Content Literacy 101

Previewing (from A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies)

As with any preview, a textbook chapter preview is used to see what's coming next. Many students do not know how to utilize textbook features, and may skip over them in their reading. A preview can be used to raise their awareness of the sections that have been designed to help them understand the text. 

Why use it?
This strategy is particularly useful for science or math textbooks, which are notoriously dense and hard for students to comprehend. By intentionally pointing out text features, teachers can help demystify textbooks, and increase students' reading confidence.

How do I use it?
The Two-Minute Preview "provides students with an overview of the selection and helps them develop a strategic plan for reading it." It procedure is as follows:

1. "The teacher provides the class with a brief outline or checklist for previewing [see example below]. The outline or checklist will vary depending upon the purpose for reading and the type of material.
2. In pairs, students are given two minutes to preview the material and jot their responses on the preview form.
3. Then the teacher leads the class in developing a strategic plan for reading the material."

Introduction: What is the author talking about? What is the focus of this material?

Headings and Subheads: What are the topics of these sections?

Graphs, Charts, Maps, and Tables: Do I understand how to interpret this information? Can I restate it in my own words?

Margin Notes: What kind of information do they provide?

Summary: Does it provide a clear overview of the chapter?

Questions: Are the questions clear?

(Procedure and example both from: A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies)