Teaching Reading: Before, During & After Technique

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teachers can help students better understand and succeed in reading when they instruct before, during and after reading. This lesson will describe how to use this technique and provide examples for use in the classroom.

Teaching Reading

Mr. Jones has a variety of readers in his class. Some are strong readers and easily grasp new ideas and concepts. Others struggle with the basics, and still others hover somewhere in the middle. The good news is he understands how students learn to read and is up on his instructional practices. He uses a technique that doesn't limit reading instruction to one point but rather organizes his teaching into a framework with activities and teaching strategies before, during and after reading.

Along with his well-rounded literacy time, which includes word work in phonics, grammar, and spelling, Mr. Jones teaches his students important comprehension skills, those that help them understand what they read. By teaching before, during, and after reading he gives his students a chance to see him use a strategy before they try it, learn to use it on their own, and then talk about what happened afterwards. What does this look like? Let's see.

Before Reading

Mr. Jones always has a purpose for his instruction. When he plans his teaching lesson for reading, he wants to get student's ready to learn before they even begin to read. He also wants to:

  • Get students excited and motivated about their books and learning. For example, if he's teaching students to make mental images when reading, a comprehension technique, he'll teach a mini-lesson before sending students off to read that engages students in this process, allowing them to experience success and get excited about doing it again. He may read a fun new book while hiding the pictures, then ask students to draw what their mental images are, and later allow students to record their mental images when reading in the same way.
  • Make important connections, activate prior knowledge, and implant schema, or ideas and concepts students need to know before reading. If students will be reading about life cycles, for example, he will ask students what they know about how animals live and die, engaging the students in using what they know about the topic.
  • Set a purpose for reading, such as inferring, reading for content knowledge, or making mental images. All good readers have a reason to read, and Mr. Jones makes sure his students set out with a purpose in mind.
  • Preview text to make predictions and become familiar with text features. When reading nonfiction he may model how to take a walk with a book's text, turning pages before reading to see where charts, graphs and other useful information is found. When reading fiction he can take a picture walk and make predictions about what the plot may be. This way students are already familiar with content and have an idea about what is going to happen when they begin reading.

During Reading

Mr. Jones spends time with his students during reading at the guided reading table or hosting individual reading conferences. He scaffolds skills during reading, but also encourages students to use these when reading on their own. Strategies used are:

  • Monitor reading to better understand and fix problems if they arise. If a student is paying attention to their reading and thinking about their thinking, or being metacognitive, they'll notice if they read something that doesn't make sense and be able to reread or ask questions.
  • Use known comprehension strategies and those taught during the mini lesson. Students have learned to question, make predictions, visualize, infer, summarize, and make predictions. He encourages students to use their readers' notebooks, to recall these strategies and use them when reading.
  • Interact with the text by writing questions or new understanding on sticky notes, in notebooks, or on the text. When students write about their thoughts they become more aware of their thinking and are able to push deeper into comprehension.

After Reading

Reading time isn't over when the timer goes off in Mr. Jones's room. The bell indicates it's time for students to come back together and talk about what happened during reading time. He also asks students to talk about what they read when he meets with them in groups or individually. This way he teaches students that responding to reading is an important part of the learning process. During share time they:

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