Re-reading

Teaching strategies

Re-reading: building reading comprehension skills

Re-reading – reading a text for a second or third time (or more) in order to develop a better understanding.

Teacher aide shown during a class presentation.

We all know that reading something a second time is very effective. Re-reading is when a person reads a text for the second or third time (or even more if necessary). Students become more familiar and comfortable with a text with each reading (provided they have direction and are actively reading – not passively reading). Re-reading is an effective comprehension strategy for all ages, including both struggling and advanced readers. Just like watching a film for the second time, students are more likely to notice additional details, to make more connections, to have higher recall and to enjoy a higher level of understanding (the text ‘makes sense’). More challenging aspects of a text (such as intertwining themes) can become clearer with multiple exposures.

Re-reading is an effective comprehension strategy for all ages, including both struggling and advanced readers.

Re-reading techniques can be verbal or silent; individual, pair, group or whole-of-class; slow-, normal- or fast- paced; independent, guided or shared. One method is for the teacher to first read a passage to the class, followed by students reading the same passage silently, and finally the students read the passage aloud to each other. Re-reading activities should focus on short passages so students can more easily become familiar with the text. A primary school class might read a newspaper article of 200-300 words. A high school class might read a longer passage from a bigger text. Teachers often use re-reading as a revision activity and space these readings out over time. For example, a student might be required to read a chapter at home the night before an individual reading in class. The same passage is revisited a few weeks later.

Teachers often use re-reading as a revision activity and space these readings out over time.

Teachers who utilise this strategy regularly have students re-read a short text 2, 3 or 4 times in a single lesson. Each reading has a specific purpose and is followed by an activity such as a discussion, peer questioning or a short writing activity. A simple 60-minute repeated reading lesson structure for a year 4-10 English class may be as follows:

  • introduction and linking to previous knowledge (5 minutes)
  • discussion and questioning – predictions, cues, skimming, KWL charts (10 minutes)
  • first read for general understanding (5 minutes)
  • discussion – were predictions correct? Were there new words? What were the main points? What do we still not know? (5 minutes)
  • second reading (which may involve notes or underlining) (3 minutes)
  • complete graphic organiser (timeline, KWL etc. – volunteers to present to class or draw on board) (12 minutes)
  • third reading (2 minutes), add 3-4 details to your KWL (3 minutes)
  • rapid fire questioning activity (Bloom’s taxonomy, critical literacy, language development) (3 minutes)
  • writing-to-learn or pair activity (7 minutes, including instructions) or explicit language instruction (grammar, spelling, punctuation)
  • conclusion/review (metacognitive discussion – purpose of re-reading, real-life examples, what you learned from each reading, new words/punctuation/grammar/structure) (5 minutes).

About the author

Image of the managing director of ITAC.

ADAM GREEN

Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.

Source: Teaching Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners. Amazon #1 best seller in the category of Classroom Management.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to check his article for accuracy, information may be outdated, inaccurate or not relevant to you and your location/employer/contract. It is not intended as legal or professional advice. Users should seek expert advice such as by contacting the relevant education department, should make their own enquiries, and should not rely on any of the information provided.

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