Today we’re tackling fix-up strategies. What are they, and how can you help your readers use them?
What are fix-up strategies?
Fix-up strategies are what good readers use when they come to an unfamiliar word or when they stop understanding what they’re reading.
Fix-up strategies aren’t just for our students. Adult readers use them all the time! Think about the last time you read a challenging text. Maybe it was a complicated instruction manual. Perhaps it was a scholarly article, memoir, or even your latest novel.
When you read a whole paragraph and realize that you don’t remember a thing, you go back and re-read. You read the challenging part a little more slowly. You stop to think about what you’ve read and check any graphs, charts, and captions to support your understanding.
You fix-up your reading.
How to teach fix-up strategies to K-2
An excellent to teach fix-up strategies is to model them during whole class Read Alouds. It’s also important to explicitly teach them during whole class mini-lessons.
But I’ve found that my teaching is extra meaningful when I teach fix-up strategies one-on-one.
Whether you’re listening to students read at the guided reading table or in individual conferences, you can teach them to use fix-up strategies with the following prompts.
When the reader doesn’t know a word, you can say ...
- Look at the picture.
- Look at the first letter of the word.
- Do you see any parts of the word that you know?
- Skip it and read to the end of the sentence. Then go back to it.
- What would make sense?
- Sound it out.
- Does that sound like people talk?
When comprehension breaks down, you can say …
- Where did it stop making sense?
- Did you understand that sentence?
- What part was confusing to you?
- Go back and re-read that part.
- Retell what you’ve read so far.
- What do you think will happen next?
- Try reading the confusing part more slowly.
- Let’s look at the pictures and captions. How can they help you understand what you’re reading?
- Create a picture in your mind as you read.
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