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Blue Ribbon Readers

Monitor and Clarify

The goal of the monitoring strategy is to maintain attention while reading, and to immediately notice when something in the sentence is confusing or not understood. Monitoring allows the reader to quickly address problem areas with clarifying strategies, or what some teachers call "fix-up" strategies.

The goal of the clarifying strategy is to use any prior knowledge available to attempt to make sense of the text being read. Examples include thinking about the parts of the text that are understood and connecting those to one's life, the world, or other things that have been read in the past. Think about the other portions of the text that have already been read or read ahead a bit and try to pull some meaning out of those parts. Ask questions about what has been read. Can any predictions be made about what's going to happen next? Sometimes these techniques can help to determine the meaning of the confusing text.

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The Fridge Magnet Game

The Fridge Magnet Game provides practice with the monitoring and clarifying strategies. It requires students to identify confusing words (by monitoring) and replace them with words from an alternate word pool that make sense in the sentence (clarifying).

The game is divided into three levels of increasing difficulty. In Level 1 and Level 2, nonsense words are used so that no meaning can be attached to them. Also, each word is read aloud to facilitate word recognition by associating the sounds of the words with their visual representations. Level 3 uses real words that are unlikely to be known by the students. If they are recognizable words, they are nonetheless not the right word for the sentence.

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