An Essential Reading Strategy

What is a strategy? A strategy is a technique, method or way of figuring something out. In order to learn how to read students must be taught

Skip, hop, jump, and purrfect your reading skills!
I get the gist!

strategies that will help them succeed. I have attached a bookmark with 7 reading strategies that you can use with your child when they are learning how to read. Today I am focusing on one of the most essential strategies that will help students succeed.

Skip the word and read the rest of the sentence or paragraph! This strategy is (1) easy to teach, (2) simple to use and is (3) very effective.  It is also one of the most overlooked strategies when teaching children how to read.

Why isn’t this reading strategy used more often? This strategy is not used enough by students or teachers because many individuals think they must read every word in order to (1) read with proficiency and to (2) understand what they are reading. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The most important thing to remember, if you are a parent teaching your child to read is to ask yourself, “Does my child understand what he/she is reading?”   As a student, the most important thing to ask is, “Do I understand what I am reading?” There are two phrases that are commonly used when people don’t know all the details, but they do understand the main idea.

When people say, “I get the gist.” that means they understand the general idea of what you are saying.  Another common way of saying this is, “I get the big picture.” In other words, you may not know all the specific details, but you understand the general or main idea.

When you get the gist of what you are reading you realize it is not necessary to know every single word! You are also activating higher order thinking skills by making inferences.  This is a very easy skill to teach your child.

For example, what if you read the following sentence, “On Saoirse’s birthday she is going to eat chicken parmigiana.

Even if you don’t know the last word or the last two words, you get the gist of what you are reading. You know that Saoirse is going to eat something she enjoys on her birthday. You also might not be able to read the name “Saoirse” correctly, but you get the gist. You know it is the name of someone. You also know Saoirse is a girl because the word “she” is used in the sentence.

A domino effect is created simply by skipping words, and this “effect” helps you to understand what you are reading.  You are (1) skipping words (2) using context clues and (3) making inferences, using higher order thinking skills (4) to understand what you are reading.

Skipping words requires students to use “context clues.” A context clue is a word, phrase or picture that helps readers get the gist of what they are reading. Think of context clues as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. For example, when you see that all the blue pieces are in the bottom right hand corner, you can make an inference about where most of the blue puzzle pieces might fit. The same applies to reading.

This simple strategy, of skipping a word or phrase activates higher order thinking skills because students are making inferences in order to understand what they are reading. It is also helping them to become more independent, readers. The more students read independently, the greater their reading ability becomes. Many factors help create proficient readers, and this strategy is a necessary piece of the puzzle that will help students succeed.

 

Important Words and Phrases

Strategy– A technique, method or way of figuring something out.

Higher Order Thinking Skills—(a) Helps students make connections and learn new information. (b) Easily activated by asking how and why questions.

I get the gist. – I understand the main idea.

I get the big picture. I understand the main idea.

Inference—A guess — Involves using higher order thinking skills.

Context Clues—Using the information you have around a word, phrase or picture to understand what you are reading.

When you use context clues you are making inferences and using higher order thinking skills.

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