The processing controls of attention help readers
manage information as they read. Every passage contains chunks
of information that must be taken in, analyzed for meaning, and
finally, combined with prior knowledge. Good readers process each
chunk of information in terms of its relevancy or irrelevancy
to the construction of the meaning of the text, carefully retaining
information that is central to comprehension.
Here are some strategies for enhancing reading
comprehension by focusing on processing during reading.
- Provide students with outlines to help focus
their attention on important information in a passage.
- Provide students with text in which some
words or ideas have been highlighted or underlined, as a model
for them to follow.
- Provide “jump-starts” by reading
the first part of a text to students, or by reading it with
them. Point out the important information in the text you’ve
- Prioritize information that students should
be aware of (or attend to) in a certain passage. For example,
suggest that they first read for facts [names, dates], second,
read for important themes, etc.
- Have students read guiding questions before
reading the text, and encourage them to refer to these questions
while reading, as well.
- Introduce new vocabulary words, important
concepts, names, dates, etc. before students read a new text
- Help students develop their use of reading
comprehension strategies, such as summarizing after reading
and paraphrasing during reading.
- Provide opportunities for students
to pull out key points from readings related to their affinity
areas, or areas of interest.