What is a good strategy for tackling reading passages?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,316
    Laura Rheinauer, Associate Director of Educational Connections, offers tips on breaking down tough reading passages.

    Host: What is a good strategy for tackling reading passages?

    Laura Rheinauer: A good strategy for tackling the reading passages is to already know what these are going to be all about. You are going to be presented with short reading passages and then questions, longer reading passages and then questions and then two reading passages that are short in length and ask you to compare and contrast them. So once you walk in there already knowing what it's all about, there is already a notch on to your belt. Now when it comes to actually, getting into these questions, it's important to know that the questions are organized in a pattern so that you can directly follow along with the essay. For instance, the questions will tell you where to look in the preceding passage for the correct answer. See here it says, at the beginning of sentence three, so I am going to go up here, find sentence three, read that and read the sentence before to give me some good context clues. Then I am going to re-read the questions and look at the potential answer choices. These questions will test your knowledge of how to best organize a paragraph. So always pay attention to logic, good flow of ideas, organization and vocabulary selection. Another great tip for tackling the reading passage is to employ active reading strategies. This means that always read with a pencil in your hand. Don't be a passive reader. Really get engaged in the reading passages. Here is an example of a short reading passage and then I am going to be presented two questions that relate to this paragraph. As I am reading this paragraph, I want to employ good active reading strategies. I want to know it's a science fiction masterpiece. I want to write on the side, Stanley Kubrick. I want to look at computers; I am looking for all main points using active reading strategies.

    Then by the time I get to the question, I will be able to refer back up to my notes to look for the right answer. So if you are getting short for time and you have already read the first paragraph, go ahead and just answer the first three questions. Another great strategy for the reading passage; you are going to want to scan for the more literal questions if you are running out of time especially. The more literal questions tend to be easier ones to answer. What color was the man's coat or who wrote this story. Those you can really easily, quickly refer back to the passage and find the answer. The critical thinking, analytical questions like what's the mood of this story or which of these scenes will the author agree with, those are the questions that do ask you to absorb what information you just took in and read and then produce an answer. So spend time on the critical thinking once as you have the time that allows it.