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Strategic readers actively construct meaning as they read, interacting with the text. They set
purposes for reading, select methods of accomplishing these purposes, monitor and repair their own comprehension as they read, and evaluate the completed task. A strategic reader constructs, examines, and extends meaning before, during, and after reading for a variety of texts.

"Teachers who understand that reading is a strategic process establish environments that provide opportunities for children to learn language and learn about language while they are using language for real purposes." (Halliday)

There are a number of differences between strategic readers and poor readers during all phases of the reading process.


How Do Strategic Readers Differ from Poor Readers?

1. Before Reading, Strategic Readers...   
  • Build up their own background knowledge about reading and the topic 
  • Set purposes for reading. 
  • Determine methods for reading, according to their purposes. 
Poor Readers...   
  • Start reading without thinking about the process of reading or the topic.
  • Do not know why they are reading but merely view the task as "ground to cover."
2. During Reading, Strategic Readers...  
  • Give their complete attention to the reading task
  • Check their own understanding constantly
  • Monitor their reading comprehension and do it so often that it becomes automatic
  • Stop to use a fix-up strategy when they do not understand
  • Use semantic, syntactic, and graphophonic cues to construct meanings of unfamiliar words
  • Synthesize during reading
  • Ask questions
  • Talk to themselves during reading
Poor Readers...   
  • Do not eliminate distractions from reading 
  • Do not know whether they understand 
  • Do not recognize when comprehension has broken down 
  • Seldom use fix-up strategies to improve comprehension 
  • Skip or ignore meanings of unfamiliar but crucial words 
  • Do not integrate text with prior knowledge 
  • Read without reflecting on meaning or text organization. 
3. After Reading, Strategic Readers...   
  • Decide if they have achieved their goals for reading
  • Evaluate their understanding of what was read
  • Summarize the major ideas
  • Seek additional information from outside sources
  • Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant ideas
  • Paraphrase the text what they have learned. 
  • Reflect on and personalize the text 
  • Critically examine the text 
  • Integrate new understandings and prior knowledge. 
  • Use study strategies to retain new knowledge. 
Poor Readers...   
  • Do not know what they have read 
  • Do not follow reading with comprehension self-check 
  • Rely exclusively on the author's words 
  • Do not go beyond a surface examination of the text. 
  • Apply no conscious strategies to help them remember