What Good Readers Do:

Guest Post by Julie Niles Petersen:

Fresh out of the master’s program in reading, I created a list of things good readers do. The list was to be used with my students in my new reading specialist position. This list included:

  1. Preview the text.
  2. Activate your background knowledge.
  3. Set a purpose for reading. (What do you want to find out? What do you want to learn? What do you want to do?)
  4. Make predictions as you read and modify them when necessary.
  5. When you run across unfamiliar vocabulary words, try to figure out what they mean by using context clues, looking them up in a dictionary, or asking someone else what they mean.
  6. Monitor your comprehension. As you read, make sure you ask yourself if what you are reading is making sense. If it is not making sense, use one or more comprehension strategies to try to make it make sense.
  7. THINK while you read! Don’t just read the words and expect to understand.
  8. Make inferences and then, as you read further, retain them, modify them, or reject them based on additional textual information. Good inferences combine our personal experiences with textual clues. They are supported by the text and consistent with our experiences. (What’s your line of reasoning?)
  9. Make evaluations–especially about what characters do.
  10. Visualize (or act it out).
  11. Draw a picture.
  12. Try reading it aloud.
  13. Reread or read ahead.
  14. Summarize what you read in your own words.
  15. Use study guides when available.
  16. Answer questions.
  17. Ask questions.
  18. WONDER
  19. Read with good fluency.
  20. Know that some answers are found (1) from just the text, (2) from just your head, and (3) by combining information from the text with information in your head.
  21. Read the titles, headings, and captions.
  22. Analyze figures, charts, and maps.
  23. Connect what you read to personal experiences; other texts–including movies, cartoons, TV shows, and songs; and to the world in general.
  24. Determine the most import ideas.
  25. Think about cause and effect. (What caused this to happen?)
  26. Think about the mood of the passage. (Is it happy, sad, scary, intense, dramatic, etc.?)
  27. Think about the author’s purposes for writing the passage.
  28. Think about the time the story takes place and connect it to your background knowledge of that time period.
  29. READ A LOT!!!!!!
  30. Discuss what you have read with someone else who has read the text, too.
  31. Write about what you read. Include your “Ah has” and connections.

Now reading this list, you might be thinking, “That is some list!!!” which it is. It’s a great list of things good readers do while they are reading to help them understand. However, it is loaded with jargon that struggling readers often do not understand, isn’t it? That’s what I thought, too. So I decided to think up some kind of mantra that would help struggling readers. This is what I came up with:

You get out of reading what you put into it. Good readers do MORE than just read the words. Good readers think, wonder, reflect, and connect while they read.”

Julie Niles Petersen is a Reading Specialist and blogs about literacy at www.TWRCtank.com .

Related Posts:

7 Comments + Add Comment

  • Great list for students to use as they read. Do you hand this out to them or post it for ideas?

  • Hi Koreen,

    I’m so sorry to get back to you so late on this. I originally wrote this list thinking I would hand it to my struggling readers and review it on a daily basis. After giving it much thought and realizing how little they understood each item, I felt handing it to them would not be very beneficial, so I did not. I posted it, but did not refer to it as often as I originally planned. I just felt there was too much jargon and I really wanted them to understand the essentials of what good readers do, so I narrowed it down to what I felt were the most important items and went from there. To find out more, see the bottom of this post I originally wrote in April: http://twrctank.com/2010/04/07/that-is-some-list/



  • [...] to write guest posts. Maggie Cary from ClassroomTalk published my first one. You can find it here, “What Good Readers Do.” Actually, it is a shortened version of a post I wrote on April 7, 2010, “That Is Some [...]

  • Great list! Now can you just make me a powerpoint and book mark to go with the list? Hehehe! Seriously, though, I would use it. LOL

  • Funny story about ABK. I was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone again. Yes, again. And I got to the part about the Christmas feast and exploding crackers. Well, the first time I read it I thought, ‘Well that’s weird, exploding crackers(food) with treats inside?! Well, ok, I guess it’s magic.’ And I totally didn’t get it. But this year, I have a student from England in my class, and she brought in crackers (exploding paper things with treats inside), and I finally got that whole part of the story. I had an AHA moment. It was good because it reminded me of how important it was to activate background knowledge before you read a story.

  • this was helpful.

  • [...] enjoying their books, but whether or not they are using all of the mental tools necessary to be good readers. Sold changed the way I look at young adult literature and what should and shouldn’t be apart [...]

Leave a comment

Reddit button Delicious button Digg button Stumbleupon button