Note Making: Brain Exercise to Enhance Reading Comprehension Skills

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

Reading is a fundamental task and too many students are not demonstrating mastery of reading comprehension and inference skills. There are many books and tools teachers have relied on as they seek to provide the best reading comprehension strategies. The key to becoming a critical reader and enhancing the reading comprehension and inference skills is actually writing. Embedding writing as a critical reading tool can provide the magic most teachers seek when trying to enhance reading comprehension and inference. Note-making provides the reader with an opportunity to organize information and demonstrate the ability to evaluate various pieces of the literature. When students are provided a guide, the reader can better make sense of the text, increasing his or her ability to problem solve using prior knowledge and personal context.

One tool I have found to work extremely well to enhance student reading is a simple note-making guide. This tool works well for students while they read informational text, literature or while they are engaged in digital media. While students are engaged with informational text, they can curate key vocabulary, assess the main ideas of the text and generate the supporting details of the text. A note-making guide serves as a Swiss Army knife or plyometric exercise (allows muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible) for building strong reading comprehension, inference and vocabulary acquisition skills.

The goal of the note-making guide:

  • Enhance vocabulary acquisition skills
  • Find Main Ideas
  • Gather evidence/proof and details
  • Develop inference skills through interpretation of meaning
  • Develop 21st Century Skills (6 Pack)
  • Outline and develop formal persuasive essay

Download a sample of a note-making guide students can use in the classroom.

Students will be familiar with this concept from Facebook. They use note-making guides on Facebook on a daily basis. On a personal Facebook page a user will see the:

  1. Topic of page located at the top of the page
  2. Main ideas of the page located at the left column
  3. Supporting details of the page

Guest post by Randall G. Sampson, PhD, a former Technical Assistance Coach with KnowledgeWorks.