The production controls of attention help readers construct meaning from the text they are processing. For example, being able to think ahead about a difficult passage (previewing), to judge how well you understand what you’re reading (self-monitoring), and to read at a speed that best fits the passage (pacing) are all monitored by our production controls. In essence, the production controls oversee a student’s progress towards the final goals of reading – understanding and increased knowledge.
Here are some strategies to enhance reading comprehension by focusing on previewing, self-monitoring, and pacing.
- Encourage students to preview reading passages, for example, have them write down or discuss what they think a passage is about before they read it.
- Use frequent questions to guide students in their construction of meaning from a passage, for example, cueing them to important themes, asking them to connect details in order to draw a conclusion, etc.
- Before students start reading, ask them to write down the reading comprehension strategy they will use, for example, they might choose to use guiding questions, to highlight or underline important details, to summarize after each paragraph, etc.
- Give students opportunities to practice using tools that promote and reinforce comprehension, e.g., have them fill in outlines, complete tables, and create semantic maps to organize and consolidate ideas as they read.
- Provide students with post-it notes to write down the gist or main point(s) of a passage. Suggest that they create notes at pre-determined intervals, or after reading a specified amount of text (e.g., after 3 paragraphs, after each page, etc.).
- Provide enough positive reinforcement (e.g., praise, rewards of free time) to keep students engaged in the reading task.
- Have students predict what a passage will be about, and then evaluate their predictions as they read. (This approach focuses on both previewing and self-monitoring skills.)
- Encourage students to self-monitor while they read, using guiding questions such as: “Can I pull out the main idea?”, “If I’m not sure I understand, have I re-read or asked for help?”, “Does this make sense in the context of what I’ve read so far?”, etc.
- Help students learn to pace, or control the tempo of their reading rate. Have them consider the amount of time they have to read a passage, and the amount of time they will need to fully comprehend what they read. Students may compare ‘easy’ passages with ‘difficult’ passages, noticing the “difficult” passage may require a slower pace.