Metacognition: Thinking About How You Think

Good readers have developed good habits when they read.  We call these habits strategies.  Strategies help readers understand, connect to, and determine the importance of what they are reading. Strategies create a plan of attack.  Then readers can solve any reading problems themselves.  Strategies help readers realize HOW they are thinking so that they can think more deeply and more consciously.
Your child may be using some or all of these strategies already. They just may not know it.  However, as they learn to read more complicated materials, they will need to use these strategies purposefully.   Mindful practice of the strategies will get them there. 

The Reading Strategies

Make Connections:
         Text to Self (similar events in your life)
         Text to Text (books, movies, T.V., etc.)
         Text to Life (real world events
         Ask Yourself:
               What do I already know about this?
               Has anything similar ever happened to me?
               How would I feel if this happened to me?
               Can I relate to the characters?

Ask Questions: Asking questions helps keep you focused on the text. If your mind wanders, you will not understand. Then you will be bored.
            What don’t you get?
            What do you get?
            What words don’t you understand?
            What other questions do you have?
            What do you wonder about as you read?
If you run into problems, things you just don’t understand, then you can check yourself with a question.

Determine Importance
: Anything you read contains a lot of information. You cannot remember everything.  By deciding what is important, you don’t have to remember everything.  You can prioritize the information you need in order to understand.
          Pick and choose which details are the most important to remember.
          Think about what a teacher might ask on a test.
          Think about what the author hints might be important later on.

Infer and Predict:  Good readers are like detectives.  They use clues to determine what is happening in a story.  This is called INFERENCE.  Good readers also make educated guesses about what may happen later in the story.   They use the author’s hints to PREDICT what will most likely occur.
          Ask Yourself:
          What isn’t stated that I have figured out?
          What do I predict will happen?
          Why do I think so?

Visualize: The author's job is to paint pictures in the reader's mind. The reader's job is to visualize what the author describes. Picture in your mind the images the author creates with his/her words. Pay close attention to sensory details. For example, if you were there, what would you SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, TOUCH, FEEL?

Synthesize: Synthesize is a fancy way of saying that you must bring everything together in the end. In other words, what is the meaning of what you are reading?
          Ask Yourself:
               What does it all mean?
               What's the big idea?
               Are there questions still left unanswered?
               What are the lessons I should learn?
              What do I think about this book?