One of the challenges of teaching students to use strategies for making meaning of a text is helping them synthesize a series strategies into a logical process for previewing, making meaning, summarizing and reacting to the author’s message or argument. We developed this Three Stages of the Good Reading guide as one option to help students practice the steps start-to-finish when they process a new piece of text for general meaning, clarifying confusion, activating schema, identify the author’s main ideas/arguments, etc.
Use of this guide requires some scaffolding through explicit instruction (mini-lessons in a workshop model, for example), but those lessons can follow students’ initial attempts at the process. Through this, teachers can collect student evidence to inform instruction. Once students are proficient in the process, and they can apply it to a variety of text types with increasing levels of complexity, these steps can be applied authentically to text or be more of an internal mental process. However, as it is initially taught and guided, this is a method intended to provide opportunities for students to make their thinking visible and gain much-needed feedback for growth.
The Three Stages of Good Reading process is not intended to replace disciplinary reading strategies where “content determines process,” in ELA, science, social studies, math, etc. This is an initial process to support general understanding of the text and can be used as the first-read in a close reading process in a content area followed by subsequent reading through the lens of the discipline.