Instruction for Strategic Reading

Students can learn to strategize through good instruction. Good instruction uses the principle of “scaffolding,” which involves supports that can be supplied and then gradually taken away. Scaffolding is removed (or “faded”) as students learn.

Guided silent reading is a structured way to scaffold reading comprehension. It offers explicit instruction to help students understand what they are reading. The guides in guided silent reading are scaffolds that adults use before, during, or after the student completes his or her reading.

Before students begin to read, teachers or parapros make sure the student has the vocabulary, background knowledge, and plan necessary to engage with the text. During reading, instructors monitor students to ensure they remain on-task and provide them with encouragement if necessary. The sequence ends with brief conferences that take place after the student reads. At these moments, students read sections of the text aloud to the teacher, answer some questions about the text, and set strategic goals for what to read next and when to read it.

Guided silent reading, then, is an example of how parapros can help students read strategically and improve their comprehension of texts through scaffolding.