[Series] Active Reading Skills #1: A Holistic Understanding of the Text

Using Digital Tools to Promote Literacy

It’s March into Literacy Month! To celebrate, we’re exploring what it means to be an active, engaged reader, and the literacy skills students need to develop active reading habits. To help you celebrate March into Literacy Month, we’re also highlighting free digital tools from the SRA FLEX Literacy personalized learning solution. Each one of these tools makes practicing a different active reading skill engaging and fun — just like literacy should be! This week, we’re starting with the basics of active reading skills: grasping a holistic understanding of a text.

Before we can dive into the many components of active reading, we have to start by emphasizing the importance of a student’s ability to read a text and come away with a basic understanding of that piece as a whole. During and after reading, students should be formulating an explanation of what that text is about, and how it’s functioning on a basic level. That explanation or understanding can essentially be broken down in three parts: the main idea of the text, general supporting details, and the general structure of the main idea and supporting details. From that understanding, students should be able to summarize a text using their own words, and use parts of the text to defend their claims about the main idea. They should also be comfortable when basic structure models present some variation, like finding multiple main ideas in the same passage.

Once students become active readers, their learning experience — in all subjects — will be transformed. But active reading is hard to explain to students, and can be difficult to teach. For some readers, identifying the main idea of a text, and then progressing to identify supporting details and structure, is abstract and overwhelming. So, to give readers at all levels the opportunity to develop active reading skills, consider using digital tools. This video series introduces students to active reading habits through fun and instructive cartoon characters. In these three videos, a detective guides readers through the process of gaining a holistic understanding of a text. Incorporate them into your literacy lesson plan for March into Literacy Month for a touch of digital learning!

Main Idea/Topic

Identify Main Idea and Supporting Details

Finding Multiple Main Ideas in the Same Passage

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