What is Strategic Reading?

Reading is a process of constructing meaning by interacting with text; as individuals read, they use their prior knowledge along with clues from the text to construct meaning. Research indicates that effective or expert readers are strategic (Baker & Brown, 1984a, 1984b). This means that they have purposes for their reading and adjust their reading to each purpose and for each reading task. Strategic readers use a variety of strategies and skills as they construct meaning (Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991).

A strategy is a plan selected deliberately by the reader to accomplish a particular goal or to complete a given task (Paris, Lipson, & Wixson, 1983; Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991). When students are able to select and use a strategy automatically, they have achieved independence in using the strategy. Along with the strategies that expert readers use, they also use a number of comprehension and study skills. It is clear from research that readers develop the use of strategies and skills by reading and writing and being given the support they need to grow in these processes (Wells, 1990).

The goal of all reading instruction is to help students become expert readers so that they can achieve independence and can use literacy for lifelong learning and enjoyment. Learning to use strategies effectively is essential to constructing meaning. Readers who are not strategic often encounter difficulties in their reading (Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991). These early difficulties in reading may influence the way readers learn throughout the rest of their lives (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985).

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