Sometimes I forget the basics when working on reading
with my boy. This method, from a 2010 Middle Years
handout, resembles KWL. The Check Understanding
step can be especially valuable for readers with autism
struggling with comprehension.
Textbook Super Sleuths
Like investigators on a case, good readers examine clues,
and fit pieces together. These steps can help your middle schooler
understand the material, connect with what she’s reading, and use the
information in textbooks.
Before starting, your child should identify what
the section is about. Checking the table of contents or end-of-
chapter questions can provide valuable clues. She can also
browse headings, diagrams, and illustrations. This will prepare her
for the type of reading she’ll be doing and help her zero in on key
After reading a sentence, paragraph, or chapter, your
youngster can ask, “Did this make sense?” If not, she should try
to pinpoint where she got lost and go back and reread the pages.
To shed light on the meaning, she also might find definitions for words
she doesn’t recognize, make a chart of the information, or write
a summary in her own words.
Put it in context
Once your middle grader is finished, she should think
about how the material fits with what she knows. For example,
how does the information build on another topic she has learned about?
What was the writer’s opinion, and does she agree with it?
Making connections will help her master the material so she can
discuss it in class and draw on it when doing homework.
Resources for Educators, a division of Aspen Publishers Inc.