A Historical Perspective on Reading Research and Practice
A Historical Perspective on Reading Research and Practice
This article has responded to both internal and external forces resulting from gradual and dramatic transitions based on historical perspectives. This has permitted a reasonable reflection and a sense of wisdom that is susceptible to loss when one engages in it. The underlying reason is the critical dimension to the present day events and issues analysis resulting from the broadened reading culture. In the late 20th century, reading became a recognized study field with systematic research programs aiming at ascertaining its fundamental nature and its acquisition process.
This resulted from the confluence of social, educational, political and economic factors. Quantitative and qualitative changes in U. S. public schools’ systems after the World War II provided favorable environment for the reading transitions. Reading processes and skills were broken down into constituent parts which were practiced and reinforced in a systematic and orderly manner during classroom sections. Reading became a conditioned behavior based on certain environmental contingencies.
Individuals positively responded to learning from repeated and controlled stimulation from the environment. This stimulus-response relationship was accompanied by rewards and punishments led to the habituation of the reading act (Alexander & Fox, 2004). Therefore, academic learning involved identification of the preferred behaviors prerequisites and training. This aimed at untangling the chained links in reading so as to train the learner in each component skill.
In addition, material effectiveness was structured and controlled in the delivery of environmental stimulation and practice opportunities. Emphasis on studying observable behavior focused on reading as a perceptual activity which included identification of visual signals and validating diagnostic instruments and remedial techniques. However, alternative human learning theories which focused on perceptual process as a whole still operated on underground which examined that reading is per introspection rather than through behavior.
Human beings could make a coherent sense out of the perceptional data through whole-word recognition, context comprehension and word identification thus considering reading as a unique human activity owning definitive characteristics. Increased interest in internal mental structures and processes ignited by the advancements in neurology and artificial intelligence has caused transformations in the learning institutions. Moreover, the dissatisfaction with behaviorism as an explanatory system caused changes.
The article points that present institutions should conceptualize learning as a natural process rather than conditioning and that language should be developed through a meaningful use. Also learning to read should be viewed as an inherent ability rather than a reflective action with laborious skill acquisition. As a result, reading research unified the literacy field through language arts. Learning to read became a matter of arriving at a facility due to the understanding quest within a language-rich environment.
The growing attention to the structure and processes of the human mind and increased federal funding by the Unites States led to creation of research centers caused another theoretical transformation. These new researchers explained human language as an interaction between symbol system and mind. Learning as a natural metaphor was replaced with a mechanistic information processing metaphor. Text-based as a form of learning, involved knowledge which was organized and stored within the individual mind (Alexander & Fox, 2004).
In addition, Knowledge base was depicted as powerful, persuasive, individualistic and modifiable since it was linked to the individual’s perspectives on what they had read, their interpretation and recall out of the written text. The information processing of this period resulted in cognition-related constructs which strengthened the aforementioned characteristics of knowledge. Furthermore, it focused on the individual mind. This was because the computer-based guiding had little considerations of socio-cultural influences in processing linguistic information.
To add on, the research studies stressed on individualistic interpretations of written text and exhibited that the knowledge of the students could be greatly modified through training, direct intervention and/or overt instructions. Other contributors of improved text comprehension were instructional environments and pedagogical techniques. In view of any reading approach, there must be a shift away from the neurological argument to much concern for naturalism in the materials and procedures used to teach reading. Moreover, they should create unity within the language arts.
The cognitive psychology gave a new viewpoint for literacy and educational researchers. It studied literacy with naturally occurring texts in natural settings with holistic and aesthetic school of thought. It aimed creating a mutual understanding arising in the social interaction of individuals in particular contexts at a time (Alexander & Fox, 2004). The dominant perspective was learning being a socio-cultural collaborative experience and the learner being a member of the learning community.
Reform on modern schools Present day schools should anticipate for motivation in the form of readers’ achievement of goals, interest and involvement in the learning experience with change in perception of texts, reader and reading. This can be achieved due to the introduction of the hypermedia and hypertext forms of learning which has increased the attention in classroom discourse thus improving the students’ academic. Effective orientation has to be done so as to capture the complexity of reading and recognize the changing nature of reading as the reader engages in a range of reading-related, goal-directed activities.
With the dichotomization of reading into learning to read and reading to learn, it has led to integrated and developmental learning perspective. Engaged learning has led to the acknowledgement of the fact that reading extends to the texts students come across daily such as nonlinear, interactive, dynamic and visually complex materials transmitted using audiovisual media. Current learning institutions should learn about the potentials of alternatives nonlinear media and examine how pedagogical techniques and learning environments can be adapted to aid readers from struggling with traditional texts.
Students should be encouraged to participate in meaningful and goal-directed text-based learning. Moreover, attention should be drawn to create a personally and socially valuable body of knowledge. Strategies are put in place to promote reflection, choice and deliberate execution on the learner’s part which actively engages the leaner thus developing the reading perspective. To be complete, readers, and learners should focus on demonstrating fluency in reading and other basic linguistic skills.
Workable solutions Some of workable solutions would include provision of personally relevant texts, both traditional and alternative that will promote deeper and wider student engagement in their learning. Putting in place technological advancements capable of transforming learning and teaching through production of proliferated information sources and different text types can also be productive. Involving high-stakes testing and efforts to institute national standards have hastened the students’ learning since they prescribe the content and skills learners should have acquired at various institutional levels.
Investments in basic reading skills and components in special education institutions have helped struggling readers since researchers have greatly supported. Changes which might improve things One of major consideration that should be put in place is recognition of the fact that reading is invariably physiological, psychological and sociological thus an integrated orientation is a prerequisite. Therefore physical, visual, and neurological stimuli to the learning processes should also be employed.
In addition, every reading process needs to enhance the psychological interpretation, storage and retrieval of text, goals formulation and expression of interests. Sociologically, a reading culture that focuses in intra-individual and inter-individual communication through linguistic media that are socio-culturally influenced can also play a big role in changing the existing education. Lastly, a fine-grained reading view that incorporate brain structures and mental activities of an individual and social behavior have to be integrated meaningfully throughout these orientations.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 September 2016
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