Strategies: In the Context of Reading by Cromwell Artiaga

Strategies will lead to the preview of students’ understanding of the texts and can guide them in their motivation and confidence in preparing themselves in the reading process. This write-up on the other hand will point out some relative elements deemed necessary in the discussion of strategies, such as content objectives, planning, educational technology, procedures, strategical frameworks and literacy. As a result, this would hopefully make active readers possessed with motivation to be successful in reading.

These strategies  are aimed to make students be aware of their background knowledge and use them in their reading— as to make the necessary interpretive connection between what they have known and what they actually know at the moment (Alvermann and Phelps, 2005). Building prior knowledge on the other hand have the following strategies being singled out: the list-group-label strategy (students listing all the words they can think about that are associated with the topic); graphic organizers (diagramming their labeled groups of ideas); reading and listening (have the text read aloud in class); and writing (written expression of language). Furthermore, these strategies can activate prior knowledge, particularly through the use of pre-reading strategies like the use of anticipation guides (a series of statements that are relevant to both to what students already know and to the materials they are about to study); web quest problem-solving activity (internet based problem activity); and K-W-L (students identifying what they know about the topic, deciding what they want to find out, and discussing what they have learned).

What do students need to learn is the most fundamental question a teacher or any educator should know how to answer.  Thus along with strategies, content objectives must be defined in order to serve as bases of what students should know and be able to do. Relative to them is that these objectives support the school district and state content standards and learning outcomes (Lowell Public Schools, 2006). Consequently, they will emphasize language and literacy objectives as necessary to supplement content learning, that is— certain skills will be required such as basic computational skills, using a calculator, working with a protractor, and others. These presuppose the use of learning materials that are appropriate and relevant, fit to address student capabilities and needs. With all learning parameters set up, evaluation and assessment will ensure an effective learning experience has been taking place.

Meanwhile, these educational strategies can be further beefed up and elaborated by planning and educational technology. Planning is a must to ensure quality instructional implementation (ERIC, 1976). Technology has come a long way today. Information technology revolutionizes how information is being relayed. This is what teachers currently are at advantage over their predecessors. They can extract and look for information of varied scopes and levels at one setting and can do comparison of ideas— to teach only what can be significant and useful. The web offers a tremendous amount of resources, perhaps the extent of the mind is the limit. With the internet revolution, students are made aware of its value, and learning is no longer confined to the four walls of the classroom, but computers make possible avenues of knowledge long before thought to be impossible. Students thus become computer-literates and ready to browse for information for learning purposes.

Coupled with the approaches and strategies are procedures necessary to frame up the lessons. It is true that how technologically advanced a civilization is, if no procedures are adapted to the learning styles of individuals— then the learning process is not fully enjoyed in its potential (Carliner, 2002). Thus, structured frameworks for content literacy should be established to address a quality instructional implementation. There are several approaches as defined, namely— direct instruction, in which the teacher first states explicitly what is to be learned and models the skill or process;  instructional framework, which lends itself to conceptually complex topics that may evolve over longer periods  of instructions divided into three component: preparation, guidance, and independence; K-W-L, in which students identify what they know about a topic, then decide what they want to find out about it, and finally discussing what they have learned; directed reading and thinking activity, in which activation, prediction, reading the text and confirming and revising as major steps; and reciprocal teaching, which features instruction and practice of four comprehension strategies, and a special kind of cognitive apprenticeship.

The practice of these strategical frameworks makes possible effective instructional implementation, and ensures that the learning process is fully achieved. More than that, ways to finalize the educational assimilation is translated in variant forms of teaching and relative factors. One particular aspect is integrated language processes, which anchors the knowledge on the synthesis of the language arts skill processes. Interdisciplinary teaching on the other hand is expert functioning at a contributive level for the development of individuals’ potentials. Another one is thematic teaching, an approach that is interdisciplinary/integrated, organized around themes, with many hands-on activities and in-depth study of content (Innovative Teaching Concepts, 2006). All of these can be a significant representation of an integrative curriculum that emphasizes unity of purpose, choice, audience, resources and relevance— as the premier characteristic of unit planning.

Eventually the strategies utilized can facilitate the extraction of meanings from the author’s message. It is the task therefore of those, particularly students, to do the comprehension  (the act or action of grasping with the intellect [2007-2008]) which is being influenced by interrelated factors like: the text itself, reader’s prior knowledge, the strategies a reader can use, and the goals and interest of the reader (Alexander & Jetton, 2000 as cited in Alvermann and Phelps, 2005). Instructional support of teachers can make students learn reading best using more varied strategies. Teachers can help students learn comprehension specifically through the following: teaching students to be strategic, making text comprehensible, and emphasizing the role of fluency. Moreover, another strategy would be questions and questioning, which points out effective ways to carry it out— when to ask: the right time and the right place; what to ask: the relation between questions and answers; and how to ask: questioning strategies. Furthermore, common text structures are parts of reading to learn. Their importance lies within the type of text that ties ideas together. These structures are simple listing, sequence or time order, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and problem-solution. Evidences show that text structures affect the reading comprehension according to Goldman & Rakestraw (2000) as cited by Alvermann and Phelps (2005). Consequently, students can use the structures to infer into the author’s insights and messages, embedded in the texts.

Students’ literacy therefore are engaged in word-learning tasks, level of word knowledge, and readers’ resources for learning new words. Vocabularies are taught through being aware of selecting vocabulary criteria, emphasizing the following: relation to key concepts, relative importance, students’ ability and background, and potential for enhancing independent, which can be facilitated through in-class presentation, semantic mapping, definition map, semantic feature analysis, possible sentences, visual associations and selling words. Through teachers’ effort to increase vocabulary comes the development of students’ independence by using context clues, using familiar word parts, using dictionaries, vocabulary self-collection, and intensive approaches for struggling readers and English language learners. If teachers feel that there is a need to do more, they must reinforce vocabulary growth through varied activities like puzzles and games, categorizing activities, and analogies.

In summary, strategies to teach children to read can be further enhanced if content objectives of the lesson chosen are laid out and defined appropriately. This process however requires effective planning, which can incorporate educational technology as a unique way to implement instructional support. Further, necessary as any strategies are the procedures on how to go about strategical frameworks of instructions, which will ultimately enriched students’ literacy through the understanding what the author has in mind.


Alvermann, D.E. & Phelps, S.F. (2005). Content Reading and Literacy: Succeeding in      Today’s Diverse Classrooms, 4th Ed. Boston: Pearson Education Inc.

ERIC (1976), Reading in the Content Areas: Program Planning Design. Reading Effectiveness Program. Retrieved on May 12, 2008, from Education Resources and Information Center Website

Website:   _nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED201986&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED201986 Innovative Teaching Concepts (2006). What are Thematic Teaching and Curriculum Integration? Retrieved March 17, 2008, from Website   Website:

Lowell Public Schools (2006). Content Objectives.  Retrieved March 17, 2008, from Lowell Public Schools Website          Website:  2006-07/content-objectives

Merriam-Webster Inc.(2007-2008). Definition of Comprehension. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from Merriam-Webster Online Website:

Saul Carliner (2002). Information Developer’s Toolkit in Preparing Procedures. Retrieved on         May 12, 2008, from The Studio of Saul Carliner Content Development for the  Workplace Website Website: