Reading Skills Essay
Introduction Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning (reading comprehension). It is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. Like all language, it is a complex interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge, experiences, attitude, and language community which is culturally and socially situated. The reading process requires continuous practice, development, and refinement.
Readers use a variety of reading strategies to assist with decoding (to translate symbols into sounds or visual representations of speech) and comprehension. Readers integrate the words they have read into their existing framework of knowledge or schema. Reading is a process very much determined by what the reader’s brain and emotions and beliefs bring to the reading; the knowledge/information (or misinformation) strategies for processing text, moods, fears and joys—all of it.
The strategies one uses vary according to one’s purpose, including whether one is reading for oneself only (still the purposes vary) or for somebody else, such as reading to answer comprehension questions, reading to perform for listeners (including the teacher and classmates), and much more. Of course these social factors may generate confidence, fear, anger, defiance, and/or other emotions—it just depends. In sum, reading is both a psycholinguistic process (involving the mind actively processing the text) and a sociolinguistic one (with multiple social factors that can affect how one reads, how much one gleans from the reading, and more).
Even word identification itself can be affected by these factors, because reading is as much or more a brain-to-text process as a text-to-brain process. For strong readers, the reading process may take only milliseconds. For beginning readers the process may be slower, yet rewarding, and over time will become automatic. For readers who are challenged, this process can be tiresome and frustrating. 2 Importance of Reading Process It is a well-known fact that when there were no televisions or computers, reading was a primary leisure activity.
People would spend hours reading books and travel to lands far away-in their minds. The only tragedy is that, with time, people have lost their skill and passion to read. There are many other exciting and thrilling options available, aside from books. And that is a shame because reading offers a productive approach to improving vocabulary and word power. It is advisable to indulge in at least half an hour of reading a day to keep abreast of the various styles of writing and new vocabulary. It is observed that children and teenagers who love reading have comparatively higher IQs.
They are more creative and do better in school and college. It is recommended that parents to inculcate the importance of reading to their children in the early years. Reading is said to significantly help in developing vocabulary, and reading aloud helps to build a strong emotional bond between parents and children. The children who start reading from an early age are observed to have good language skills, and they grasp the variances in phonics much better. Reading helps in mental development and is known to stimulate the muscles of the eyes.
Reading is an activity that involves greater levels of concentration and adds to the conversational skills of the reader. It is an indulgence that enhances the knowledge acquired, consistently. The habit of reading also helps readers to decipher new words and phrases that they come across in everyday conversations. The habit can become a healthy addiction and adds to the information available on various topics. It helps us to stay in-touch with contemporary writers as well as those from the days of yore and makes us sensitive to global issues.
Fluent reading: During the reading process, there is interplay between the reader’s preexisting knowledge and the written content. Fluent reading is an active process in which the reader calls on experience, language, and prior knowledge to anticipate and understand the author’s written language. Thus, readers both bring meaning to print and take meaning from print. The nature of the reading process alters as person matures in reading. In the early stages of reading, word identification requires a reader’s concentration.
Eventually, however, readers are able to use their reading ability (ability to interpret written language) for pleasure, appreciation, knowledge acquisition, and functional purposes. Thus, reading competence has many faces. Proficient, fluent readers locate materials and ideas that enable them to fulfill particular purposes, which may be to follow directions, to complete job applications, or to appreciate Shakespearean plays. In addition, fluent readers adjust their reading style as they move from narrative to expository content. 3 Three Stages of Reading:
In order to achieve your goals regarding flexible and fluent reading, you must learn certain reading behaviors and then practice them until they become automatic. We call this practicing to the point of automaticity. In this way you will learn to increase your reading rate, maintain your focus and concentration, and enhance your comprehension. Reading process organizes itself most naturally into an examination of three phases: * Pre-reading. * Active reading . * Post-reading. * Pre-reading: It involves following functions: * Get the big picture – overview skimming * Identify the main idea/thesis.
* Read headings and sub-headings * Read captions accompanying pictures/graphics * Active Reading: * Think as one reads; read for ideas and concepts. * Visualize patterns. * Actively construct meaning. * Anticipate upcoming information. * Verify the main idea and identify significant details. * Consciously add to or modify schema integrating old and new knowledge. * Self-monitor; assess one’s understanding. * Evaluate comprehension. * Employ fix-up strategies as appropriate. * Post Reading: * Evaluate understanding/ comprehension * Evaluate one’s reading processing. * Did one choose an appropriate mode?
* What changes do one needs to make in his/her reading? * What did one do well that he/she wants to repeat in future reading? 4 Types of Reading Following are the types of reading: * Scanning type of reading * Skimming type of reading * Light type of reading * Word by word type reading * Reading to study type of reading * Sub-vocalization • Scanning Type of Reading: This type of reading involves running the eyes over quickly, to get the gist. For example, scanning a telephone book: * You are looking for it quickly. * You know what you are searching for (key words and names).
* You ‘see’ every item on the page, but you don’t necessarily read the pages – you ignore anything you are not looking for. Thus, when you discover the key words being searched for, you will be unable to recall the exact content of the page • Skimming Type of Reading: When you read quickly to gain a general impression as to whether the text is of use to you. You are not necessarily searching for a specific item and key words. Skimming provides an ‘overview’ of the text. Skimming is useful to look at chapter/section headings, summaries and opening paragraphs.
Looking over the text quickly to get a general idea of the content. Your eyes move quite fast, taking in titles of chapters, their beginnings and ends, and the first sentences of paragraphs. The purpose of skimming: * To check relevance of text. * Sets the scene for the more concentrated effort that is to follow, if the text is useful. • Light Type of Reading: Reading for leisure tends to be ‘light’. For example: * Read at a pace which feels comfortable. * Read with understand. * Skim the boring, irrelevant passages. 5 An average light reading speed is 100-200 words per minute.
This form of reading does not generally require detailed concentration. This is reading fairly quickly without concentrating too hard or worrying about every single word. We often use it when reading an enjoyable novel. • Word by word Type of Reading: This type of reading is time consuming and demands a high level of concentration. Some material is not readily understood and so requires a slow and careful analytical read. People use this type of reading for unfamiliar words and concepts, scientific formulae. It can take up to an hour just to read a few lines of text. • Reading to Study Type of Reading:
A method of reading for with the aim to understand the material in some depth. The method involves five simple steps; Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review. Study reading involves thinking about what is being read so that it is understood and can be recalled. It needs to be worked at, with time for reflection, thought, analysis, criticism, comparison, notes made, points highlighted and emphasized, arguments followed and evaluated, the whole summarized. * Survey: skim through to gain an overview and not key points. * Question: devise questions you hope the text will answer.
* Read: slowly and carefully. * Recall: from memory, write down the main points made by the chapter. * Review: revisit your questions – compare these to your recall and establish how well the text has answered them; fill in any gaps by further reading and note-taking. • Sub-vocalization: This is reading very slowly and methodically, either saying the words out loud or at least with a ‘voice’ in your head. It is painstaking but very slow. We tend to use it when trying out a recipe for the first time, or carrying out instructions as to how to assemble something we’ve bought. 6.
Reading Skills Reading involves a combination of skills used simultaneously. Children begin with basic phonics but soon learn fluency and comprehension skills to make their reading experiences meaningful. The main goal of reading understands. If students can pronounce words but do not understand what they are reading, they are merely reciting word. Some of the important reading skills are: * Decoding * Fluency * Comprehension * Critical reading skills • Decoding Skills: Decoding (also known as Word attack skills) is an early reading skill students learn in kindergarten and first grade.
Decoding (sounding out) words are the foundation of reading instruction. Phonics is the method teachers use to instruct students. Letter-naming and recognition is taught along with initial sounds. Children must understand that each letter is represented by a corresponding sound before they can read text. Once children know sounds, they learn to blend them into words. This skill, phoneme segmentation, should be practiced daily along with alphabet and sound fluency until decoding becomes an automatic procedure. • Fluency Skills:
Fluency is the ability to read accurately and expressively while maintaining a rate of speed that facilitates comprehension. Students learn fluency in a variety of ways. Teachers model fluent reading in the classroom, and students listen to books on CD. Students receive direct instruction in fluency through guided practice using methods like choral and repeated readings. Teachers assess fluency with timed readings that give a score in words read per minute. Students who fall below the average score for their grade level receive additional, individual help. • Comprehension Skills:
Comprehension is the ability to understand what has been read. Comprehending involves strategies that students learn to use when reading independently. Teachers focus on several key comprehension skills. These are inferring, predicting, comparing and contrasting, sequencing and summarizing. Students usually learn how to use these strategies in a small group guided by the teacher who demonstrates their use. Students then practice comprehension techniques with a partner by discussing what they read, making connections with prior knowledge and identifying the main ideas in the story. 7 • Critical Reading Skills:
Critical reading skills are the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize what one reads. They are the ability to see relationships of ideas and use them as an aid in reading. As readers make sense of what they read, they use various relationships of ideas to aid recognition and fluency. Critical reading as a goal includes the ability to evaluate ideas socially or politically. 8 Reading Strategies Reading is not just pronouncing words—it requires understanding. Most experienced readers use a variety of strategies to understand texts. Reading strategies are used many times rapidly, in unison with one another.
Therefore, most reading strategies are evident before, during, and after reading, although not necessarily with the same emphasis. Some of the reading strategies are: * Predicting * Connecting * Inferring * Synthesizing * Visualizing * Self-Questioning * Skimming * Scanning * Determining Importance * Summarizing/Paraphrasing * Re-reading * Reading On * Adjusting Reading Rate * Sounding Out * Chunking * Using Analogy * Consulting Reference The following descriptions of each strategy give some indication of when in the reading process they are generally employed.
Different texts and different contexts require readers to use different reading strategies at different times. For example, “synthesizing” is used during and after reading while “scanning” is typically used before close reading. Here are the major reading strategies associated with the process of reading: * Predicting: Predicting helps readers to activate their prior knowledge about a topic, beginning the process of combining what they know with new material in the text. Predictions are not merely wild guesses, they are based on clues within the text such as pictures, illustrations, subtitles, and 9 plot.
Clues for predictions will also come from readers’ prior knowledge about the author, text form, or content. Readers can be encouraged to make personal predictions before and during reading. During reading, effective readers adjust and refine their earlier predictions as new information is gathered and new connections are made. They tend to rehearse what they have learned and move on with some expectations of what comes next. * Connecting: Efficient readers comprehend text through making strong connections between their prior knowledge and the new information presented in text.
The type of connections made by efficient readers can be categorized into: * Text-to-Self Connections: Involves readers thinking about their life and connecting their own personal experiences to the information in the text. * Text-to-Text Connections: Involves readers thinking about other texts written by the same author or with common themes, style, organization, structure, characters or content. * Text-to-World Connections: Involves readers thinking about what they know about the world outside their personal experience, their family, or their community * Inferring:
Efficient readers take information from a text and add their own ideas to make inferences. During the process of inferring, readers make predictions, draw conclusions, and make judgments to create a unique interpretation of a text. Making inferences allows students to move beyond the literal text and to make assumptions about what is not precisely stated in the text. Efficient readers also can infer the meaning of unknown words using context clues, pictures, or diagrams. * Synthesizing: When comprehending text, efficient readers use synthesizing to bring together information within a text.
Synthesizing involves readers piecing information together, like putting together a jigsaw. This activity encourages them to keep track of what is happening in the text. During the process of synthesizing, readers may be connecting, inferring, determining importance, posing questions, and creating images. * Visualizing: Efficient readers use all five senses to create images continually as they read text. The created images are based on their prior knowledge. Sensory images created by readers 10 help them to draw conclusions, make predictions, interpret information, remember details, and assist with overall comprehension.
Images may be visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, or emotional. * Self-Questioning: Self-questioning is the strategy effective readers use to draw on existing knowledge, to investigate a text as it is read, to analyse the beliefs and motives behind the author’s surface meaning, and to monitor comprehension. Whether posed in-head, sub-vocalized or noted in writing, self-questioning is critical to maintaining connections between existing and new knowledge. Self-formulated questions provide a framework for active reading by directing the reader’s attention to key information.
Efficient readers continually form questions in their minds before, during, and after reading to assist in comprehending text. Often these questions are formed spontaneously and naturally, with one question leading to the next. Questions may relate to the content, style, structure, important messages, events, actions, inferences, predictions, author’s purpose, or may be an attempt to clarify meaning. Self-formulated questions provide a framework for active reading, engaging readers in the text as they go in search of answers. * Skimming:
Skimming is glancing through material to gain a general impression or overview of the content. It involves passing over much of the detail to get the gist of a text. Skimming is the most common strategy used by a reader to assess quickly whether a text is going to meet his or her purpose. Effective skimming lets a reader know in general terms how difficult a text is, how long it is, how it is structured, and where the most useful information can be found. Effective skimming strategies are critical for adolescents due to the volume of electronic text they read.
Websites, CD ROMs, and multimedia texts are designed for, and subject to rapid reading practices where the reader gets the gist from sub-headings and key points, determines difficulty and usefulness, and assesses the content flow. Skimming is often used before reading to • assess quickly whether a text is going to meet a purpose; • determine what is to be read; • determine what’s important and what may not be relevant; • review text organization; • activate prior knowledge. * Scanning: Scanning involves glancing through material to locate specific details such as names, dates, places, or some particular content.
For instance, readers might scan a contents page or index to find the page number of a specific topic. They may scan a dictionary or telephone book in search of a particular word or name, or they may scan as they re-read 11 a text to substantiate particular responses. Like skimming, scanning is particularly important for comprehending selected parts of websites, CD ROMs, and multimedia texts. Readers may also scan a text looking for picture clues that may help them to identify any unknown words. * Determining Importance: Efficient readers constantly ask themselves what is most important or what the main idea is of what they are reading.
They benefit from understanding how to determine the important information, particularly in informational texts. Factors such as purpose for reading, knowledge of topic, prior experiences, beliefs, and understanding of text organization help readers to identify important information in a text * Summarizing/Paraphrasing: Linked closely to the strategy of determining importance, summarizing/paraphrasing is the process of identifying, recording, and writing the most important information from a text into one’s own words. The ability to reduce a larger piece of text to its most important messages is
done through summarizing. The re-statement of the text is referred to as paraphrasing. Summarizing/paraphrasing involves using key words and phrases to capture the general gist of a text. * Re-Reading: Efficient readers understand the benefits of re-reading whole texts or parts of texts to clarify or enhance meaning. Reading or hearing a text more than once benefits all readers, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the text. Re-reading can also be used as a word-identification strategy. Efficient readers sometimes re-read to work out the meaning of difficult words using context clues.
The opportunity to re-read a text also helps to improve fluency * Reading On: When readers cannot decode an unfamiliar word within a text, they can make use of the “Reading On” strategy. Skipping the unfamiliar word and reading on to the end of the sentence or the next two or three sentences often provides the reader with sufficient context clues to help determine the unknown word. Once the unknown word has been determined it is important for students to re-read that section of text. “Reading On” also refers to continuing to read in an attempt to clarify meaning that may have been lost.
* Adjusting Reading Rate: It is important that students give themselves permission to adjust their reading rate and to recognize when this may be necessary. The purpose for reading will often dictate the 12 most appropriate rate. Readers may slowdown to understand new information, to clarify meaning, to create sensory images, or to ask questions. Readers may also speed up when scanning for key words or skimming to get an overall impression of a text. * Sounding Out: When adolescents meet new and unfamiliar words, they will use their knowledge of letter/sound relationships to identify them. * Chunking:
As readers encounter greater numbers of multi-syllabic words, it is important to encourage students to break words into units larger than individual phonemes or single sounds (/b/). Readers might chunk words by pronouncing word parts such as onset and rime (spr-ing), letter combinations (ough), syllables, or parts of the word known as morphemes which carry meaning (ed, ing). * Using Analogy: When readers manipulate or think about words they know in order to identify unknown words, they are using analogy. They transfer what they know about familiar words to help them identify unfamiliar words.
When using analogy, students will transfer their knowledge of common letter sequences, onset and rimes, base words, word parts that carry meaning, or whole words. * Consulting Reference: The use of word-identification strategies such as “sounding out” or “chunking” may unlock both the pronunciation and meaning of words. However, if the word is not in a reader’s meaning vocabulary, the reader may not be able to understand the meaning of the word. Consulting a reference is an additional strategy that supports students to unlock word meaning.
Being taught how to use a dictionary, thesaurus, reference chart, or glossary will help students locate the meanings, pronunciations, or derivations of unfamiliar words. 13 Conclusion: As the discussed topics demonstrate, the process of reading for meaning has bottom-line commonalities. Among these, perhaps oddly, is that at any given moment, one cannot reliably predict what a reader will do next. Eric Paulson (2005) has drawn an analogy between eye movements and the weather, both of which can be described in terms of chaos theory in physics, he argues, but neither of which is exactly predictable.
And he writes: “When looked at through the lens of chaos theory, reading is clearly not a process of plodding along the text at some regular, predetermined rate but is instead a process that ebbs and flows” (p. 355).
We set our purposes (or not), begin to read, perhaps question what we are reading, maybe return and reread, sometimes read ahead, go back again, maybe skim or skip some, occasionally decide not to finish reading whatever it is, maybe go ahead and read at least the headings (of an informational selection) and the conclusion, or the final chapter or page (if a novel or short story)—all the while using strategies that are universal among proficient readers, but uniquely applied.
Metaphorically, during any reading event, reading ebbs and flows, like waves. We might think of waves crashing upon the beach as meaning achieved (and perhaps examined critically), the end product of reading a stretch of text. But with such achievement, the reader is simultaneously and near simultaneously processing other parts or aspects of text and the ideas in ways that are unpredictable at the micro level.
This is akin to what we often see on a beach: different waves, and different aspects of the reading process, forming, swelling, cresting, crashing, and ebbing. While one part of the reading process and event crashes and ebbs—with something processed into short- or even long-term memory, perhaps—other facets of the process are just beginning again, increasing, coming to a head, collapsing into memory (or not), and receding from the reader’s immediate attention.
Yes, while I often speak of the reading process, as if this cognitive and constructive process were totally uniform, during any given reading event, whoever the Although, reading means different things to different people and skills vary with every individual, reading is a skill that can be improved. Students from various backgrounds are in reading courses for a variety of reasons. Weaknesses in vocabulary, comprehension, speed, or a combination of all three may be the result of ineffective reading habits. Active reading is engaged reading and can be achieved through comprehension regulation strategies.
We should never take reading for granted, for many, these skills come slowly and with a great deal of difficulty. It is important to use a multi-sensory approach whenever possible, some memory training, tap into previous knowledge before moving forward and make it meaningful. 14 References * http://en. wikipedia. org * http://www. heinemann. com * http://www. palomar. edu * http://ababasoft. com * http://www. scribd. com * http://www. sil. org * http://www. ehow. com * http://www. stepspd. com * http://www. palomar. edu.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 15 October 2016
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