The High 5 Reading Strategy is a simple and effective approach formulated to enhance the comprehensive abilities of students. By using this technique, students are able to understand the material and direct their attention to the details. It thus enhances students learning and helps them prepare for an essay or report submission or even for a test.
There are 5 separate strategies that together form the High 5 Reading Strategy.
1.Activating background knowledge
Research has shown that better comprehension occurs when students are engaged in activities that bridge their old knowledge with the new. For example, a simple question like “what do you know about … (a particular topic)” will stimulate students’ previous knowledge of that topic. This will help them connect the current reading to their already existing knowledge and make the new reading more stimulating and engaging. The strategy allows students to work their way up from an already existing schema, instead of starting a new one.
Encourage students to frame questions before and after reading to increase their comprehension. Each student should be able to reflect on three main questions, namely, a right now question, an analytical question, and a research question.
A ‘right now question’ focuses on the material presented. What is the essence of the material read? What are the facts that are being mentioned?
An ‘analytical question’ requires students to ponder over what they have learnt. What does the author want me to understand from this material?
A ‘research question’ encourages the students to look for information beyond what is in the text. This allows for more comprehensive active learning to occur.
3.Analyzing text structure
This requires students to learn how to analyze or comprehend the structure of a text. Students are taught to identify the pattern by which writers organize their material. This may be in the form of cause-effect pattern, problem-solution pattern, or a descriptive pattern like a list, web or a matrix pattern. Understanding the pattern in which the material is presented allows the students to comprehend the information better. It is important to teach all the patterns of a text structure to the students, as each structure is different and takes time to learn. They should also be taught to make use of subheadings, labels, captions, tables, graphs, etc. as these help students to understand the material better.
The fourth strategy stresses on the importance of visualizing the material. Students should be encouraged to form visual images in their head as they read the text, which will help in better comprehension. Research suggests that students should visualize them as structural images or diagrams instead of mere pictures, as pictures have a tendency to fade.
The last technique is to summarize the material read. Research has indicated that the ability to summarize enhances comprehension. Block and Pressley defined summarize as “the ability to delete irrelevant details, combine similar ideas, condense main ideas, and connect major themes into concise statements that capture the purpose of a reading for the reader.” A student making use of the other four strategies will find it easier to summarize the material. They can summarize the material in the form of diagrams, either visually or in writing.
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