One thing I have noticed about my third graders is that they do not self-monitor. They will say a word and, even if it does not makes sense, continue reading. Then, unsurprisingly, when they get to the end of the story or article, they have no idea what it was about. As a result, I have been trying to get my students to make a conscious effort to self-monitor more while reading.
We began with an anchor chart. We discussed how I will not always be there when they are reading, so they need to learn how to "fix-up" their reading on their own. We talked about how self-monitoring might involve stopping to reflect after a sentence, paragraph, or page to make sure they understood what they just read. They might be confused on a word, or confused by the information in the passage.
For the first book, I modeled how to use a t-chart to self-monitor. I recorded the page(s) number and then wrote a brief 1-2 sentence summary of what I read, as well as any questions I had. After we went over my example, we went back into the text and answered the questions I had "gotten stuck on" while reading. With the next book, we completed the t-chart in students' reader's notebooks together. We went back and answered the questions at the end.
For the final text, I selected an article. With this text, students created the t-charts independently in their reader's notebooks. I have noticed that students are making a much more conscious effort to problem-solve on their own, instead of waiting for help. This is definitely something that we will continue to practice throughout the year. I think it is important to remember that while this seems like such a natural skill, for struggling readers, it often does not come naturally.
How do you help your students self-monitor their reading?