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Reading comprehension skills and note taking

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I'm wondering what suggestions people have for a fun, engaging resources to teach better reading and note taking skills to a young high schooler. My son, who is quite bright, struggles a lot with attention and doesn’t listen/engage very well in co-op classes or retain what he reads. He did pretty well before content became more difficult and time consuming, but is really struggling now. Any suggestions in how to strengthen these skills in ways that would be palatable to a teen boy who would rather not be doing schoolwork? ;)

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We've had good luck using Great Courses lectures to teach note taking. When we first start I have to frequently stop the video and give them more time to write stuff down before resuming, and sometimes I have to prompt them, "Did you catch that? Did you write that part down? That is important to make a note of because ______________." Eventually with lots of practice they get better and faster at it. The lectures are only 30 minutes and they are usually very engaging, so that helps a lot with content.

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Two thoughts:

  • Reading comprehension. I find that my Shakespeare students dramatically boost their reading comprehension — nothing like close reading of 400-year-old English to train students in the skills required for deciphering a challenging text. And what makes it all work is that Shakespeare is so rewarding, i.e., once you've worked out the meaning, you uncover something incredibly charming, or beautiful, or funny, or eerie, or thought-provoking. — And lest you fear that Shakespeare would be too much of a stretch for your son: I've found that sometimes the best way to lift teens out of their somnambulant reading habits is to pose a challenge they think beyond their abilities, then let them discover they can succeed with that challenge. (Few things in life are more exciting than overcoming an obstacle you consider bigger than yourself...)
  • Note-taking. One underestimated aspect of note-taking that I consider vital is annotating a text. — See this article. — In addition, annotating helps with improving your reading comprehension.

I would be happy to discuss, baxterclan7, if you want to know more — just message me, or you can email me at rspeed AT

All the best.

—Roy Speed

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