helps to improve memory for what was read in regard to free recall and answering questions. Summarizing is integral to reciprocal teaching and other approaches that rely on the teaching of multiple strategies to enhance comprehension. In student summaries, teachers need to look at whether most of the important ideas were included as well as supporting details, facts, and vocabulary from the reading. Summarizing in writing nonfiction information as in this sample allows the learner to organize his or her thoughts on the subject with a reference later for study or report writing. For the student with dyslexia, if the purpose of the writing summary is for study purposes or note taking, language mechanics need not be emphasized or necessarily corrected (e.g., spelling and grammar).
The ability to summarize social studies and science text for students with dyslexia is crucial to comprehension and study notes.
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