Comprehension is the reason for reading.  We read to understand.  At Olson, students are taught to actively read for understanding using the following reading strategies:

Visualizing—expert readers make pictures in their minds while they read (mind movies)

Making Connections—while reading, expert readers constantly think about their own knowledge and experiences with what they are reading about

Making Inferences—expert readers combine what they know about the world with what they are reading to draw conclusions and make predictions

Questioning—expert readers create questions in their mind while reading and seek to answer their questions as they continue reading

Summarizing—expert readers construct meaning by continually reviewing new information as they come across it in the text

Monitoring Comprehension—expert readers constantly pay attention to whether or not they are understanding what they are reading.  If an expert reader finds they are not understanding, they have strategies to help themselves begin to understand again

Students need to learn to actively use strategies in the minds while they are reading. Learning to use these strategies is a process that should take place during all of the middle-school years.    Strategy use is what makes the difference between expert and struggling readers.  Since learning to use these strategies is so important, teachers at Olson teach students to use these strategies every day and in all content areas. 

How to support your student:

The most important factor in becoming an expert reader is spending time reading.  At Olson, all students are expected to read for at least 20 minutes at home each evening.  While your student it is reading, you can ask them about the strategies they are using in their minds as they read.  For example, you might ask them to describe the pictures they are making from the text.  Or, ask them what kind of connections they are making as they read.  In addition, you might describe your own pictures during reading or discuss connections or questions that come up in your mind as you are reading with your student.