Applying Reading Strategies

Author: Jill Torrey Emmons

Time: 1 class period
15 minutes
Materials: Copies of assigned article "Pollution Moves on Trans-Oceanic Air Currents, NASA Finds" and essay prompt

In this final lesson on reading strategies, students will apply their knowledge in order to read, comprehend, and write about a challenging text concerning a current environmental health issue. Students have had many opportunities to discuss and evaluate the uses of different strategies, and at this point should be familiar with a wide range of tools for reading comprehension.

This lesson asks the students to apply their reading skills to read and analyze a given article, and then compose a timed writing in order to thoroughly explain the process of reading and comprehending the text. In the timed essay students will not be focusing on the article’s meaning, but rather the mental process of reading and understanding the article.

Purpose – In this lesson, students will apply what they have learned about reading strategy to compose an essay in which they carefully outline the mental process of reading and comprehending a text.

Students will be able to:
1. Identify and use reading strategies to comprehend a challenging text.
2. Compose a well organized essay in which the mental process of reading and comprehending a text is explained.

National English Education Standard
Standard 3: Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

Standard 5: Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Teacher Background
The teacher should be familiar with various reading strategies and how they are used. Also, many school districts require a timed writing once a month, or once a quarter, in order to assess student essay writing skills and to prepare students for timed essays which they may encounter on standardized tests. The timed writing simply consists of giving students a topic to write on in a fixed period of time (usually one class period or block period works best). Most teachers make allowances for minor errors in conventions and sentence structure, in consideration for the time constraints; however the content and organization should reflect the students’ abilities.

Related and Resource Websites
Doing Your Best On Timed Writings:


Pollution Moves on Trans-Oceanic Air Currents, NASA Finds article:




1. As students enter the room, give them copies of the article “Pollution Moves on Trans-Oceanic Air Currents, NASA Finds” (see website above, or use another article of your choosing). You should also have the essay prompt ready on printed slips, or written on the board:

After reading the article “Pollution Moves on Trans-Oceanic Air Currents," write an academic essay in which you explain the following: 1) What processes go on in your mind while reading the article, and 2) What reading strategies did you use to comprehend the text (you must refer to at least three). Remember you are analyzing the process of reading this article, not summarizing the content. Include commentary on any difficulties you had in understanding the article, and how you overcame these challenges.

2. As students get settled, ask them to take out several sheets of paper in preparation for a timed writing. Explain to the class that they will have approximately 40 minutes to read the article you gave them at the door, and write an academic essay answering the essay prompt.

3. Review the prompt with your students, and clarify any confusion.

4. Students should write a well-organized essay, complete with a thesis statement, topic sentences, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. You may want to give a few tips on timed writing before beginning, and students may use their reading strategy notes if you think it necessary. Ask if there are any further questions, and then allow the class to begin.

5. When students finish, collect their essays for assessment.

None today.

Embedded Assessment
Most importantly, the essays should be evaluated for how well the students could explain the use of reading strategies to comprehend the article. There should not be too much summary, but more analysis of the reading process. The essays should also be evaluated for proper essay technique (Is the thesis clear? Does the essay have a brief introduction? A conclusion? Are topic sentences used? Are sentences fluent and understandable? Etc…)


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: November 10, 2009
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo