Reading and Literacy Links and Strategies
Keeping up with reading is important in maintaining and developing literacy. Authentic reading experiences are proven to increase literacy skills. At Shelton High School, all students take the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) three times a year. This test gives students a LEXILE number. For independent reading, students should select books that are between 100 LEXILEs below their level to 50 LEXILEs above their reading level. It is within this range that students can comprehend most efficiently and they can challenge themselves by reading books and texts just above their LEXILE scores. There are many resources available online that will help students pick books that are appropriate for their reading levels. We have provided a few of them for you below:
LEXILE-leveled reading passages online:
Online Reading Resources
Shelton High School has been focusing on promoting literacy across the content areas, and much is being done to help students become better readers and to help them make connections and comprehend what they are reading.
Online reading resources make it easy and convenient to help students at home. Here is a list of websites that offer reading tools, activities, and ideas to help you address any of your child’s needs while you promote reading.
AdLit.org, or All About Adolescent Literacy, supports parents and teachers of students in grades 4–12. Take a look at this site if you have older children, because it offers information on college readiness and awareness.
- K12 Reader
This site offers free reading instruction resources for teachers and parents. If you’re looking for practice materials for your child, you can find worksheets and detailed program supplements for reading, spelling, sight words, grammar, phonics, comprehension, writing, and more.
The International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English are a couple of the partners sponsoring ReadWriteThink, a website that offers resources for grades K–12. Under the “Parent & Afterschool Resources” tab, visit the podcast section to find book reviews for different age groups. You can also find links to the “Activities & Projects,” “Games & Tools,” “Tips & How-To’s,” and “Printouts” pages.
In the “Parents” section of Scholastic, look for resources under the “Books & Reading” tab. A new feature that stands out is the e-reader app, Storia.
This website offers nonfiction literacy and current events. You will find free, leveled news stories, primary sources and more, with standards-aligned assessments for each story.
- New York Times News for Secondary Education
This website offers practical activities and questions to help students navigate daily news and the media landscape, complete with daily lesson plans that help students develop analytical thinking skills and help increase comprehension.
- Reading Comprehension Connection
Online lessons to help improve reading comprehension and build vocabulary skills can be found on this website. Exercises feature contextual help for students and measurable results for reading and learning activities.
- Snappy Words
This site contains vocabulary lessons.
- Word Focus
Free vocabulary lessons and practice are available.
- Actively Learn
Actively Learn is an online library of thousands of texts and Common Core-aligned lessons that students can interact with in real-time.
There are seven reading strategies which have been scientifically proven to increase reading comprehension. These strategies are:
- Making predictions
- Making connections
- Identifying the main idea and important details
- Making inferences
- Identifying Text Structure
Making Inferences as a reading strategy:
- Making inferences requires you to use what you know already about a certain topic. Combine your experience with what you have learned and what you have read in order to come to some sort of conclusion.
- What you know + what the author has given you = inferring
- Connect new information to information you already know and personal experiences in order to figure out a meaning that is not stated directly in the text.
Using Visualizing as a reading strategy:
- Use pictures to help you visualize what the passage does and does not tell you.
- Find descriptive and sensory words and use them to form pictures in your mind of what you are reading.
- Draw conclusions after forming pictures in your mind about what you are reading.
- Visualize a sequence of events to help you understand what you are reading.
- Use visual aids, such as graphic organizers, to help you understand what you are reading.
Steps to take when finding the main idea and important details of a passage:
- Identify the topic: Ask, who or what is this about?
- Identify the main idea: Ask, what is the main thing the writer is saying about the topic?
- Identify important details: Ask, what details are needed to understand the main idea?
- Use the main idea and important details to summarize the passage or section of text in your head or on paper.
Using Questioning as a reading strategy:
- Goal-setting questions: Ask, what is my reason for reading this? For example, am I reading for information, am I reading to learn a process, am I reading for enjoyment, or am I reading because the teacher has told me to read?
- Text to text, or direct questions ask, what important details can I find in the text? Direct questions are specific questions in which the answer can be found directly stated in the text.
- Evaluative or between-the lines questions ask what decisions I can make about the facts and details in the text. These types of questions are more opinion based and the answer will make a comment or judgment about the text. These types of questions also ask why the author has made certain choices, such as why he or she has included certain information, or why the story is set in a certain place.
- Beyond the text questions ask what connections can be made to my life, the life of someone I know, or to the world or things that are happening in the world or that have happened in the past. These types of questions can be answered using information from the text, as well as information from my life or from things that are happening in the world.
When making connections, students can connect what they are reading to themselves, to other texts, movies, and music, and to world events, past and present.
Follow these steps for using text structure as a reading strategy:
- Use the following tips to identify different text structures. They are: problem and solution, description, sequence, cause and effect and compare and contrast.
- Look for key words that designate a type of text structure (signal words).
- Signal words for problem/solution: if/then, therefore, the problem is, the question is, one possible solution, one proposal
- Signal words for description: like, consists of, for example, in fact
- Signal words for sequence: first, then, since, next, once, before, after, when, finally, afterward
- Signal words for cause and effect: because, why, therefore, so, then, since, as a result
- Signal words for persuasive: In my opinion, I think, I believe
- Signal words for compare and contrast: like, same, similarly, both, different, however, unlike, instead, but
- Use graphic organizers, such as flow charts, idea webs, and Venn diagrams to identify the way a section of text is organized and to represent the content by fitting it into the organizer. A good website that contains graphic organizers can be found here: http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/
*Signal words are words that are used to signal a type of text structure.
Follow these steps to use making predictions as a reading strategy:
- Preview text features to get an idea of what you will be reading about. Text features include pictures, charts, bold print, table of contents, subtitles, glossary, index, captions, etc.
- Use what you already know to predict what will happen next.
- Use different skills to preview fiction and nonfiction texts.
- Check your predictions periodically. You can confirm or revise your prediction(s) based on what you have read.
- Elaborate on your prediction(s).
Whether reading a newspaper, magazine, nonfiction or fiction text, students will benefit from practicing strategies as they read to help retain and comprehend information.
**Some information from this section is take from the following:
Shanahan, Timothy, Ph.D. AMP Reading System. 2006, Globe Fearon. Parsippany, NJ.
The importance of vocabulary knowledge has long been recognized in the development of reading skills. Growth in reading comprehension means continuous growth in word knowledge; therefore, vocabulary is critically important in reading instruction.
When students come to words in their reading that they cannot understand, they can become frustrated and comprehension will break down. There are a number of things that students can do when they come to words that they do not know. They can:
- Look for root words that are in the word (little words that they do know).
- Look for parts of the word that they know, like prefixes and suffixes.
- Re-read the sentence and think about what other word would fit in context.
- Context clues can help you figure out the meaning of a word or phrase you don't know. These clues can be found in the words and sentences surrounding the unknown word or phrase. There are many kinds of context clues readers can look for when trying to figure out unfamiliar text.
- Try to sound out the word.
- Try to divide the word into syllables and then pronounce the syllables.
There are many helpful websites that parents and students can use to increase vocabulary and to practice vocabulary in and out of context. The following are a few of the more helpful websites:
This site allows students to create their own free vocabulary flashcards.
This resource contains games and great ideas for building vocabulary.
This is another website for great vocabulary games and tips to build vocabulary.
Fun vocabulary activities for high school students can be found on this site.
This site contains vocabulary strategies and articles.
Most importantly, the majority of vocabulary acquisition is going to occur through reading various types of texts on a regular basis. The more reading a student does, the more extensive his or her vocabulary is going to be.