As a writer of nonfiction, I use the Reading Process to guide my thinking in order to comprehend and then synthesize the information I get from research reading. As a middle school reading teacher, I organized my instruction around that same process.
The Reading Process refers to the three stages readers should go through as they approach and complete their reading assignments. Each stage (Before, During and After Reading), is comprised of a specific task along with strategies that help the reader complete that task. Understanding the thinking required at each stage, and then using that understanding to organize and guide their reading, is especially helpful when students are faced with reading informational text.
Research shows that using the Reading Process helps grow comprehension. For one thing, it slows readers down, keeping them from jumping into and out of the reading too quickly. In addition, when a student knows and is actively working at completing the task for each stage, they are also are more likely to be monitoring their comprehension.
So, what are the thinking tasks for each of the three stages of the Reading Process?
- Before Reading: The thinking task is to prepare your brain to read and thus, to comprehend. This is done by activating and building background knowledge, figuring out the text structure and hopefully, in the process, generating authentic questions and curiosity.
- During Reading: The task is to comprehend, not to just get through the text. Various strategies can be employed by readers during this stage to improve comprehension, monitor it and fix it when it breaks down.
- After Reading: The task is to synthesize the new information with what you already know. True learning requires that the reader creates personal meaning by updating their knowledge and opinions with each new reading.
Below, you will find links to a series of videos on the three stages of the Reading Process. I used the text from my new book, The Science of Fashion (Nomad Press, 2021) to demonstrate some of the strategies that go along with each stage. The videos can be used as tools for review, when students need a refresher on the various stages of the Reading. Process or as an introduction to some of the strategies used in each stage.
THE READING PROCESS: