Video Transcript

What are Fix-up Strategies?

By Tracy Rosen

Fix up strategies are the tools we use to fix up meaning if it breaks down while we're reading.

We all use them when we aren’t sure we understand what we are reading. it is a collection of strategies that help us to build meaning from both written and multimedia text, such as video.

Some examples of fix-up strategies are:

  • Re-reading what is unclear,
  • reading aloud so you can hear as well as see what you are reading,
  • Slowing down to make it easier to process as well as to make sure you aren’t missing any key words, and
  • Using vocabulary clues - like root words, prefixes and suffixes to figure out what a word might mean

You can also visualize or make a picture or movie in your head while you read, as well as look up the meaning of new words, whether in a dictionary or online (hey google, what does combustion mean?)

(text on screen from CHE-5061-2 Chemistry: Gases and Energy - Example of a learning situation, Keeping Warm

"To determine the pollution levels created, you must identify the products generated by the combustion fuels, research their impact on the environment and classify them." )

With media text you can use subtitles when watching video and, of course, pause and replay as often as you want when watching video.

Readers in difficulty dont instinctively use fix-up strategies and so they give up, thinking that they can’t read because they dont get it right away. Too often, they aren’t told that all readers use fix up strategies. It is part of the metacognitive process that monitors reading comprehension.

The use of fix-up strategies entails that a reader can identify when their understanding is breaking down. When we teach these strategies explicitly, we can help learners learn how to understand what they read and watch as well as help them with identifying when their understanding breaks down.

We can do this by demonstrating what we do to fix up our own understanding by reading to them and saying things like, let me re-read this to make sure I understand, let me think about this for a moment, I’m going to read ahead to see if what I think makes sense. Once we model different strategies, we can create checklists of different fix-up strategies with our students that they can use while they are reading.

By demonstrating our own fix up strategies, we are also modeling that the act of learning how to read never actually stops as we continue to encounter new words and expressions and work to make sense out of them.

(text on screen: "On n’a jamais fini d’apprendre à lire et à écrire" - Olivier Dezuttier)