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One reading strategy that students use frequently is summarizing texts and passages. Summarizing means restating the most important points in the reading. When school becomes more about reading to learn than learning to read, students really need to learn how to identify the main ideas and then summarize them.

Teachers should model summarizing both as they read and at the end of a text. Summarizing as they read will help students improve their reading comprehension, because they are reflecting on the information presented in small chunks instead of plowing through an entire text or lesson. There are many reasons someone would summarize a text after they are finished, and teachers should integrate these real world activities into instruction.  For example, teachers could model summarizing a movie or TV show episode or an event (ballgame, party, etc) to someone else, then move onto summarizing text in a newspaper article or to write a book review.
Summarizing is an important reading strategy to master, especially when students begin reading to learn. Discover five easy ways to teach summarizing to upper elementary students.
Five Easy Ways to Teach Summarizing

Teaching non-fiction text structures effectively can seem overwhelming, but teachers can (and should!) break the reading strategy into manageable chunks. The main purpose of learning text structures is not to be able to identify them, but rather internalize them to improve reading comprehension. When students understand how a passage is organized, then they can better identify the key topics and main ideas in the passage.
Learn best practices for teaching nonfiction text structures to students. Blog post includes a variety of lesson ideas as well as mentor texts.
How to Teach the Types of Text Structures
Hands down, one of the most popular novels I used in my 5th and 6th grade classrooms was Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen. This mystery book was a favorite of both boys and girls, voracious readers and reluctant readers. If you can find the audio version of the book, that was an even bigger hit with my students! Read on to find out more about the book and how I used it to teach reading skills in my class.
Are you looking for a great mystery to read in your grade 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th grade class? Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief is the perfect novel for a read aloud or a literature circle. Learn how to use the book to teach character development and citing text evidence.
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Do your students focus on reading the text but skip the text features altogether? Many students do not understand the importance of text features in a reading passage. In a nonfiction article, text features are used to help the reader identify and find information within the text. Additionally, text features can be used to add information that is not found in the reading. By using text features, the reader can more easily identify and remember the main ideas in the material they are reading.
Learn how to teach and reinforce the importance of text features. Blog post includes a variety of teaching activities that could be used in a text features lesson..

Do you have students that read without stopping - even when it's clear that they misread the text? I know I have had many students like that over the years. (Even my own children have done it - and one is a strong reader!) Teaching students to ask questions while they read can help improve their reading comprehension. Asking questions will slow down your speed readers who don't really comprehend what they are reading, as well as students that read slowly but struggle with comprehension.

Many students think stopping to ask questions is a sign of poor reading ability. However, the best readers stop and think about what they read. It is important for teachers to explain this to their students. No one wants to feel stupid, so if  asking questions makes you feel dumb you just aren't going to do it.
Learn how to use the reading strategy Questioning to improve reading comprehension. Blog post breaks down questioning into before, during, and after reading questions.
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