7 reading comprehension strategies you must teach your students

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Being only literate isn’t enough. Instead, to achieve professional and academic success, it is essential that one also knows how to read. TEFL students are specifically required to develop the reading skills that will make it possible for them to comprehend English text and help them get what they need to deliver an appropriate response, whether by writing orally. This article covers the ten most essential reading strategies that will enable TEFL students understand text and read faster.

1. Previewing

This a skill that is essential, especially to enable TEFL students to get to know what a text is about. Some of the crucial elements that aid in previewing include titles, newspaper headlines, photos or images, and format or signal words. For instance, if an article contains words such as first, second, and third among others at the commencement of each paragraph or when a numbered list is present, it will enable the TEFL students to get the fact that the article lists the steps.

Exercise to help in previewing: Identify a newspaper article that has a great headline. Before you read the article, request that the students, based on the headline, tell you what they think the article is about.
reading boys

2. Visualizing

Studies have shown that visual learning is one of the most effective ways of enhancing reading, especially among TEFL learners, as seeing information helps incomprehension. It involves picturing the main character in one’s mind based on the given description. In visualizing, one should also consider elements such as imagining issues the news that an article describes. It includes visually organizing information, generally by using a graphic organizer or a mind map.

Exercise to help visualize: Give the TEFL students a text with some form of narrative to read. After they have read, you can ask then to record the images that popped in their mind as they read. For example, in a text about a war. Can they picture the soldiers fighting?

3. Summarizing

TEFL students must learn the skill of summarizing after they have read a text. The summary can be a full paragraph or a short oral summary. One of the essential skills in summarizing is getting the gist. Some of the crucial elements in summarizing are that one gets the idea and the main point that the story offers. It doesn’t have to retell everything in the story as it happened, but it should involve the TEFL students learning to give the information.

Exercises to help in summarizing. Inform the class to read a story. Then ask the class to summarize in a few sentences. Inform them that it should only contain the main points.

4. Asking and answering questions

Help the student to realize the issues that run in their mind on previewing the article. Questions such as the role played by the main character in solving a problem. The student should come up with questions in the text, questions that they would need answers, and pay attention to how they need them answered.

Exercises to help in asking and answering questions: Make the TEFL students read a news article with a narrative. After they have read, request them to come up with several questions, they think that the article can answer and read through the article again to find the answers.

5. Contextualizing

 It is essential that students can place the read content in context. They should be able to, for example, tell whether the article they have read is based on something that has happened anywhere else in the globe or just in a particular location, or is it the first time. Does the story’s main character go through anything that the student has ever experienced? Students should ask themselves such questions as they read through.

Exercise to help in contextualizing: For example, when reading an article about business in a country, the student should relate to the country’s business environment. What are the challenges that they go through, and how does the business environment of this country compare to your country

6. Skimming

 Scanning and skimming are considered to be skills of speed-reading as they aren’t used for intensive reading. However, they are vital skills that TEFL students should be aware of as it is not all the time that intensive reading is necessary. Usually, skimming entails running one’s eye over a text quickly to get the major ideas. It also permits the identification of the areas of a long text that one might want to read carefully. It is a skill that is specifically useful, especially for TEFL students who would like to specialize in business and who are being prepared to read documents and reports that are various pages long. By skimming the report, they can identify the main points and point out the essential points of interest.

Exercise to help in skimming: Give your TEFL students various English newspapers or magazines and give them some time like 10 minutes to skim through one. After they have skimmed, ask them the stories they are remembering.

7. Scanning

 This is another speed reading technique that makes it possible to search quickly for specific information. It is essential, especially when the students require to locate an address in a directory.

Exercise to help in scanning: To help the TEFL students sharpen their scanning skills, show them a slide about their jobs. And in groups give them some questions they can answer. They should then scan through the text to locate the information in the PowerPoint to find the information required to answer the questions.

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Final thoughts

In conclusion, reading fast is a skill that any English speaker should possess to ensure that they have fluency and proper delivery of information. Reading is an essential skill that is used daily. However, for TEFL students, reading fast can be challenging, especially when the students are in their early stages. It is thus essential for TEFL teachers to ensure that they utilize the right strategies ensuring that the students can read and, most importantly, do it fast. This article’s strategies will help ensure that the students achieve this.

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