Reading can be compared to using a remote control to watch a movie or a television program.

One of the main differences between effective and ineffective readers is self-monitoring comprehensionOften, struggling readers don’t even realize when they don’t understand what they’re reading! We need to teach them to pause regularly to consider whether their reading is making sense. And if it isn’t making sense, they need to be able to access a range of strategies to fix-up the mix-ups.

One way to teach students about self-monitoring is to draw an analogy to using a remote control to watch a movie or TV program. Just like we press the START button to begin watching our show, we press the START button in our mind to start reading.

Explain to students that every now and then (let’s say, every page) when we’re reading, we need to hit the Pause button in our brains and ask ourselves, “Is this making sense to me? Do I understand all of this? What did I just read?”

  • If we answer, “Yes, this makes sense” then we hit that mental PLAY button again and keep on reading.
  • If the answer is “No, something’s not clear,” then we need to hit that mental STOP button and either REWIND or FAST FORWARD to try to fix-up the mix-ups.
  • When we REWIND, we go back and reread the section to try to clarify the meaning.
  • When we FAST FORWARD, we read ahead a little to see if it helps to make sense of the reading.

You can download the bookmark at the right from Lori’s book Guiding Readers.

Or, better yet, give students the real thing!  Purchase inexpensive remote controls at the dollar store (or retrieve them from the cushions of your couch!) and add the following labels: