The 7 Keys
Sounding out or decoding words is part of the reading puzzle but falls short of real reading. If children don’t understand what they read, they’re not really reading. Good readers use the following 7 keys to unlock meaning:
- Create mental images- Good readers create a wide range of visual, auditory, and other sensory images asthey read.
- Use background knowledge- Good readers use their relevant prior knowledge before, during, and after reading to enhance their understanding of what they’re reading.
- Ask questions- Good readers generate questions before,during, and after reading to clarify meaning, make predictions, and focus their attention on what’s important.
- Make inferences- Good readers use their prior knowledge and information from what they read to make predictions, seek answers to questions, draw conclusions, and create interpretations that deepen their understanding of the text.
- Determine the most important ideas or themes- Good readers identify key ideas or themes as they read, and they can distinguish between important and unimportant information.
- Synthesize information- Good readers track theirthinking as it evolves during reading, to get the overall meaning.
- Use “fix-up” strategies- Good readers are aware of when they understand and when they don’t. If they have trouble understanding specific words, phrases, or longer passages, they use a wide range of problem –solving strategies to “fix-it”.