Active Reading Strategies

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títuloActive Reading Strategies
fecha de publicación14.06.2015
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tipoDocumentos > Biología > Documentos
Active Reading Strategies

Good readers think while they read. Every so often they stop and check their understanding. They predict what might happen next. They question what they're reading. After they finish, they think about what they read. Each strategy below happens in a good reader's mind while he or she is reading.

Think about your own life when you read something. Think of something similar that you have gone through, seen, or heard.

Make a picture in your mind of what the text says. Imagine you are looking at what is described.

Try to guess what will happen next in the story or article. Then read on to find out if your guess was correct.

Let questions come to your mind when you read. If something doesn't make sense, don't pass it by. Ask or write a question to yourself. Look for answers as you read.

Slow down and make sure you understand what you're reading. Reread something to make sure you understood what it meant. As you read farther, expect to understand or to find out more.

These are ways you can clarify your understanding:

- Sum up what happened in your own words, or summarize.

- Identify the main idea of the paragraph, especially in nonfiction.

- Make inferences about what the author meant but didn't say. Read
between the lines and use your own experience to figure it out.

Form opinions about what you read as you read it. Evaluate again after you read it.


The examples on the pages that follow show how each strategy works. The examples are from "Phoenix Farm," by Jane Yolen. In this story, a girl and her family move to their grandmother's house after their apartment burns down. The father of the family had left before the fire. The girl takes only one thing with her—a nest with an egg in it.

Think about your own life when you read something. Think of some­thing similar that you have gone through, seen, or heard.

Neighbors of Grandma's had collected clothes for us. It made us feel like refugees, which is an awkward feeling that makes you prickly and cranky most of the time.

READER CONNECTS: I know that feeling—wearing someone else's leftovers. I hate that—they never fit right, and they're usually out of style. I feel like everybody knows they're secondhand clothes.

Make a picture in your mind of what the text says. Imagine you are looking at what is described.

On the thirteenth step up from the bottom, tucked against the riser, was a nest. It was unburnt, unmarked, the straw that held it the rubbed-off gold of a wheat field. A piece of red string ran through it, almost as if it had been woven on a loom. In the nest was a single egg.

READER VISUALIZES: In my mind I see a dried straw nest in the corner of the step, protected from the wind. The nest has a red thread running through it. I wonder how the red thread got there. The egg is sitting in the nest.



Try to guess what will happen next in the story or article.

Ann Marie suddenly said, "Look! Your egg is cracking open!"

I looked up and she was right. We hadn't noticed anything before, because the crack had run along the red line. When I put my finger on the crack, it seemed to pulse.

READER PREDICTS: I think the egg is finally going to hatch. It will be a baby bird.

How such a large bird got into such a tiny shell, I'll never know. But that's magic for you. It rose slowly out of the egg ...

READER CHECKS PREDICTION: I was right! It was a baby bird. But it is surprising that it was so large.

Let questions come to your mind when you read. If something doesn't make sense, don't pass it by. Ask or write a question to yourself.

I reached over and freed it, and it seared my fingers—the touch of the feather, not the shell. The bird's scarlet body and scaly golden feet pulsed with some kind of heat.

READER QUESTIONS: Why does a newborn bird give off heat? This is really strange. I've never heard of a bird being hot before. What's up with this bird? Maybe it will be explained later.



Slow down and make sure you understand what you're reading. Reread something to make sure you understood what it meant. As you read farther, expect to understand or to find out more.

It's been that way since Daddy died.

Ran off. That's what Nicky says. A week before the fire. Couldn't take it. The recession and all. No job. No hope.

Mama says it won't be forever, but I say he died. I can deal with it that way.

READER CLARIFIES: I don't understand—is her dad dead or not? She says he died, but Nicky says he ran away. The mom says it's temporary. Oh, I guess that last line explains it—she can only deal with him being gone by pretending he's dead.

Form opinions about what you read as you read it. Evaluate again after you read it.

Being thankful to someone doesn't make you like them.

READER EVALUATES: I agree—that's true. Somebody can try to buy your love but it doesn't work. You have to like the person, not their gifts.



A work of fiction is a story that the writer made up. It could be based on a real event, or it could be totally imagined. The elements of fiction are the most important parts of fiction. They are the characters, setting, plot, and theme. These elements make up the skeleton of the story.


The plot is the sequence of events in the story. Remember that the plot is about a problem that characters must solve. Most plots have the following parts.


Introduces characters and setting

Rising Action

Problem (conflict) is introduced and developed; suspense builds


Turning point of story; moment of most suspense. Brings a change to the main character

Falling Action and Conclusion

Ties up loose ends; may resolve the conflict



Characters: the people or animals in the story

Setting: where and when the story happens

Plot: what happens. The plot grows around a problem, or conflict. The story is about how the characters deal with this problem.

Conflict: the struggle between two forces. External conflict happens between a character and an animal, nature, or a person. Internal conflict happens in a character's mind, such as a hard choice or a guilty conscience.

Theme: the message the writer wants to share with the reader

Narrator: the voice telling the story to the reader
Point of view: the way the narrator is telling the story

First person point of view: The narrator is part of the story.

Third person point of view: The narrator is not part of the story, but is reporting it.

Suspense: the feeling of growing tension and excitement


Short story: a short work of fiction that can be read at one sitting. It has a few main characters and a single conflict.

Folk tale: a story that was told over and over by word of mouth. The characters may be animals or people.

Historical fiction: a story set in the past. It may refer to real people or events. The dialogue is usually made up.

Myth: a very old story that was told by ancient people to explain the unknown. The characters often include gods or heroes.

Novel: a long story that usually cannot be read at one sitting. A novel usually has many characters. The plot is complicated. A novel excerpt is one part of the novel.

Legend: a story about a hero that has been told over and over. Most legends are based on a real person or event.

Horror story: a short story that is meant to scare the reader



Nonfiction is writing about real people, places, and events. It is mostly based on facts.


Different forms of nonfiction have different purposes. Some examples are shown below.


Textbooks, how-to books, directions, manuals


Biographies, humorous books, magazines

Current Events

Newspapers, magazines, Internet articles


Encyclopedias, books about one subject, science articles



Facts: statements that can be proved to be true

Opinions: statements of personal belief that cannot be proved

Chronological order: the order or sequence in which events happen in time

Cause and Effect: The cause is the reason something happens. The effect is the result, or what happens due to the cause.

Visuals: diagrams, maps, charts, photos, and pictures that are part of an article. They give facts by means of pictures and sketches, with just a few words.


Biography: a true story about someone's life, written by someone else. It can cover the whole life or just one part.

Autobiography: the true story of a person's life, written by that person

Feature Article: an article that gives facts about a current subject. It is often found in a newspaper or a magazine. Most include visuals.

Informative Article: an article that gives facts about a subject. The article might be from an encyclopedia, textbook, or book.

interview: a conversation between two people. One asks the other questions. The answers are written in the form of an interview.

Essay: a piece of writing about one subject. The writer might share an opinion or make a point.

Tlue Account: an artide about a real event that is told as a story

Narrative Nonfiction: an article about a real event told in chrono­logical order. It is often historical.

Anecdote: the true story of a small event, usually from the teller's life. An anecdote might be funny (to entertain) or might make a point.



A drama, or play, is a story that is meant to be acted out. Actors present the play onstage. They act out the story for an audience.


Cast of Characters

Characters (in order of appearance)
Mr. Reed, TV director

Mr. Godwin, Herbie's grandfather

Mr. Wellman, head of TV studio

Herbie Bittman, young person



Scene: A television studio. The crew is getting ready to tape a program. One man is putting a table and chair in front of the cameras. Others are working on the lights. On one side of the stage is a viewing booth with a large window.


Stage directions


Wellman (to Reed): When do you start taping?

Reed: In a couple of minutes, Mr. Wellman. (He pauses) Mr. Wellman, I'd like you to meet Mr. Godwin. (Godwin stands up to shake hands with Wellman. Wellman ignores him.)



Stage: the platform on which the actors perform

Script: the written words for the play. This is what everyone reads in order to perform the play.

Cast of Characters: the list of people who play a part in the story

Dialogue: the words the characters say

Stage Directions: the directions to the actors and stage crew. These words tell how people should move and speak. They describe the scenery—the decoration onstage.

Acts and Scenes: the parts of a play. These usually change when the time or the place changes.

Props: the objects used onstage in the play, such as a telephone

Scenery: the background art or structures onstage to help show the setting



Poetry is literature that uses a few words to tell about ideas, feelings, and images. The poet crafts the look of the poem and chooses words for their sound and meaning. Most poems are meant to be read aloud. Poems may or may not rhyme.



Form: the way a poem looks on the page; its shape

Lines: Poets arrange words into lines. The lines may or may not be sentences.

Stanzas: groups of lines in traditional poetry

Free verse: poems that usually do not rhyme and have no fixed rhythm or pattern. They are written like conversation.

Rhyme: sounds that are alike at the end of words, such as make and rake. Some poems have rhyming words at the end of lines. Some poems have rhymes in the middle of lines too.

Rhythm: the beat of the poem. Patterns of strong (') and weak (-) syllables make up the beat.

Repetition: the repeating of sounds, words, phrases, or lines in a poem

Imagery: words and phrases that appeal to the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Poets often use imagery to create pictures, tastes, or feelings in the reader's mind. For example, "The smell of sizzling bacon filled the air."

Figurative language: words and phrases that help readers picture things in new ways. For example, "Snow crystals displayed a rainbow of colors in the sun."

Simile: a comparison of two things using the words like or as. For example, "Confetti fell like rain."

Metaphor: a comparison of two things without the words like or as. For example, "His face is a puzzle."

Personification: a description of an animal or an object as if it were human or had human qualities. For example, "The dog smiled joyfully."

Speaker: the voice that talks to the reader

Theme: the message the poet gives the reader through the poem




admiration n. wonder

admiración s. maravilla

apology n. act of saying one is sorry for doing something wrong

disculpa s. action de pedir excusas por algo mal hecho

arenas n. buildings where people watch sports events or shows

arenas s. edificios donde se realizan competencias deportivas

astronomy n. the study of planets and stars

astronomia s. estudio de los planetas y las estrellas

awkward adj. clumsy

torpe adj. desmafiado

axle n. rod connecting a pair of wheels

eje s. barra que une un par de ruedas


backstretch n. straight part of a track on the opposite side from the finish line

largada s. pista opuesta a la recta final


cabinet n. piece of furniture with shelves or drawers

gabinete s. mueble con cajones o estantes

calisthenics n. physical exercises such as pushups and sit-ups

calistenia s. ejercicios fisicos como sentadillas y lagartijas

clamping adj. holding

sujetando adj. agarrando

cocky adj. too sure of oneself

presumido adj. engreido


comical adj. funny

comico adj. divertido

conceal v. hide

ocultar v. esconder

contract n. legal agreement

contrato s. acuerdo legal

convicts n. people found guilty of crimes and sent to jail

convictos s. sentenciados a la cartel por un delito

courage n. ability to face danger

valor s. capacidad de responder al peligro

courses n. tracks on which races are held

pistas s. superficies para carreras

crossly adv. in an angry way

malhumoradamente adv. con enfado

curse n. magic spell to cause something bad to happen to someone

maldicion s. hechizo que causa algo malo


dazed adj. confused or shocked because of a heavy blow

aturdido adj. confundido por un golpe fuerte

dejectedly adv. sadly

desanimadamente adv. tristemente

depressed adj. unhappy, sad

deprimido adj. triste

determined adj. firm in pursuing a goal

resuelto adj. firme en perseverar una meta

disabling n. hurting badly incapacitando s. hiriendo


distracted adj having one's attention turned to something else

distraido adj. que aparta Ia atenciOn del objeto a que Ia aplicaba

distress n. trouble

apuro s. peligro

doom n. very bad ending

fracaso s. mal final

double-crossed v. tricked; past tense of double-cross

traicionado V. enganado; pasado de double-cross/traicionar

dreading v. afraid of

temiendo v. sintiendo miedo

drills n. practices

ejercicios s. prkticas


emperor n. male ruler of a large area

emperador s. gobernante de un imperio

erupted v. exploded; past tense of erupt

hizo erupcion v. exploto; pasado de erupt/hacer erupcion

estate n. large house surrounded by a lot of land

finca s. casa grande rodeada de tierras

examined v. looked carefully at; past tense of examine

examino v. miro con atencion; pasado de examine/examinar

expression n. look

expresion s. mirada


falsehoods n. lies

falsedades s. mentiras


famine n. shortage of food

hambruna s. escasez de comida

fiery adj. full of fire

ardiente adj. Ileno de fuego

figure n. shape of a person

figura s. forma de una persona

foreigner n. person from another country

extranjero s. persona de otro pals

fussy adj. hard to please

exigente adj. dificil de complacer


gaining v. getting closer

alcanzando v. acercändose

glared v. looked in an angry way; past tense of glare

miro ferozmente v. mini con furia; pasado de glare/mirar ferozmente


hardware n. tools

quincalla s. herramientas

horror n. great disgust

horror s. espanto

iceberg n. large body of floating ice. Most of the ice is below the water.

iceberg s. gran masa de hielo flotante, en su mayoria bajo el agua

immigrant n. person who moves to another country to live

inmigrante s. persona que Ilega a vivir a un pais distinto al suyo


impatiently adv. in an irritated manner

impacientemente adv. de una forma irritada

implored v. begged; past tense of implore

imploro v. suplicO; pasado de implore/implorar

impress v. make people have a good opinion of you

impresionar v. causar una buena °pin&

intend v. plan

proponerse v. planear

intrigued v. interested; past tense of intrigue

intrigado v. interesado; pasado de intrigue/intrigar

irritated adj. angry

irritado adj. molesto

jabbering adj. talking very fast

farfullando adj. hablando muy rãpidamente

lap n. one complete trip around a track

vuelta s. recorrido completo de una pista


meters n. units of measure; each one is equal to 39.37 inches

metros s. unidades de medida equivalentes a 100 cm

mind v. obey

hacer caso v. obedecer

misfortune n. bad luck

desgracia s. mala suerte


modest adj. small

modesto adj. pequefio


navigator n. person who plans and records where an airplane flies

navegante s. persona que planea y toma notas del vuelo de un aviOn


parachutes n. equipment that slows a person's fall from an airplane

paracaidas s. equipo que reduce la velocidad de la caida desde un aviOn

patrol n. group assigned to keep watch over an area

patrulla s. grupo que vigila

personal adj. used by one person only

personal adj. que lo usa una sola persona

peso n. Mexican money that is similar to a dollar in the United States

peso s. moneda mexicana

petition n. written request to the government from a person or group

peticion s. solicitud escrita de un individuo o un grupo al gobierno

physics n. science of how matter and energy act together. Sir Isaac Newton developed many physics concepts.

fisica s. ciencia que estudia el comportamiento de la materia y la energia. Sir Isaac Newton propuso muchos conceptos de fisica.

plot n. secret plan

complot s. plan secreto

politicians n. people who hold or run for government offices

politicos s. personas que se presentan y ocupan cargos piiblicos


predictions n. statements about what is going to happen

predicciones s. declaraciones sobre lo que puede suceder

preference n. choice of one thing over another

preferencia s. selecciOn de una cosa por encima de otra

presumed v. thought something was true; past tense of presume

asumido V. dado por cierto; pasado de presume/asumir

profit n. money left after spending for supplies and equipment

ganancia s. dinero que queda despu6s de pagar equipo y gastos

pulse v. beat regularly

pulsar v. latir

pushy adj. too bold

atrevido adj. descarado


raging adj. wild and powerful

violento adj. furioso, desbocado

rants V. speaks in an angry, violent way

despotrica v. habla en una manera violente y rabiosa

reassure v. make someone feel sure

tranquilizar v. alentar

receipts n. proofs of purchase or money received

recibos s. comprobantes de haber recibido dinero o articulos

recession sésh' an n. period of time when businesses lose money

recesion s. epoca de pocas ganancias para los negocios

recognize v. know

reconocer v. saber

reconciliation a act of getting back together after a fight or argument

reconciliacion s. reunion de personas que estaban disgustados


refugees n. people who must leave home to find protection or shelter somewhere else

refugiado s. quienes se van forzados de su hogar a otra parte en busca de protecciOn

responsible adj. able to be trusted to do the right thing

responsable adj. que cumple

retire v. stop working

jubilarse v. dejar de trabajar a cierta edad

rookie n. first—year player

novato s. jugador de primer ano


satellite n. man-made object that circles the earth

satelite s. objeto construido por el ser humano que da vueltas alrededor de la Tierra

seared v. burned; past tense of sear

chamusai v. queme; pasado de sear/chamuscar

serious sir' e es adj. important

serio adj. importante

shortage n. not enough of something

escasez s. falta

smuggle V. take secretly

contrabandear v. transportar en secreto

snorted v. breathed through the nose in a noisy way, like a pig or horse; past tense of snort

ronco v. respire con ruido; pasado de snort/roncar

spleen n. organ in the human body. The spleen helps to clean the blood and also produces white blood cells.

bazo s. Organo del cuerpo humano que limpia la sangre y produce glObulos blancos

splint V. tie sticks to, for support

entablillar v. inmovilizar para dar apogo


sterilizer n. machine that kills germs

esterilizador s. aparato que mats los microbios

stirred v. caused something to happen; past tense of stir

provocti v. causO; pasado de stir/provocar

stoop n. small porch

portico s. porche pequerio

strokes v. moves the arms and legs to swim

da brazadas v. mueve los brazos para nadar

suitable adj. right for the purpose

adecuado adj. util para un fin

suits v. pleases

agrada v. gusta


tantrum n. sudden, violent display of anger

pataleta s. ataque de furia repentina

tombs n. rooms where people are buried

tumbas s. sepulcros o sepulturas

torture v. make someone suffer a lot of pain

torturar v. hacer sufrir mucho

unemployed adj. without a job

desempleado adj. que no tiene trabajo


vanity n. something that one takes great pride in

vanidad s. orgullo exagerado

vibrations n. shaking movements

vibraciones s. movimientos repidos de un lado a otro


volunteers n. people who choose to work without being paid

voluntarios s. quienes trabajan sin esperar pago


whirled v. spun around very fast; past tense of whirl

giro v. dio una vuelta muy rapido; pasado de whirl/girar

wicked adj. bad; evil

malvado adj. malo; perverso


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