Reading Strategies

Reading Strategies

If you don't like reading, if you find reading difficult, or if you want to learn how to make your reading more efficient, then this page is for you!

Here you'll find a number of reading strategies that you can use to help yourself better understand the things you're reading and read more efficiently. We suggest trying out a bunch of these strategies to see which ones work best for you.

For more information you can also check out this guide from Think Literacy (created by the Ontario Government) for some more reading strategies!

Activate Prior Knowledge

  • Before reading
  • Think about what you already know about a topic before you start reading
  • Useful because it preps your brain for the information you're about to read, and it jogs your memory so that you can more easily understand the text

Make Predictions

  • Before reading, during reading
  • Make guesses about the text you're going to read (ex. what kind of text is it, is there anything I'm expecting to see, what do I think might happen, what do I think this text is about, etc.)
  • Useful because it keeps you interested in what you're reading, and it's a good way to check that you're understanding what you've read (you can see if it matches your predictions or not)

Use Text Features

  • Before reading, during reading, after reading
  • Look for graphic features of the text like images, graphs, fonts, bold text, italics, titles, headings, lists, numbers, etc.
  • Useful because these features usually make it easy to identify which information is more important and which information is less important. It can also help you connect ideas or facts within a text.

Visualize

  • During reading
  • Visualize what's happening in your imagination, like a movie playing in your mind
  • Useful because it helps you keep track of what's going on in the text, and it helps you make connections in the details of the text

Make Inferences

  • During reading, after reading
  • Find clues in the text to help you read between the lines and find an answer, understand what the text is implying, and to make a guess about what might happen
  • Useful because inferencing shows that you have a thorough understanding of the text and helps you think critically
  • Essential for answering Head questions

Make Connections

  • Before reading, during reading, after reading
  • Make connections between your own life, your own experiences, the outside world, and whatever it is you're reading
  • Useful because it helps you put what you're reading into real-world contexts, and you are more likely to understand what you're reading if you can connect it to similar situations or experiences
  • Essential for answering Heart questions

UsE Context to figure out new words/ideas

  • During reading, after reading
  • Use context to figure out words you don't understand (i.e. use the sentences around the word you don't understand to figure out what that word means)
  • Useful because you can understand a text more quickly and more easily if you don't have to stop and look up every word you don't know

Summarize

  • During reading, after reading
  • Sum up the main ideas of what you've read (imagine you were going to explain what you've read on a Post-it note instead of a whole sheet of paper)
  • Useful because it helps you keep track of the most important information, and it gives you a "big picture" understanding of the text