How do you teach kids to skim a passage?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by waterfall, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jan 15, 2013

    I teach an after school tutoring group for our "cusp" kids on testing skills. The kids have FINALLY started going back in the passage to get the answers at a pretty successful level. The problem is they are reading the passage line by line until they find it. Obviously this is going to exhaust them quickly and most of them don't read fast enough to make it through the state test at that pace. I was trying to explain how to skim/scan today and I felt like I wasn't doing a very good job.

    We have talked about reading the questions first and underlining where you see that information when you are reading, but I honestly don't think this is something they understand without my help. They're too busy trying to understand the passage to think about what they read in a question or realize the information is there. We only have about 5 weeks until testing. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Have them read the questions before reading the passage. Then as they read the passage, they can underline or circle anything that might help them with the questions. When they go back to skim, the highlighted parts will stand out.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    It is okay to let them read the passage first and then read the questions. If this is what works for them, I would teach them how to read and mark up a question. Have the students circle key words in the question that they would be able to skim from in the passage.
     
  5. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Jan 16, 2013

    One of the strategies that we're focusing on right now is reading the first or first and last sentences of paragraphs to figure out if the paragraph may contain the needed information. We're doing it in 6th grade, but it may work in 3rd.
     
  6. bubbles

    bubbles Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2013

    We have text "scavenger hunts" in which they have to find a certain word in the passage. I teach them to point to around the middle of the line and use their eyes to quickly scan the line for the word. If they don't see the word after 2-3 seconds, go to the next line. We practice this whole class using a timer so they can see what it looks like. Some kids get it fairly quickly, while others need lots and lots and lots of practice with being able to "see" the word without reading all of the words.

    When we have extra time I'll randomly have them open to a page in their textbook, a worksheet we've been doing, or project an article on the board. I give students a word or phrase to find, and they see how fast they can locate it. As we do this, we talk about why it's important and how it can be useful (not every time, but enough to keep it in their minds).

    As the school year goes on, rather than having them find a word I'll ask a question, and see who can locate the answer to the question in the passage the quickest using keywords as the baseline. I've found that the students really enjoy this "game" and beg to do it at least once a week. I've also found when we gear up for test-prep time, the kids are much, much quicker at finding the text evidence to support their answers than when I first started teaching.

    Good luck!
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 19, 2013

    That's grand, bubbles! I hope and trust that you're also conveying this as a useful reading skill that happens to have application to test taking, rather than the other way around.
     
  8. bubbles

    bubbles Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2013

    Yes TeacherGroupie, we talk about all sorts of uses not just "test-taking" ones.

    In the 3rd nine weeks we always do a huge research project, one whole group and one small group. They really learn and understand the value of skimming during this because they can (semi)-quickly scan an encyclopedia page, website, or book to see if it will be useful before reading the entire thing. Before I taught skimming, students would literally read an entire page or article with absolutely no merit and get extremely frustrated. Now they still sometimes get frustrated, but are better at finding useful sources :)
     

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