T.H.I.E.V.V.E.S. with Snatches

This article is part of the teaching tip "Five Keys to Helping Students Read Difficult Texts"

Preview the content of a chapter of the text.  Ask yourself:

  • What am I going to learn in this text?
  • What is the problem the author is trying to solve or the main message he/she is trying to put across? 
  • What does the author want me to learn from this text?   My professor?
Skim parts of the entire chapter with the goal of seeing key facts and concepts.
T.H.I.E.V.V.E.S.1  is an acronym for text features that can help you complete a useful preview of the text.  So “get the goods” from this text by looking at and thinking about each of the following as you come upon them in the text: 
Every first sentence of sections or paragraphs2
Vocabulary, often bolded
End questions or Every author-generated question
Snatches helps build anticipation.   While you are previewing, “snatch” here and there a look at a picture, a graphics, and always a sentence randomly or purposefully selected from the text.  Then ask, “What interesting and important things might I learn from this text?”   
From this brief preview, make your best attempt to state the main message or problem.  List what seems to be the essential content in the chapter. 

Foot Notes

1. Manz (2002).

2. We read the first sentence because that it usually contains the main point of the paragraph or section.  O’Hear and Aikman (1996) found that 63% of the main ideas in 12 contemporary bestsellers were positioned in the first sentence of the paragraph.  The main point is not always there but enough of the time, especially in informational texts, to make it worth reading this sentence in a preview of the text.  Furthermore, doing so leads you to predict, thus building your anticipation for reading the text.


Tip conributed by:
Marné B. Isakson, Ph.D. (marne_isakson@byu.edu)
Developer of courses: Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading
Author of Learn More & Read Faster: A Handbook of Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading: A Handbook of Essential Strategies for College Success. 
For more information please contact Taylor Halverson, Teaching and Learning Consultant