About Education: Essay #4, SQ3R Expanded for Reluctant Readers

As I had written in my post of February 6, 2012, SQ3R is a read-study method of reading textbooks which not only will enhance the reading skills of students, but also will improve their short-term and long-term memory of the content that they have read.
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Some students are significantly behind other students in their reading skills (more than two grade levels behind) so that they may be functioning on Frustration Level when they attempt to read their grade level textbooks. Unless special reading techniques are used with these reluctant readers, they will become too frustrated to even attempt to read their textbooks. Often, these are the students who may develop discipline problems or self-esteem issues. They are, also, the students who often drop out of school. Below are some additional reading techniques that teachers and parents may use with these reluctant readers to help their reading skills increase, while these students are practicing SQ3R (See Educational Essay #3.)
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For reluctant readers, teachers or parents should:
(1) Teach NEW VOCABULARY within the chapter, prior to reading and while reading.
(2) Utilize SQ3R TECHNIQUES (interact with text; see its skeletal outline), while reading.
(3) Look for and underline (if appropriate) KEY WORDS in the text, while reading.
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A little more, about points (1) and (3), is given below:
(More on point (2), or SQ3R techniques, can be found within my Educational Essay #3, posted on February 6, 2012.)
(1) VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT. The teacher or parent should read through the chapter, before the student reads the chapter, and select words (or word phrases) that will be difficult for students to pronounce or comprehend. List those words. Teach the meanings of those words to the student, by teaching students how to use context clues (see below), and by teaching each word’s PREFIXES, ROOTS, SUFFIXES, as aids to each WORD’S MEANING. To gather a list of various prefixes, roots, and suffixes, browse through the SAT book section of any bookstore. Preview various SAT books. Most will have a comprehensive listing of prefixes, roots, and suffixes in the middle of the book, or at the end. Choose the SAT book which you best understand and can work with.
 Note: New vocabulary words that are listed at the beginning of each chapter in the student’s textbook should also be taught using etymology of words, and their context clues.)
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Teach new vocabulary, especially when the student is actually reading the chapter, through the use of CONTEXT CLUES. If the student either cannot pronounce, or does not know the meaning of any word in the context of the chapter or passage as he reads, have the student read the words immediately before and after the unknown word, and encourage him to give his best guess about what the unknown word has to mean, using the overall meaning of the sentence or sentences surrounding the unknown word, as an aid. Actually, this is the better way to teach the meanings of unknown words, instead of having students simply look up meanings of unknown words in the dictionary, because students will have to work with the word with its full connotations in context. Research has shown that this method of teaching unknown words aids in memory recall of the word’s meaning, also.
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(3) KEY WORDS FROM CONTEXT. In the reading process, the eye does not fixate on every word, but on word phrases or word clusters, so that a given student may have 3 or 4 eye fixations per line, or less, depending upon how rapidly he or she can read with good comprehension of the material. If a student must read word by word to comprehend the material, he will be limited in his reading, especially because of time constraints upon him. Because reluctant readers (those readers who attempt to read material too difficult for them) do not understand the meanings of every word their eyes take in, they should be encouraged to identify the “key words” of a paragraph or passage. Understanding those key words or concepts – along with having the overview of the chapter in their minds through SQ3R –  should help reluctant readers to process the textbook material well enough to gather meaning from it. (If any student cannot follow the meaning of a chapter, even with these additional reading techniques, he or she MUST be placed in easier to read textbooks which can be read with understanding.)
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The best way to teach key words is by example. Here are a few sentences with the key words lifted, to help parents and teachers teach key word identification to the student.
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Example # 1: “There are two words for street in German: Strasse and Gasse.” Key Words: “street,” “German,” “Strasse,” “Gasse”
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Example #2: “The Feast of Banners is one of the traditional Japanese festivals.” Key Words: “Feast of Banners,” “Japanese,” “festivals”
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Example #3: “There are many old buildings still standing in Florence, but the oldest building in Florence is the Baptistery of San Giovanni.”
Key Words: “Oldest building,” “Florence,” “Baptistery San Giovanni”
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Example #4: “The nebulae we see among the stars, such as the ones we see in the Milky Way, are composed of gases and small amounts of dust.”
Key Words: “Nebulae,” “gases,” “dust”
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Example #5: “The calorie is a unit used in measuring quantities of energy in the form of heat.” Key Words: “calorie,” “unit,” “measuring,” “energy,” “heat”
Source: Scott/GCIRA, 1985
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A NOTE REGARDING PLEASURE READING. Books that a student might read for pleasure will automatically increase his or her level of reading skills because students will learn unknown words from context clues within the reading material. Encourage any kind of pleasure reading, i.e., from newspapers, magazines, comic books, paperback books, library books, if this reading material is not written on the student’s Frustration Level (See Cloze Test, Essay #2.) and if the student finds the reading materials’ topics interesting. The student’s reading skills will not improve, and may even regress, if the student persists in reading material on his or her Frustration Level.
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NOTE TO TEACHERS: Consider ordering textbook supplements for your department on three gradients of readability (or three different grade levels) for the same grade level of students, since often there is a wide range of reading functioning levels among students within each grade level. Most textbooks, of any grade level readability, will present the same themes in social studies and science, such as the Industrial Revolution, America’s colonies, plant life, the solar system, etc. (An instructional suggestion: Two days a week, subgroup students in your class who are reading below grade level with one another, and those who are at least on grade level with one another. Allow those students who are lower readers to read the same content theme which is in the grade level textbook, within the easier to read textbooks that you have ordered. Then, the other three days a week, when all students are being taught through the same grade level textbook, be sure to use the SQ3R Read-Study Method with their grade level text, especially as an instructional aid for those students who are reading below grade level so that they will be better able to function on the grade level text. SQ3R helps all students, from the lowest to the highest level, especially with memory and retention of content read.)
 For English courses, consider supplementing the grade level textbook with abridged versions of the same stories found in the regular grade level textbook. In addition, consider using classic comic books which depict these same stories. Monarch Notes, or some other summary guide of the textbook’s stories, could be made available to act as the “skeletal outline” of the stories, for students reading significantly below grade level.
This entry was posted in Context Clues, Reading for Pleasure, SQ3R, Uncategorized, Vocabulary Etymology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to About Education: Essay #4, SQ3R Expanded for Reluctant Readers

  1. asogwa darlington says:

    this pattern of reading can help anyone that wants to improve in his or her vocabulary.

    • Thank you for you comment, Asogwa. Your positive response to these reading techniques may encourage others to utilize them in order to improve their reading skills.
      My best regards to you, Mary Elizabeth

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