Enhancing Reading Comprehension: Strategic Approaches to Complex Texts

Presentation for CARES Session for M1s
Dr. Troy Hicks

In order to fully comprehend what we read, it is not enough to simply highlight words on the page or make marginal notes. Instead, we must actively engage with the text and recognize that strategies for metacognition -- for thinking about our own thinking -- must be employed. In this session, we will examine a number of strategies for engaging deeply with complex texts such as the elaborating on a definition, completing a cause and effect organizer, and developing a matrix for comparing and contrasting features of different phenomenon. Additionally, we will consider how writing, even a few sentences or a paragraph, can help with retention. Students will leave with a variety of practical strategies for enhancing their comprehension of complex texts.

Some strategies for approaching complex texts from TeachThought
Questions to interrogate the text from "50 Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think"

  • 39. What’s the purpose for this experiment or argument?
  • 40. Would you elaborate on the purpose of this?
  • 41. What issues or problems do you see here?
  • 42. What evidence or data are given that help make this worthwhile?
  • 43. What are some of the complexities we should consider?
  • 44. What concepts help organize this data, these experiences?
Questions to connect to previous knowledge from "15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas"
  • 1. Which parts of this are new to me, and which parts do I recognize?
  • 2. How does this connect with what I already know? What’s the “fit”?
  • 3. What stands out to me?
  • 9. How might others use information like this in the “real world”?
Actions to take before, during, and after the reading process from "25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area"
  • 6. Summarize
  • 11. Use Graphic Organizers
  • 12. Evaluate Understanding
  • 13. Question the Text
  • 16. Paraphrase
  • 19. Prioritize Information

Questions we generated:
  • Travel and connect to real life -- climbing, air, hiking (patient)
  • We know some physiological changes
  • Knowing some of the ways that the physiology presents itself
  • In the context of what you already know and prevention
  • What's the purpose -- reading the discussion part first to see what is concluded and why

Some technologies that can help us approach complex texts