Good readers subconsciously ask themselves this question as they read. Other readers need to learn to purposefully question themselves as they read…otherwise they’ll just read words and not enjoy or understand what they are reading. Yesterday I conferenced with Camila who was reading a “Clue” book. In the story, the characters were playing charades and acting out clues for one another. I asked her what one of the clues meant, and she turned pages back to show me Coronel Mustard with a candlestick. There was absolutely no connection between the two.
It turned out that since Camila didn’t know what charades was, she couldn’t figure out what was happening. Worse that that, she didn’t stop to ask herself if what she was reading made any sense. She kind of floated along on a cloud of words that had no substance.
Some students need their memory jogged, and I often have them put a sticky note in their book to remind themselves to ask the single most important question to reading comprehension. Some students need to start with every paragraph, others with every page, and some at the chapter level. If they are at the paragraph level, I try to work with them as often as possible to get them into the habit of asking, thinking about their thinking, and thoughtfully responding.
What are your ideas for having students think about their thinking while they read?