Topic: How to improve reading comprehension with self-questioning

Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist wrote:

But, what questions will produce the best understanding of the text? Try these eight questions to boost your reading comprehension and retention.

1. What’s the big picture here? Constantly ask how each reading section relates to the main idea(s) of the chapter.

2. What’s the author going to say next? Stay one step ahead of the author by anticipating what will be said next.  Prediction significantly boosts reading comprehension. Check the outcomes of your predictions as you read.

3. Think about the “expert questions” that fit the subject about which you are reading. For example: History is big on compare and contrast, cause-effect and sequence related questions.  Science can ask classification, chemical and physical properties and literature might focus on theme, genre, character, and plot.

4. What questions does this information raise for me? Your questions may and should differ from the expert question as they are related to your own background knowledge and your interests.  Remember that some very good questions have more than one answer!

5. What information is important here? As you read, decide which information is important enough to include in your notes.

6. How can I paraphrase and summarize this information? Translate the author’s important words into your own.  Use as few words as possible without changing the meaning.  Do this at the end of each subtitle section in a textbook or at the end of the chapter in a novel.

7. How does this information fit with what I already know? Think about the “big picture” and how pieces of information fit together to improve reading comprehension.

8. Ask WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY questions as you read. Note introduction and description of characters, major plot changes, setting descriptions and changes, and reasons given to explain important ideas.

Re: How to improve reading comprehension with self-questioning

Interactive Notation System for Effective Reading and Thinking(INSERT)

Use the following strategy to monitor your thinking while reading.

Reflect on your reading, connect to prior knowledge, and insert one of four symbols as you think about your reading.

Confirm what you already knew: “I knew that.”
- Contradicts what you thought: “I thought differently.”
? Confuses you: “I don’t understand this.”
+ Something new: “I didn’t know that!”