Strategies for Reading Text

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As I sat down in the seat at my desk, I simply stared ahead blankly at the book I held in my hand, only half-heartedly noting that I was in a far off place in my mind, where I was thinking about everything but what I had to do, which was to open the book and start reading! I was in another dimension of thought; contemplating on what had taken place in my past about how I had approached books. I recalled how in high school all I ever did was scan to find the answers to the reading questions or the main idea, plot, setting, and characters; whatever I was going to need for the exam. I began to think; had this really helped me? What if this time I actually read the book assigned, Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen? Through learning about different techniques to understand what I am reading, I have been able to successfully read this book. My relationship with reading has changed throughout the completion of Shadow Country, by using five techniques that I have found to be beneficial to me, which are highlighting, questioning, creating a mental picture and background knowledge.

At the beginning of the book, when the prologue was assigned to read, I thought it would just be a quick few pages that weren’t very important. After skimming through the text and completing the last page of the prologue, I realized “do I even know what I have

just read?” It was like a whirlwind of information that has been sucked into fifteen pages and left me feeling confused and overwhelmed. The next day in class students brought up the idea of highlighting, so that night I thought I would give it a try. I sat down with my book and a highlighter in hand and began rereading the prologue and highlighting everything I thought was important or confusing, so then after I could go back and try to examine what I was stuck on. In a study done as part of the REAP, Highlighting: altering visual characteristics of a target vocabulary word such as color,...
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