Reading strategies

Reading strategies . They are used in an integrated way in the reading process, for example, making predictions; determine the main idea ; provide prior knowledge. These strategies involve the cognitive and the metacognitive. Its teaching favors the training of an active reader, who is capable of using them competently and autonomously.


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  • 1 Features
  • 2 Classification
  • 3 Cognitive activities that must be activated through strategies
  • 4 Teaching reading strategies
    • 1 Theoretical underpinnings
  • 5 Importance
  • 6 Sources


The strategies of reading is characterized by the fact that they are not subject to a class or type of content only text but can be adapted to different reading situations; they involve the metacognitive components of control over one’s understanding, since the expert reader not only understands, but knows that he understands and when he does not understand; they allow the reader’s course of action to advance even though they are not prescribed in full. They are procedures of a high nature, which imply the presence of objectives to be met, the planning of the actions that are triggered to achieve them, as well as their evaluation and possible change.


The studies carried out by Isabel Solé allowed her to confirm that there are discrepancies in the various classifications of reading strategies: what is sometimes considered a strategy, others is a technique; she considers that presenting lists of strategies is in danger of turning what is a means into an end of teaching in itself. The fundamental thing is that students know how to use the appropriate strategies for understanding the text and not that they have wide repertoires of strategies. For this reason, she considers it more appropriate to think about what the different strategies that must be used in the reading process should make possible, and that must be taken into account when teaching. In her book Reading Strategies , this author includes the following:

  • Those that allow you to set reading objectives and update relevant prior knowledge (prior to / during reading).
  • Those that allow different inferences to be established, to review and check one’s understanding while reading and to make appropriate decisions in the face of errors or errors in understanding (during reading).*
  • Those aimed at recapitulating the content, summarizing it and extending the knowledge that has been obtained through reading (during / after reading).

Cognitive activities that must be activated through strategies

Among the cognitive activities that should be activated or promoted through reading strategies are:

  • Understand the explicit and implicit purposes of reading
  • Activate and contribute to reading the relevant prior knowledge for the content in question.
  • Direct attention to what is essential to the detriment of what may seem trivial (depending on the purposes pursued).
  • Evaluate the internal consistency of the content expressed by the text and its compatibility with previous knowledge, and with what “common sense” dictates.
  • Continuously check for understanding through regular review and recap and self-questioning.
  • Develop and test inferences of various kinds, such as interpretations, hypotheses, and predictions and conclusions.

Teaching reading strategies

When teaching reading strategies, the construction and use by students of general procedures that can be easily transferred to multiple and varied reading situations must prevail. They cannot be treated as precise techniques, infallible recipes, or specific skills; they must be approached as guidelines for action, to represent problems and guide solutions flexibly. The strategies to be taught must allow the student to plan the general reading task and the motivation for it; They will facilitate the verification, review and control of what is read, and appropriate decision-making based on the objectives pursued.

To teach the strategies that can be adopted in the face of gaps in understanding, it is necessary to discuss with the students the objectives of reading; working with materials of moderate difficulty that are challenging, but not overwhelming for the student; provide and help activate relevant prior knowledge, teach inferring, conjecture, risk taking, and seek verification for your hypotheses; explain to students what they can do when they encounter problems with the text.

Theoretical underpinnings

Isabel Solé considers among the theoretical supports for teaching reading strategies, the following:

  • The educational situation as a process of joint construction (Edwards and Mercer, 1988) through which the teacher and his students can progressively share universes of broader and more complex meanings, and master procedures with greater precision and rigor, so that some and others are also progressively more adequate to understand and influence reality, for example, to understand and interpret the texts that are present in it. If it is a “construction process”, it is obvious that you cannot ask that everything be solved properly and at once; if it is also a «joint construction», even when the student is the main protagonist, the teacher will also have a prominent role.
  • In this process, the teacher exercises a guiding function (Coll, 1990), insofar as he must ensure the link between the construction that the student intends to carry out and the constructions that have been socially established. It is a process of joint construction that is characterized by becoming what Rogoff (1984) calls guided participation, which supposes an educational situation in which, in the first place, the student is helped to activate their prior knowledge to address said situation. The student has from the beginning –because the teacher facilitates it– an overview or general structure to carry out his task.
  • The theory of Bruner et al. (1976) on the role of teaching with respect to student learning: the challenges that constitute teaching must be a little beyond those that the student is already capable of solving; Aids that characterize teaching should be phased out as students become more competent and can control their own learning.

Isabel Solé is based on the fact that good teaching is not only the one that is located a little beyond the current level of the student, but also the one that ensures the internalization of what was taught and its autonomous use, for which it conceives teaching situations learning that are articulated around reading strategies as joint construction processes, in which a guided practice is established through which the teacher provides students with the necessary “scaffolding” so that they can progressively master these strategies and use them once the initial aids have been withdrawn, in order for the student to become autonomous and competent in reading.


Reading strategies are very important in the training of autonomous readers, who can intelligently face texts of a very different nature and learn in this process. For this, those who read must be able to question themselves about their own understanding, establish relationships between what they read and what is part of their personal heritage, question their knowledge and modify it, establish generalizations that allow transferring what they have learned to other different contexts. Reading strategies help equip students with the resources they need to learn to learn.


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