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Tips on Becoming an Effective Reader

When students are given the right tools and taught active reading strategies, they learn how to read for purpose, activate their background knowledge, and make personal and meaningful connections to text.

Students in Upper School work diligently daily to improve their ability to read and comprehend the material that they are presented with. In order to do this, readers must become active and engaged. Ms. Hegarty states, "as a Learning Specialist and a Language Arts teacher, a significant portion of my day is spent teaching students individual strategies that help them to become more confident and competent readers and learners. When students are given the right tools and taught active reading strategies, they learn how to read for purpose, activate their background knowledge, and make personal and meaningful connections to text."
 
Students should first set an expectation for themselves and try to identify what they are trying to learn. This can be done using a K-W-L chart.

This type of chart helps students to identify what they already know about a topic, what they would like to learn, and finally what has been learned through the whole process. I find K-W-L charts to be extremely effective, because they help students organize their thoughts as well as become more self-reflective and aware. Students are taught to begin this active reading process by previewing the text, which means they read the title, heading, and vocabulary words and identify the author's main idea. After previewing the text, students can then delve into the actual reading. As students read, they should have a conversation with the text and the author. Comments and questions should be marked throughout the text, and key terms should be identified. Universal themes can be marked on Post-It notes as well. 
 
Students greatly benefit from active reading strategies that help them focus on making predictions; creating mental images; drawing conclusions; formulating and answering questions; and making personal and meaningful connections to their own lives, to what they have read or seen, and to what is going on in the world. 

By: Ms. Hegarty, Learning Specialist and Language Arts Teacher
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Woodlynde School

445 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford, PA 19087-5498
Tel: 610.687.9660 
Woodlynde School is a private, co-ed college prep day school located in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that serves intelligent, talented students with learning differences in Grades K - 12. Woodlynde provides a comprehensive, evidence-based Kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school program in a challenging yet nurturing environment for students with average to above average cognitive abilities (IQ) who have language-or math-based learning differences (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia), Executive Function Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Auditory Processing Disorder. Even for those students without a diagnosed learning disability (LD), Woodlynde offers expert and caring teachers in small classroom settings that support academic success. Woodlynde School also offers a post-graduate (PG) program in partnership with Rosemont College as well as a regional Summer Camp for students who learn differently.