What are Content Area Reading Strategies?
Reading and Writing Connections

Content Area Reading Strategies (CARS) are specific actions readers take to make meaning from text. Reading is like a conversation between author and reader. Authors make decisions about how to effectively communicate through a piece of writing. Readers use specific strategies to help them understand what authors are trying to communicate.

Best Practice Instruction of Reading Strategies
Informational texts permeate our everyday lives. To become reflective readers and writers, students need extensive and intensive experience with engaging, high-interest selections. Strategies need to be modeled through many examples. Students need guided practice with authentic reading materials as they are learning how to use each strategy. They also need opportunities for independent application of the strategies.

Strategies Before, During, and After Reading

Before reading a selection, students preview the text. Readers think about the title of the selection. They make predictions and ponder questions. They set expectations about what information may be revealed in the text. They skim for text structure (headings, bold print, italicized words, illustrations and other visual presentations) that may reveal clues about the text. Readers think about the author’s purpose for writing the selection. They set their own purpose for reading. They scan their background knowledge for relevant information that may help them understand the text. Before reading strategies focus on setting the stage for reading comprehension.

During reading strategies focus on problem-solving skills readers use to monitor their understanding of the text. The strategies include word attack skills, vocabulary work, visualizing details, rereading for clarification, and adjusting the pace of reading in order to construct meaning. Readers develop a repertoire of strategies in order to extract meaning from text.

reading strategies help students read between and beyond the lines. They respond to what was read. Readers revisit a selection to closely examine elements of the text to achieve deeper levels of understanding. For example, readers revisit the selection to determine the essential details and themes of the text. Revisit strategies help readers respond to text, make connections, and evaluate various aspects of the selection.