In an earlier post, I talked about the ‘four roles of the reader’ and how there were some good tips available for targeting activities at each of these roles, provided by Holliday’s text ‘Strategies for Reading Success’. For my own learning process I wanted to focus on doing a bit of research into each of these.

The text participant

Being a text participant means students know how to construct meaning from texts: they relate meaning in the text to their own experiences and knowledge, they use vocabulary knowledge to construct meaning, they understand literal meaning and grasp inferential meanings and they use pictures and visuals to add to the print meaning of the text (Holliday, 2008, p. 20).

Teaching strategies for text participant success

Students should be engaged through reading, thinking and discussion focused on texts, with the aim being to construct meaning. Activities include:

  • Building up their knowledge and vocab related to the topic, especially through other subjects such as HSIE. This could include brainstorming, think/pair/share activities or mind maps before reading to collate prior knowledge
  • Recording new knowledge using mind maps, timelines, diagrams, blogs, photo displays etc.
  • Literal and inferential comprehension through tasks focused on finding information (including cloze passages), sequencing, looking at cause and effect relationships, and reading between the lines
  • ‘What we know’ tables – on the board, list ‘what we know’, ‘what we need to find out’ and ‘where we will find the information’
  • Show students how to gain information from print and illustrations. Draw up a table with three columns – ‘page number’, ‘the print tells me’, ‘the picture tells me’ and how how to record information from each page
  • Provide literal questions before reading and ask students to look for the answers as the text is read
  • Discuss characters in a literary text and build up profiles by listing the information provided by the author. Draw the character
  • Get students to recount a story using a story ladder to elaborate on the concept of complication and resolution. Introduce language such as ‘The problem in the story was…/It started when…/Then…/After that…/The problem was solved when…/’ to structure the recounts
  • Inferencing activities – use ‘think alouds’ when reading texts to demonstrate how to arrive at inferences. You can draw up a chart with three columns – character, inference, why we think that – students can work in pairs to build inferences from the text
  • Prediction games – use the illustrations from a big book and have students predict the story. Write out a possible text for each page and stick it on. Reveal the print and compare it to the prediction, discussing similarities and differences
  • Visualising activities – such as: asking students to recall a place they know well and to draw it (then share and discuss in small groups), ask students to act as newspaper editors to produce a news article, provide different headlines, photos, captions and paragraphs and get them to construct a positive or a negative article
  • Organising information – ‘test the statement’ – introduce a text and write up one statement that summarises it. Read the text and write each sentence that expresses/supports that main idea on the board
  • Arrange visiting speakers – get students to prepare questions and video the session. Afterwards, list new ideas and information.


Holliday, M. (2008). Strategies for Reading Success. PETAA: Newtown.


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