What makes reading different from the other macro skills of communication? How does it relate to the other skills needed for communication? “Reading” is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols (letters, punctuation marks and spaces) and we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraphs that communicate something to us. Reading can be silent (in our head) or aloud (so that other people can hear). Reading is a receptive skill – through it, we receive information.
But the complex process of reading also requires the skill of speaking, so that we can pronounce the words that we read. In this sense, reading is also a productive skill in that we are both receiving information and transmitting it (even if only to ourselves). Reading is the third of the four language skills, which are: Listening Speaking Reading Writing In our own language, reading is usually the third language skill that we learn. Do we need to read in order to speak English? The short answer is no. Some native speakers cannot read or write but they speak English fluently.
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On the other hand, reading is something that you can do on your own and that greatly broadens your vocabulary, thus helping you in speaking (and in listening and writing). Reading is therefore a highly valuable skill and activity, and it is recommended that English learners try to read as much as possible in English. A. The Psychology of Reading The last 20 years have witnessed a revolution in reading research. Cognitive psychologists, using high-speed computers to aid in the collection and analysis of data, have developed tools that have begun to answer questions that were previously thought unanswerable.
These tools allow for a “chronometric,” or moment-to-moment, analysis of the reading process. Foremost among them is the use of the record of eye movements to help reveal the underlying perceptual and cognitive processes of reading. Reading is a highly complex skill that is a prerequisite to success in our society. In a society such as ours, where so much information is communicated in written form, it is important to investigate this essential behaviour. In the past 15 years, a great deal has been learned about the reading process from research by cognitive psychologists.
Reading as a complex skill is pretty much taken for granted by those who can do it. While those who can do it fluently take it for granted, its complexity is more apparent to those who are having trouble reading. Reading is sometimes difficult for children to learn and illiterate adults find learning to read agonizingly frustrating. The roots of cognitive psychology, the branch of psychology which examines internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory and language can be traced to the experiment of Wundt’s laboratory in Leipzig in 1879.
As a part of the larger field of cognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy and linguistics. The core focus of cognitive psychology is on how people acquire, process and store information. There are numerous practical applications for cognitive research, such as improving memory, increasing decision-making accuracy and structuring educational curricula to enhance learning. Until the 1950s, behaviourism was the dominant school of thought in psychology.
Between 1950 and 1970, the tide began to shift against behavioral psychology to focus on topics such as attention, memory and problem-solving. Often referred to as the cognitive revolution, this period generated considerable research on topics including processing models, cognitive research methods and the first use of the term “cognitive psychology. ” The term “cognitive psychology” was first used in 1967 by American psychologist Ulric Neisser in his book Cognitive Psychology.
According to Neisser, cognition involves “all processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. It is concerned with these processes even when they operate in the absence of relevant stimulation, as in images and hallucinations… Given such a sweeping definition, it is apparent that cognition is involved in everything a human being might possibly do; that every psychological phenomenon is a cognitive phenomenon. ” Today, we find many psychologists interested in reading.
Why has the change taken place? The primary reason appears to have been the failure of behaviourism to account for language processing in many reasonable ways. The promise of behaviourism was always that if psychologists could understand the laws of learning and behaviour is simple tasks, those laws could be generalized to more complex tasks like language processing. Some cognitive psychologists who study the product of reading would also want to argue with the bias towards understanding the process of reading.
To their way of thinking, what people remember from what they read maybe more important than how they go about the chore of reading. However, the response to such a point is that understanding the process by which some mental structure is created almost logically entails understanding that structure. In contrast, understanding what gets stored in memory may not reveal much about the processes that created the structure. Thus, understanding what is in memory as a result of reading discourse may not be unique to reading; essentially the same structures may be created when people listen to discourse.
It is not saying that understanding the product of reading and how remarkable skill must be understood- quite apart from issues like general comprehension skills and intelligence. B. The Meaning of Developmental Reading C. The Teaching of Reading Traditionally, the purpose of learning to read in a language has been to have access to the literature written in that language. In language instruction, reading materials have traditionally been chosen from literary texts that represent “higher” forms of culture.
This approach assumes that students learn to read a language by studying its vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure, not by actually reading it. In this approach, lower level learners read only sentences and paragraphs generated by textbook writers and instructors. The reading of authentic materials is limited to the works of great authors and reserved for upper level students who have developed the language skills needed to read them. The communicative approach to language teaching has given instructors a different understanding of the role of reading in the language classroom and the types of texts that can be used in instruction.
When the goal of instruction is communicative competence, everyday materials such as train schedules, newspaper articles, and travel and tourism Web sites become appropriate classroom materials, because reading them is one way communicative competence is developed. Instruction in reading and reading practice thus become essential parts of language teaching at every level. What is reading? Reading about understands written texts. It is a complex activity that involves both perception and thought. Reading consists of two related processes: word recognition and comprehension.
Word recognition refers to the process of perceiving how written symbols correspond to one’s spoken language. Comprehension is the process of making sense of words, sentences and connected text. Readers typically make use of background knowledge, vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, experience with text and other strategies to help them understand written text. Much of what we know about reading is based on studies conducted in English and other alphabetic languages. The principles we list in this booklet are derived from them, but most also apply to non-alphabetic languages.
They will have to be modified to account for the specific language. Learning to read is an important educational goal. For both children and adults, the ability to read opens up new worlds and opportunities. It enables us to gain new knowledge, enjoy literature, and do everyday things that are part and parcel of modern life, such as, reading the newspapers, job listings, instruction manuals, maps and so on. Most people learn to read in their native language without difficulty. Many, but not all, learn to read as children.
Some children and adults need additional help. Yet others learn to read a second, third or additional language, with or without having learned to read in their first language. Reading instruction needs to take into account different types of learners and their needs. Research has shown that there is a great deal of transfer from learning to read in one language to learning to read in a second language. The principles outlined below are based on studies of children and adults, native speakers as well as those learning to read in a second or foreign language.
They deal with different aspects of reading that are important in the planning and design of instruction and materials. The practical applications are based on general learning principles, as well as on research. Briefly stated, these learning principles start with the learner in mind. The type of learner will affect the type of methods and materials to be used. The context of learning is also important. For instance, children and adults who are learning to read in a language different from their native language will also need to learn about the culture of the second or foreign language.
Because texts are written with a specific audience in mind, cultural knowledge is present in texts and it is assumed that the reader is familiar with such knowledge. Both research and classroom practices support the use of a balanced approach in instruction. Because reading depends on efficient word recognition and comprehension, instruction should develop reading skills and strategies, as well as build on learners’ knowledge through the use of authentic texts. 1. Theories of Reading Just like teaching methodology, reading theories have had their shifts and transitions.
Starting from the traditional view which focused on the printed form of a text and moving to the cognitive view that enhanced the role of background knowledge in addition to what appeared on the printed page; they ultimately culminated in the metacognitive view which is now in vogue. It is based on the control and manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending a text. a. The Traditional View According to Dole et al. (1991), in the traditional view of reading, novice readers acquire a set of hierarchically ordered sub-skills that sequentially build toward comprehension ability.
Having mastered these skills, readers are viewed as experts who comprehend what they read. • Readers are passive recipients of information in the text. Meaning resides in the text and the reader has to reproduce meaning. • According to Nunan (1991), reading in this view is basically a matter of decoding a series of written symbols into their aural equivalents in the quest for making sense of the text. He referred to this process as the ‘bottom-up’ view of reading. • McCarthy (1999) has called this view ‘outside-in’processing, referring to the idea that meaning exists in the printed page and is interpreted by the reader then taken in.
• This model of reading has almost always been underattack as being insufficient and defective for the main reason that it relies on the formal features of the language, mainly words and structure. Although it is possible to accept this rejection for the fact that there is over-reliance on structure in this view, it must be confessed that knowledge of linguistic features is also necessary for comprehension to take place. To counteract over-reliance on form in the traditional view of reading, the cognitive view was introduced. b. The Cognitive View.
The ‘top-down’ model is in direct opposition to the ‘bottom-up’ model. According to Nunan (1991) and Dubin and Bycina (1991), the psycholinguistic model of reading and the top-down model are in exact concordance. • Goodman (1967; cited in Paran, 1996) presented reading as a psycholinguistic guessing game, a process in which readers sample the text, make hypotheses, confirm or reject them, make new hypotheses, and so forth. Here, the reader rather than the text is at the heart of the reading process. • The schema theory of reading also fits within the cognitively based view of reading.
Rumelhart (1977) has described schemata as “building blocks of cognition” which are used in the process of interpreting sensory data, in retrieving information from memory, in organising goals and subgoals, in allocating resources, and in guiding the flow of the processing system. • Rumelhart (1977) has also stated that if our schemata are incomplete and do not provide an understanding of the incoming data from the text we will have problems processing and understanding the text. Cognitively based views of reading comprehension emphasize the interactive nature of reading and the constructive nature of comprehension.
Dole et al. (1991) have stated that, besides knowledge brought to bear on the reading process, a set of flexible, adaptable strategies are used to make sense of a text and to monitor ongoing understanding. c. The Metacognitive View According to Block (1992), there is now no more debate on “whether reading is a bottom-up, language-based process or a top-down, knowledge-based process. ” It is also no more problematic to accept the influence of background knowledge on both L1 and L2 readers. Research has gone even further to define the control readers execute on their ability to understand a text.
This control, Block (1992) has referred to as metacognition. Metacognition involves thinking about what one is doing while reading. Klein et al. (1991) stated that strategic readers attempt the following while reading: Identifying the purpose of the reading before reading Identifying the form or type of the text before reading Thinking about the general character and features of the form or type of the text. For instance, they try to locate a topic sentence and follow supporting details toward a conclusion Projecting the author’s purpose for writing the text (while reading it), Choosing, scanning, or reading in detail
Making continuous predictions about what will occur next, based on information obtained earlier, prior knowledge, and conclusions obtained within the previous stages. Moreover, they attempt to form a summary of what was read. Carrying out the previous steps requires the reader to be able to classify sequence, establish whole-part relationships, compare and contrast, determine cause-effect, summarise, hypothesise and predict, infer, and conclude. Tips and Guidelines for implementing a theory of reading which will help to develop the learner’s abilities Text characteristics.
Pre-reading tips During-reading tips After-reading tips These tips can be viewed in three consecutive stages: before reading, during reading, and after reading. For instance, before starting to read a text it is natural to think of the purpose of reading the text. As an example of the during-reading techniques, re-reading for better comprehension can be mentioned. And filling out forms and charts can be referred to as an after-reading activity. These tasks and ideas can be used to enhance reading comprehension. Text characteristics.
Good readers expect to understand what they are reading. Therefore, texts should contain words and grammatical structures familiar to the learners (Van Duzer, 1999). In texts where vocabulary is not familiar, teachers can introduce key vocabulary in pre-reading activities that focus on language awareness, such as finding synonyms, antonyms, derivatives, or associated words (Hood et al. , 1996; cited in Van Duzer, 1999). The topics of texts chosen should be in accordance with the age range, interests, sex, and background culture of the students for whom they are intended.
Pre-reading activities that introduce the text should encourage learners to use their background knowledge (Eskey, 1997; cited in Van Duzer, 1999). Class members can brainstorm ideas about the meaning of a title or an illustration and discuss what they know. Pre-reading tips Before the actual act of reading a text begins, some points should be regarded in order to make the process of reading more comprehensible. It is necessary to provide the necessary background information to the reader to facilitate comprehension.
In addition, as stated by Lebauer (1998), pre-reading activities can lighten students’ cognitive burden while reading because prior discussions will have been incorporated. Teacher-directed pre-reading (Estes, 1999) Some key vocabulary and ideas in the text are explained. In this approach the teacher directly explains the information the students will need, including key concepts, important vocabulary, and appropriate conceptual framework. Interactive approach (Estes, 1999).
In this method, the teacher leads a discussion in which he/she draws out the information students already have and interjects additional information deemed necessary to an understanding of the text to be read. Moreover, the teacher can make explicit links between prior knowledge and important information in the text. Purpose of reading It is also necessary for students to become aware of the purpose and goal for reading a certain piece of written material.
At the beginning stages this can be done by the teacher, but as the reader becomes more mature this purpose, i. e.awareness-raising strategy, can be left to the readers. For instance, the students may be guided to ask themselves, “Why am I reading this text? What do I want to know or do after reading? ” One of the most obvious, but unnoticed, points related to reading purpose is the consideration of the different types of reading skills. Skimming: Reading rapidly for the main points Scanning: Reading rapidly to find a specific piece of information Extensive reading: Reading a longer text, often for pleasure with emphasis on overall meaning Intensive reading: Reading a short text for detailed information.
The most frequently encountered reason as to why the four skills are all subsumed into one – intensive reading – is that students studying a foreign language feel the urge to look up every word they don’t understand and to pinpoint on every structural point they see unfamiliar. To make students aware of the different types of reading, ask them about the types of reading they do in their first language. The type of text – The reader must become familiar with the fact that texts may take on different forms and hold certain pieces of information in different places.
Thus, it is necessary to understand the layout of the material being read in order to focus more deeply on the parts that are more densely compacted with information. Even paying attention to the year of publication of a text, if applicable, may aid the reader in presuppositions about the text as can glancing at the name of the author. Steinhofer (1996) stated that the tips mentioned in pre-reading will not take a very long time to carry out. The purpose is to overcome the common urge to start reading a text closely right away from the beginning.
During-reading tips What follows are tips that encourage active reading. They consist of summarizing, reacting, questioning, arguing, evaluating, and placing a text within one’s own experience. These processes may be the most complex to develop in a classroom setting, the reason being that in English reading classes most attention is often paid to dictionaries, the text, and the teacher. Interrupting this routine and encouraging students to dialogue with what they are reading without coming between them and the text presents a challenge to the EFL teacher.
Duke and Pearson (2001) have stated that good readers are active readers. According to Ur (1996), Vaezi (2001), and Fitzgerald (1995), they use the following strategies. Making predictions: The readers should be taught to be on the watch to predict what is going to happen next in the text to be able to integrate and combine what has come with what is to come. Making selections: Readers who are more proficient read selectively, continually making decisions about their reading.
Integrating prior knowledge: The schemata that have been activated in the pre-reading section should be called upon to facilitate comprehension. Skipping insignificant parts: A good reader will concentrate on significant pieces of information while skipping insignificant pieces. Re-reading: Readers should be encouraged to become sensitive to the effect of reading on their comprehension. Making use of context or guessing: Readers should not be encouraged to define and understand every single unknown word in a text. Instead they should learn to make use of context to guess the meaning of unknown words.
Breaking words into their component parts: To keep the process of comprehension ongoing, efficient readers break words into their affixes or bases. These parts can help readers guess the meaning of a word. Reading in chunks: To ensure reading speed, readers should get used to reading groups of words together. This act will also enhance comprehension by focusing on groups of meaning-conveying symbols simultaneously. Pausing: Good readers will pause at certain places while reading a text to absorb and internalize the material being read and sort out information.
Paraphrasing: While reading texts it may be necessary to paraphrase and interpret texts subvocally in order to verify what was comprehended. Monitoring: Good readers monitor their understanding to evaluate whether the text, or the reading of it, is meeting their goals. After-reading tips It is necessary to state that post-reading activities almost always depend on the purpose of reading and the type of information extracted from the text. Barnett (1988) has stated that post-reading exercises first check students’ comprehension and then lead students to a deeper analysis of the text.
In the real world the purpose of reading is not to memorize an author’s point of view or to summarize text content, but rather to see into another mind, or to mesh new information into what one already knows. Group discussion will help students focus on information they did not comprehend, or did comprehend correctly. Accordingly, attention will be focused on processes that lead to comprehension or miscomprehension. Generally speaking, post-reading can take the form of various activities as presented below: Discussing the text: Written/Oral Summarizing: Written/Oral Making questions: Written/Oral.
Answering questions: Written/Oral Filling in forms and charts Writing reading logs Completing a text Listening to or reading other related materials Role-playing 2. The Reading Purpose Reading is an activity with a purpose. A person may read in order to gain information or verify existing knowledge, or in order to critique a writer’s ideas or writing style. A person may also read for enjoyment, or to enhance knowledge of the language being read. The purpose(s) for reading guide the reader’s selection of texts. The purpose for reading also determines the appropriate approach to reading comprehension.
A person who needs to know whether she can afford to eat at a particular restaurant needs to comprehend the pricing information provided on the menu, but does not need to recognize the name of every appetizer listed. A person reading poetry for enjoyment needs to recognize the words the poet uses and the ways they are put together, but does not need to identify main idea and supporting details. However, a person using a scientific article to support an opinion needs to know the vocabulary that is used, understand the facts and cause-effect sequences that are presented, and recognize ideas that are presented as hypotheses and givens.
Reading research shows that good readers Read extensively Integrate information in the text with existing knowledge Have a flexible reading style, depending on what they are reading Are motivated Rely on different skills interacting: perceptual processing, phonemic processing, recall Read for a purpose; reading serves a function Reading as a Process Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension. The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader uses knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine what that meaning is.
Reader knowledge, skills, and strategies include Linguistic competence: the ability to recognize the elements of the writing system; knowledge of vocabulary; knowledge of how words are structured into sentences Discourse competence: knowledge of discourse markers and how they connect parts of the text to one another Sociolinguistic competence: knowledge about different types of texts and their usual structure and content Strategic competence: the ability to use top-down strategies, as well as knowledge of the language (a bottom-up strategy).
The purpose(s) for reading and the type of text determine the specific knowledge, skills, and strategies that readers need to apply to achieve comprehension. Reading comprehension is thus much more than decoding. Reading comprehension results when the reader knows which skills and strategies are appropriate for the type of text, and understands how to apply them to accomplish the reading purpose. Developmentally Appropriate Materials for Preschool and Kindergarten Children (Ages 3-6).
Materials for preschoolers and kindergarteners should support their developing social skills and interest in adult roles, growing imaginations, increasing motor skills, and rapidly expanding vocabularies. Refer to the table below for examples of developmentally appropriate materials for preschool and kindergarten children. Type of Material Appropriate Materials Examples Skill/concept Books/records Picture books, simple and repetitive stories and rhymes, animal stories, pop-up books, simple information books, wide variety of musical recordings.
Games Socially interactive games with adults, such as What If; matching and lotto games based on colors and pictures, such as picture bingo or dominoes; games of chance with a few pieces that require no reading, such as Chutes and Ladders; flannel board with pictures, letters, and storybook characters Gross motor Active play Push and pull toys; ride-on toys; balls of all kinds; indoor slide and climber; rocking boat Outdoor Climbers, rope ladders, balls of all sizes; old tires, sand and water materials Manipulative Fine motor.
Dressing frames; toys to put together and take apart; cookie cutters, stamp and printing materials, finger paint, modeling dough, small objects to sort and classify; bead stringing with long, thin string; pegs and small pegs; colored cubes, table blocks, magnetic board/letters/numbers and shapes; perception boards and mosaics Puzzles and form boards Fit-in or framed puzzles (for 3-year-olds: from 4-20 pieces, for 4-year-olds: from 15-30 pieces, for 5-year-olds: from 15-50 pieces); large, simple jigsaws; number/letter/clock puzzles Investigative.
Toys, globe flashlight, magnets, lock boxes, weather forecasting equipment, scales, balances, stethoscopes Construction Building sets Small and large unit blocks; large hollow blocks; from age 4, interlocking plastic blocks with pieces of all sizes Carpentry Workbench, hammer, preschool nails, saw, sandpaper, pounding benches, safety goggles Self-expressive Dolls and soft toys Realistic dolls and accessories; play settings and play people (e. g. , farm, hospital) Dramatic play Dress-up clothes, realistic tools, toy camera, telephone, household furniture.
Sensory Tactile boxes; auditory and musical materials such as smelling and sound boxes; cooking experiences Art/music All rhythm instruments, music boxes; large crayons, paint, paste, glue, chalkboard and chalk, sewing kits, collage materials, markers, modeling dough, blunt scissors Natural and everyday Sand and water Sandbox tools, bubbles, water toys Old clocks, radios, cameras, telephones; telephone books; mirrors; doctor kits; typewriter; magazines; fabric scraps; computer; cash register and receipts; measuring cups and muffin tins 3.
Basic Reading Skills a. Skimming – is used to quickly gather the most important information, or ‘gist’. Run your eyes over the text, noting important information. Use skimming to quickly get up to speed on a current business situation. It’s not essential to understand each word when skimming. Examples of Skimming: The Newspaper (quickly to get the general news of the day) Magazines (quickly to discover which articles you would like to read in more detail) Business and Travel Brochures (quickly to get informed) b. Scanning- is used to find a particular piece of information.
Run your eyes over the text looking for the specific piece of information you need. Use scanning on schedules, meeting plans, etc. in order to find the specific details you require. If you see words or phrases that you don’t understand, don’t worry when scanning. Examples of Scanning The “What’s on TV” section of your newspaper. A train / airplane schedule A conference guide c. Extensive reading- is used to obtain a general understanding of a subject and includes reading longer texts for pleasure, as well as business books.
Use extensive reading skills to improve your general knowledge of business procedures. Do not worry if you understand each word. Examples of Extensive Reading The latest marketing strategy book A novel you read before going to bed Magazine articles that interest you d. Intensive reading – is used on shorter texts in order to extract specific information. It includes very close accurate reading for detail. Use intensive reading skills to grasp the details of a specific situation. In this case, it is important that you understand each word, number or fact.
Examples of Intensive Reading A bookkeeping report An insurance claim A contract Essential Components of Reading Reading is an astoundingly complex cognitive process. While we often think of reading as one singular act, our brains are actually engaging in a number of tasks simultaneously each time we sit down with a book. There are five aspects to the process of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency. These five aspects work together to create the reading experience.
As children learn to read they must develop skills in all five of these areas in order to become successful readers. 1. Phonics Phonics is the connection between sounds and letter symbols. It is also the combination of these sound-symbol connections to create words. Without phonics, words are simply a bunch of squiggles and lines on a page. If you think about it, letters are arbitrary. There is nothing innately bed-like about the written word “bed”. It is simply the collection of letters and corresponding sounds that we agree constitute the word “bed”.
Learning to make that connection between the individual sounds that each letter represents and then putting those together is essential to understanding what that funny squiggle means. There are a number of ways that phonics can be taught because there is a variety of ways to apply this aspect when reading. Each approach allows the reader to use phonics to read and learn new words in a different way. Synthetic phonics builds words from the ground up. In this approach readers are taught to first connect letters to their corresponding phonemes (sound units) and then to blend those together to create a word.
Analytic phonics, on the other hand, approaches words from the top down. A word is identified as a whole unit and then its letter-sound connections are parsed out. Analogy phonics uses familiar parts of words to discover new words. Finally, phonics through spelling focuses on connecting sounds with letters in writing. All of these approaches can be taught and used independently or in combination to help young readers learn to identify new words. 2. Phonemic Awareness Phonemic awareness is closely related to phonics because both involve the connection between sounds and words.