Reading a text: reading strategiesElissa Nixon / June 6, 2019
What do we do to understand what we read?
Before beginning to read a text, you must first determine your reading intention.
For what purpose do we read this text?
If we read for a specific purpose, other than mere entertainment, we must become an “active reader”. To do this, we apply to annotate the text with pencils, highlighters and sticky notes (post-it) in a quiet environment favoring concentration. Here are some essential strategies to carry out an effective annotation work and thus to better understand complex texts. In addition to the descriptions of the strategies presented below, you will find concrete examples of their use by clicking on the following link.
1. PREDICTING CONTENT
Before reading: identify the structure of the text
To fully understand the text, one must first focus on how it is structured. The elements of the paratext are carefully observed in order to identify the structure (title, subtitles, illustrations, captions, boxes, words in bold type, etc.).
During reading: make reading hypotheses
By analyzing the elements of the paratext and referring to his previous knowledge on the subject of the text, we can then make assumptions about its content, anticipate the course of action or predict the way the thought unfolds. the author.
Predict the content of the motivated text to continue reading; we are able to verify whether its initial hypotheses are confirmed or not.
2. QUESTIONING, “INTERVIEW TEXT”
To question oneself is to wonder about the choice of a word, the meaning of a word, the author, the titles, the subtitles, etc. To ask questions is a starting point for understanding the meaning of the text when a passage seems incomprehensible.
In the course of reading, we note the questions that come to our mind and the answer elements found in the margins of the document, then we highlight the passages that give rise to questions.
Note that you can create your own annotation code: abbreviations, symbols, colors, highlighting, and so on.
It’s a good idea to ask yourself questions about:
1.The author’s intention
What is the purpose of the author in writing this text? What does he want to express?
2.The subject, the subject of the text and the thesis
What is the purpose, the main idea of the text? What does the text cover? What idea is the guiding thread? What position does the author support?
3.The main ideas, the secondary ideas or the arguments
What are the main and secondary ideas presented by the author?
4.The author’s conclusion
What observations does the author release? Why ?
3. CLARIFY THE SENSE
It is normal not to understand everything at the first reading of a text. To overcome the impression of misunderstanding, all readers should make sure to clarify the point. It is therefore recommended to stop, re-read and try to grasp the meaning of words or passages that are not understood by various means, such as deduction, discussion with peers, research in the dictionary, etc.
To clarify the meaning, we must:
1. Target words or passages that are not understood.
2. Talk to others about their understanding of certain words or passages in the text.
3. Consult the dictionary or other relevant work.
4. Check with the teacher, if necessary.
4. MAKE LINKS
Making links, linking elements of the text with his acquired knowledge or with his previous experiences, makes it possible to weave relations between the characters, the sentences, the paragraphs or the different parts of the same text. When reading, it is also relevant to use newly acquired knowledge, to reactivate one’s previous knowledge or to experiment with new strategies.
Building relationships leads to a deeper understanding of the text and facilitates the memorization of new knowledge or strategies that may be useful later.
To achieve this, it is a question of identifying the new information, of comparing it, then of relating it to its previous knowledge and strategies in order to integrate them into its long-term memory.
The summary must reflect both the author’s ideas and their organization. It aims to reformulate, in a clear and concise manner, the ideas of the text, with the constant aim of translating with accuracy and objectivity its purpose.
For a summary to be complete, it must answer the following questions: Who? What? Or? When? How? Why?
It can be very useful to summarize each part of a text (paragraph, chapter, section, etc.) in order to synthesize them, to use them to study or to write a work.
Summarizing a text also helps to check one’s understanding and to memorize what has been read.
See the “Summarize Text” tab in the “Read and Write Text” section for more information.