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Reading Strategies Essay

Reading is an essential skill in human life. People are trained to learn how to read at very early age and they read with many purposes such as reading for pleasure or reading to earn experience or simply to know what is happening around them. In academic setting, reading is assumed to be the central means for learning new information and gaining access to alternative explanations. Reading also provides people with the foundation for synthesis and critical evaluation skill.

In addition, reading is the primary means for independent learning, whether the goal is performing better on academic tasks, learning more about subject matter, or improving language abilities (Grabe and Stoller, as cited in Celce-Murcia, 2001). However, according to Dr. Kathleen King (Reading Strategies, n. d. ) for students at college, reading is a new experience although they have been reading for more than 12 years at school or for pleasure. In addition, academic reading is not easy; therefore, it is extremely difficult for academic students to achieve complex goals without reading strategies.

Supporting to this idea, (Hawkins, 1991, cited in Celce-Murcia) also said that “Of all the skills that the child must acquire in school, reading is the most complex and difficult”. Therefore, English Second Language students are surely unavoidable to face some problems. Firstly, learners may be good at understanding separate words or even each sentence, but fail to understand the relationships between the sentences and the meaning of the text as a whole. Next, they do not have necessary knowledge about what they read. And the most important problem is that they lack necessary reading strategies.

English Second Language students need to learn reading strategies because their comprehension breaks down easily. They need different ways to approach reading to help facilitate the reading process and provide them with a better sense of what they are reading (Reading strategies for ESL Students, n. d. ). Reading strategies are the most effective means to help them deal with obstacles in reading and become a better reader. Furthermore, with practice, the strategies lead to skills that become automatic and quick over time (McNamara and Danielle, 2009).

But for students at the college, reading is not simply to do the task and reading passage is often longer than it is at high school meanwhile not all of them know the reading strategies and how to use them effectively. So, teaching reading strategies for students becomes necessary. That is the reason why the researcher choose “reading strategies for academic students” as a topic to do the research with the hope of improving the effect of their reading. CHAPTER II: LITERATURE II. 1. Definition of Strategies

Brown (2001) defined strategies as specific methods to solve a problem or task, as modes of activity to reach a particular end or intentional designs to control or manipulate certain information. He stated that strategies differentiate within an individual and that a person can use a variety of strategies to achieve his or her goal. Oxford (as cited in Oxford, 2003, p. 8) defined strategies as follows: “The word “strategies” comes from the ancient Greek word strategia, which means steps or actions taken for the purpose of winning a war.

The warlike meaning of strategia, has fortunately fallen away but the control and directedness remains in the version of the word. ” He believed that whether a strategy is helpful or not depends on the specific context in which it is appropriately used. In order to use a strategy effectively, learners have to consider three important conditions: whether the strategy relates well to the second language task at hand, whether the strategy fits the particular students’ learning style preferences to one degree or another, or whether the students employ the strategy and link it with other strategies well.

II. 2. Distinction between Strategies and Skills Strategies can be defined as conscious actions that learners take to achieve desired goals or objectives, while a skill is a strategy that has become automatic. As learners consciously learn and practice specific reading strategies, the strategies move from conscious to unconscious; from strategy to skill (Nunan, 2003). Strategic reading is defined as the ability of the reader to use a wide variety of reading strategies to accomplish a purpose for reading (Nunan, 2003).

Strategic reading means not only knowing what strategy to use, but knowing how to use and integrate a range of strategies (Anderson, 1991). II. 3. Difference Strategic Readers from Poor Readers (Reading Strategies, n. d. ) |1. Before Reading, Strategic Readers … |Poor Readers … | |? Build up their own background knowledge about reading and the |? Start reading without thinking about the process of reading or the| |topic |topic. | |? Set purposes for reading. |? Do not know why they are reading but merely view the task as | |? Determine methods for reading, according to their purposes.

|“ground to cover”. | |2. During Reading, Strategic Readers … |Poor Readers … | |? Give their complete attention to the reading task. |? Do not eliminate distractions from reading. | |? Check their own understanding constantly. |? Do not know whether they understand. | |? Monitor their reading comprehension and do it so often that it |? Do not recognize when comprehension has broken down. | |becomes automatic. |? Seldom use fix-up strategies to improve comprehension. | |? Stop to use a fix-up strategy when they do not understand. |? Skip or ignore meanings of unfamiliar but crucial words.

| |? Use semantic, syntactic, and graphophonic cues to construct |? Do not integrate text with prior knowledge. | |meanings of unfamiliar words. |? Read without reflecting on meaning or text organization | |? Synthesize during reading. | | |? Ask questions. | | |? Talk to themselves during reading. | | |3. After Reading, Strategic Readers … |Poor Readers … | |? Decide if they have achieved their goals for reading. |? Do not know what they have read. | |? Evaluate their understanding of what was read. |? Do not follow reading with comprehension self-check. | |? Summarize the major ideas.

|? Rely exclusively on the author’s words. | |? Seek additional information from outside sources. |? Do not go beyond a surface examination of the text. | |? Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant ideas. |? Apply no conscious strategies to help them remember. | |? Paraphrase the text what they have learned. | | |? Reflect on and personalize the text. | | |? Critically examine the text. | | |? Integrate new understandings and prior knowledge. | | |? Use study strategies to retain new knowledge. | | II. 4. Some Methods for Teaching Reading Strategies Reading Strategies (n.d. ) separates reading lesson into three stages and has some ideas about activities for each stage.

II. 4. 1. Before Reading activities should emphasize methods of merging reader, text, and content –enabling students to set appropriate reading purposes, recall related prior knowledge, preview and predict what the text will be about, and select reading methods to suit their purposes and the text. Included in these considerations may be readers’ decisions to expand their background knowledge through related discussion, exploration of key concepts, or related reading. II. 4. 2.

During Reading: activities should enable students to monitor their comprehension through a variety of strategies and experience and acquire diverse fix-up strategies to improve their understanding where necessary. II. 4. 3. After Reading: activities should teach students to review their understanding of text, relate new ideas to their background knowledge, revisit the text to clarify and extend meanings, make responsible interpretations and criticisms of ideas from the text, revise their thinking, apply the information to other texts and disciplines, and remember crucial learning for future application.

II. 5. Some Techniques for Teaching Reading Strategies Reading Strategies (n. d. ) also gives some techniques to teach reading strategies II. 5. 1. Some Techniques for Teaching Before-Reading Strategies Before reading, strategic readers: * Preview the text by looking at the title, the pictures, and the print in order to evoke relevant thoughts and memories. * Build background by activating appropriate prior knowledge through self –questioning about what they already know about the topic (or story), the vocabulary, and the form in which the topic (or story) is presented.

* Set purposes for reading by asking questions about what they want to learn during the reading process. II. 5. 2. Some Techniques for Teaching During-Reading Strategies During reading, strategic readers: * Check understanding of the text by paraphrasing the author’s words. * Monitor comprehension and use fix-up strategies: use the cueing systems to figure out unknown words and imaging, imagining, inferencing, and predicting. * Integrate new concepts with existing knowledge: continually revise purpose for reading. II. 5. 3. Some Techniques for Teaching After-Reading Strategies.

After reading, strategic readers: * Summarize what they have read by retelling the plot of the story or the main idea of the text. * Interpret and evaluate the ideas contained in the text. * Make applications of the ideas in the text to unique situations, extending the ideas to broader perspectives. * Use study strategies for note taking, locating, and remembering to improve content – area learning. II. 6. Kinds of Strategy Before students begin their next reading assignment, identify their purpose for reading. According to the reader’s different purposes, he or she will choose the appropriate reading style.

Therefore, there are a variety of strategies. II. 6. 1. Study Reading The Study Reading is used when the readers intend to read difficult material at a high level of comprehension. This reading style says that because of the material at a high level of comprehension the readers should read the material more than once and sometimes reading the material aloud also improves their comprehension. (Becoming a Flexible Reader, n. d. ) II. 6. 2. Skimming When the reader’s purpose is to quickly obtain a general idea about the reading material, he or she is suggested to use skimming style.

This strategy is extremely useful if the readers want to read a large amount of material in a short amount of time by two ways: identify the main ideas and ignore the details. (Becoming a Flexible Reader, n. d. ) II. 6. 3. Scanning Contrastively, the scanning style is used when their purpose is to quickly locate a specific piece of information within reading material. To scan, the readers mostly focus on a list of names, words, numbers, short statements, and sometimes even in a paragraph. (Becoming a Flexible Reader, n. d. ) II. 6. 4. SQRW.

According to A Strategies for Reading Textbooks (n. d. ), it divides strategies into four-steps, called SQRW. Each letter stands for one step in the strategy. Using SQRW will help readers to understand what they read and to prepare a written record of what they learned. The written record will be valuable when readers have to participate in a class discussion and again when they study for a test. Read to learn what to do for each step in SQRW. ( Survey This strategy brings to mind what the readers already know about the topic of a chapter and prepares them for learning more.

The readers do survey by reading the title, introduction, headings, and the summary or conclusion or they will examine all visuals such as pictures, tables, maps, and/or graphs and read the caption. By survey, the readers quickly learn what the chapter is about. ( Question Questions give the readers a purpose for reading and help them stay focused on the reading assignment. To form questions, the readers base on a heading and use the words who, what, when, where, why, or how. When a heading contains more than one idea, form a question for each idea.

Do not form questions for the Introduction, Summary, or Conclusion. ( Read Read the information that follows each heading to find the answer to each question readers formed. They may change a question or turn it into several questions to be answered. Readers need to stay focused and flexible so they can gather as much information as they need to answer each question. ( Write Write each question and its answer in your notebook. Reread each of your written answers to be sure each answer is legible and contains all the important information needed to answer the question.

CHAPTER III: APPLICATION III. 1. For Students Here are some suggestions for students to apply before, during and after-reading in order to become strategic readers. There are two things that students need to prepare before they read. First of all, it is the reading environment. Students had better to choose a quiet place which is far away from making noise. They would be distract by it and cannot concentrate well on what they read. Moreover, a place gives them an attitude to be ready to read. Besides the place, readers also pay attention to have small things as pen or paper in hand.

These things help them take note immediately what they read on the text when the ideas come out in the mind before they quickly disappear. Before reading, firstly it is necessary for English Second Language students to set a goal for reading. This activity will keep them focus on what they read and prevent them from wandering around the text. Secondly, they should activate prior knowledge. It means that students brainstorm what they already know about the topic. Combination between prior knowledge and new text help them understand more about the topic. Last but not least, according to their purposes, they choose suitable methods for reading.

Appropriate strategies help them read and achieve their goals quickly. While reading is the stage which students apply all their known strategies to read quickly but effectively. For example, strategic readers do not read the text from the beginning to the end; instead they skim it quickly to have an overview or to get main ideas about what they are going to read.

It means that those students would read the introduction or every first line of each paragraph before going to read the whole passage. Next, when students read in detail, they should underline the information which they feel interested in and take notes or highlight for easy to review important points later.

In addition, it is important for students to remember to use what their background knowledge and their brainstorming about the text in before reading and see whether the old information fits the text, whether their prediction is correct or need changing. Moreover, if they have any difficulties with reading the text, slow down their reading speed and reread the information with more care. In case, it is too difficult to understand, highlight it for going back later, then skip it and move forward.

Finally, college students are often required to read a lot with difficult vocabulary, so they should break down the assignment into many small sections, for example, ten pages for each reading times and manage to finish reading these sections instead of the whole. This strategy gives students more concentrated on what they read and prevents them from getting frustrated and disappointed. It is not simply to finish the reading task, learners should go beyond. And after reading is a stage for them to do so. First of all, students need to draw a conclusion.

They turn back and think about what predictions they made before and during reading by reviewing the text. Also, they had better look back to consider how the information read related to their background knowledge and decide whether they achieve their goal. Secondly, students should take notes what they have read by writing a summary. This summary contains the main ideas, the important information or simply just a list of ideas getting from the reading. This activity is very helpful for the readers to maintain new knowledge for later use. Lastly, this stage also gives students a chance to discuss what they do not understand about the text.

Students will mark anything that makes them confused and bring it to class and talk with their friends in order to clarify it. III. 2. For the Reading Teachers It takes a long time for students to become strategic readers and reading teachers play an important role in helping their students read quickly but effectively. Therefore, teachers are suggested to take these considerations.

First of all, teachers themselves need to have a full awareness of great benefits which strategies could bring to their students, then the introduction of strategies, their practice, and their uses should be part of every reading lesson because a strategy can be only applied well when teachers frequently explain, model it carefully, then give them enough opportunities to practice.

However, for any approach to strategy development, teachers should remember to introduce only a few strategies at a time until students feel confident to use the strategies. And in each reading lesson, separate application of each strategy does not give a lot of help, so teachers should encourage students to combine some strategies together to get the best results. Moreover, teachers should be well-prepared the lesson beforehand.

The aim of this preparation is to figure out which strategies are used in the lesson, then the teachers will carefully prepare suitable activities for each stage of a reading lesson. For example, in before-reading stage, teachers give activities such as True/ False Prediction, Brainstorming to help students have some general ideas about what they are going to read. For while-reading stage, teachers use Answer the Questions, Choose the Main Ideas to check their comprehension. For after-reading stage, the activities could be Summary, Discussion or Retelling what they have read.

Additionally, when reading process takes place, reading teachers monitor the students’ expertise and independent application of the strategies. If there are many students feeling unsure about using the strategies, teachers stop their work, reintroduce and give them more practice. Finally after every reading times, teachers ask students to record their ability in applying strategies to assess their own growth. CHAPTER IV: CONCLUSION During teaching process, most of reading teachers give more time and emphasis on testing reading comprehension than teaching readers how to comprehend.

Therefore, this small research has been done to offer an overview of different strategies to reading and application for practice. All of strategies can be brought into play in an efficient way in the teaching and acquiring reading skill. Simultaneously, it helps both teachers and students recognize the significant advantages of mastering reading strategies. With careful discussion about most of strategies used in three main reading stages: before, during and after reading, hopefully this research is a source of reference for reading teachers and students.


A Strategies for Reading Textbooks, (n. d. ). Retrieved December 3rd, 2010 from http://www. how-to-study. com/study-skills/en/studying/40/a-strategy-for-reading-textbooks/ Anderson, N. J. (1991). Individual Differences in Strategy Use in Second Language Reading and Testing. Modern Language Journal, 75: 460-472. Becoming a Flexible Reader, (n. d. ). Retrieved December 3rd, 2010 from http://www. how-to-study. com/study-skills/en/studying/33/becoming-a-flexible-reader/ Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles- An interactive approach to language pedagogy. (2nd ed. ).

NY: Longman, pp 384-387. Dr. Kathleen King, (n. d. ). Reading Strategies, Lecture from University. Retrieved December 14th, 2010 from http://www. isu. edu/~kingkath/readstrt. html Grabe, W. , Stoller, F. L. (2001). Reading for Academic Purpose: Guidelines for the ESL/ EFL Teacher, In Celce-Murcia, M. (Ed. ), Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. (3rd ed). Boston: Heinle, pp. 187-204. Hawkins, B. , (2001). Teaching Children to Read in a Second Language. In Celce-Murcia, M. (Ed. ), Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. (2rd ed). Boston: Heinle.

McNamara, Danielle S. (2009). The importance of teaching reading strategies, The Perspectives on Language and Literacy. Retrieved December 14th, 2010 from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_7694/is_200904/ai_n32423755 Nunan, D. (Ed. ) (2003). Practical English Language Teaching. Singapore: McGraw Hill. Oxford, R. L. (2003). Language Learning Styles and Strategies. Retrieved February 28, 2008, from web. ntpu. edu. tw/~language/workshop/read2. pdf Reading Strategies, (n. d. ). Retrieved December 10th, 2010 from http://98. 130. 215. 11/articles/6%20Strategic%20Reading. pdf.

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