"Read like a detective and think like a judge..." is what my principal likes to say.
Being able to read words is only the first part of the reading process. Being able to comprehend or understand what is being said through the words is the next critical piece to becoming an excellent reader. Have you ever looked at a long story with lots of pages and then decided to speed read through it in order to hurry up and finish it? You may have very well read every word on the page, but do you remember what was said? Great detectives have an eye for detail just like great students know they can get the right answers to questions by slowing down and paying attention to the details within the text. The answers are somewhere within the text, and with a keen eye, the answers can be revealed. With lots of practice, readers become more efficient at zeroing in on the correct answers like a skilled detective who can quickly see things the layman might overlook.
Reading is more than just saying or seeing a bunch of words. There is a central idea, and readers should read like detectives in order to find it. By focusing on questions directly from the text at hand, students can begin to build their own reading skills at their own level. There is a shift in education that seeks to eliminate the reliance on prior knowledge. After all, everyone's experiences are different. How is it fair to grade someone on something they may or may not have been exposed to or even remember from years ago? However, now every reader, like a detective, has the clues are right in front them - in the text at hand - regardless of any previous knowledge - ready to be discovered!
How can the clues be unlocked? Like a detective, readers want to look over the text with a fine tooth comb. Now obviously we do not want to mark up a library book, school book, or someone else's book, but one way to develop comprehension skills in order to be a better reader is to first get a copy of a book or text you can mark up. Using an ink pad or coat your index finger with a WASHABLE marker, mark places in the text where answers can be found. By using this strategy, it will help beginning readers to visualize where the answers are found.
Once readers master reading the words, then master the next step of understanding what is being said, the final piece to reading is to evaluate what is being said and judge it for what it's worth. Even though people say over and over again, "Don't believe everything you read! Don't believe everything you see on the Internet!" How easy is that to forget sometimes - especially when something looks professional and is presented well? (I could name countless FALSE celebrity stories here as an example.) It's important that readers think about what they read and can compare it to other sources of information as well in order to make educational decisions or judgements about anything from school work to real world experiences.
So read like a detective and think like a judge. Tell us what that means to you.
By Sarah V. Richard