If your middle/high school student is struggling to read that final chapter of history/science/government or other fact-based text as part of their last academic push for the year, you may want to try this strategy.
1. Have them speed read the chapter title, caption headers, and first sentences of each paragraph in the chapter. (If racing the clock helps, you can set it for 1-3 minutes and let the clock pace them.)
2. Then ask them to describe what they predict the topic will be about, including questions which might be answered in the reading.
3. Finally, have them read the chapter completely and highlight main ideas and supporting details as they go along. (If they can’t highlight in the book because it is school property you might consider copying the pages, so that they can highlight on the copies.)
4. Now, give them 1-4 minutes to study as much of their highlighted material as possible.
5. Finally take the book or text away and ask them to repeat, in order if possible, as many details as possible from their highlighted text.
This strategy works for several reasons. First, the student overcomes a little anxiety by getting a ‘big-picture’ quick look at the chapter. Secondly, you are adding a bit of a game element when you challenge them to recall as much as they can without the book. Try it out and let me know how it works!
For more information on last minute study strategies you might check out “Reading Effectively” a very clear article on reading strategies.