The difficulty in considering an instructional intervention is that sustained silent reading shouldn’t be constantly interrupted by a professional intervening! I know many teachers who ask students to take notes, use stickies, etc. and these ideas can work very well. But what about when students don’t have these materials with them? What is more authentic to a non-school reading activity? What do good readers do when they are curled up on the couch reading for pleasure? How do they sustain their comprehension?
After reflecting on my own reading behavior, I found myself returning to something written in as ASCD article in 2002 by Perkins- Gough.
“Rereading with a purpose is perhaps the most vital strategy for promoting fluency and deep understanding of texts in every discipline.”
Good readers do a lot of rereading! I have become very aware of when I need to reread due to confusion or waning attention. To develop this awareness, I decided to make it more concrete by tapping my finger on the book page every time I caught myself rereading. This simple tactile intervention increased my awareness of my reading behaviors, so I decided to try it with students.
The Tap-Tap Strategy is simple. Students are encouraged to tap the page twice with their finger every time they catch themselves rereading. The “tap-tap” has a similar rhythm to “reread,” so students could think “reread” if they wanted to. I explained to students that rereading was a positive thing – something strong readers do frequently.
If you want to make it more visual to students, provide a small dot of finger paint, and plastic covers to place over the reading pages. Students tap-tap, leaving a finger print in the spot they reread. This also allows the teacher to talk about specific reasons a student may have needed to reread a section.
The day after we introduced this strategy to students, we had several students tell us that they found themselves using the tap-tap while reading at home. We've decided to keep modeling the strategy and encouraging students to use it.I am hopeful that it will increase awareness (metacognition), especially for our tactile/kinesthetic learners.