Strategies for Reading about the Digestive System

Secondary students struggle with reading and comprehending the science textbook for many reasons. Some of my students are reading a text in English and they just began reading English or are not proficient. How can I help my students who struggle or those who I want to challenge to get more out of the text? Daniels and Zemelman give us a combination of cognitive and instructional activities to help our secondary students (87).

One pre-reading strategy is frontloading with images. This strategy involves showing the students images about the unit or text before the students read it. We are studying the digestive system in one of my classes, so I could show images of a mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, villi and large intestine. I could also show an animation of a food particle going through these organs. Another strategy involves visual prompts during reading. While students are reading a text, they will stop and draw a simple picture to illustrate what they are reading. This will help students visualize what they are reading (131). An example of this strategy can be used with my students reading about the digestive system. After they read about the job of the stomach in digestion, they would stop and draw a picture of a stomach and also symbols that reflect mechanical digestion and chemical digestion.


Daniels & Zemelman. Subjects Matter, Second Edition: Exceeding Standards Through Powerful Content-Area Reading, 2014 edition.


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