Strategy 7: Listen for the Big Idea

(during reading)

Students often listen to others read expository text in math, science or social studies classes. Help them learn how to get the most from listening to text. Using a “Pairs Read” strategy, group students with a partner. One student reads some of the text, the other asks clarifying questions. At the end, the partner who listened summarizes the main topic (paraphrases the key concepts) and gives two or three supporting details. (See Strategy 10, Summarize, for ways to help students learn how to summarize.)

This activity is good for keeping students active. It is especially helpful for auditory and social learners. You can encourage the students who are listening to draw graphic representations of the content, to help interpret the text and get the main ideas onto paper.

This is a much better approach to reading out loud in class than "round-robin," where students are spending most of their time preparing for their turn, rather than listening to learn from the reading.

Assignment: Try it, then post your comments in the discussion tab for this page. Include any recommendations you would make to teachers who are going to try this for the first time.