What is a Reading Model? IntroductionIntroduction In the last 40 years reading researchers have been studying the link between the reading process (what goes on in the brain) and how to teach reading. Depending on their interpretation of the reading process, they have developed a model of reading.
DefinitionA reading model is a graphic attempt “to depict howan individual perceives a word, processes a clause,and comprehends a text.” (Singer and Ruddell 1985) KindsHere are some kinds of reading models.Although there are many models of reading, readingresearchers tend to classify them into three kinds.
A. Top-downA. Top-down IntroductionTop-down reading models suggest that processing of a text begins in the mind of the readers with: *meaning-driven processes, or*an assumption about the meaning of a text.From this perspective, readers identify letters and words only to confirm their assumptions about the meaning of the text. (Dechant 1991)
ProponentsHere are some proponents of the top-down readingmodel: Goodman, K. 1985 Smith, F. 1994The proponents generally agree that :*comprehension is the basis for decoding skills, not asingular result, and*meaning is brought to print, not derived from print.
DefinitionA top-down reading model is a reading model that:*emphasizes what the reader brings to the text*says reading is driven by meaning, and*proceeds from whole to part.Also known as:*inside-out model*concept-driven model*whole to part model
DiscussionHere are the views of some researchers about the top-downreading model:Frank Smith, a journalist turned reading researcher:*Reading is not decoding written language to spoken language.*Reading does not involve the processing of each letter andeach word.*Reading is a matter of bringing meaning to print, notextracting meaning from print. (McCormick, T. 1988)
Kenneth S. Goodman, reading specialist at the University ofArizona:* “...the goal of reading is constructing meaning in response totext...It requires interactive use of grapho-phonic, syntactic, andsemantic cues to construct meaning.” (Goodman, K. 1981).* Although Goodman is often referred to as a leading advocateof the top-down approach, his model by his own admission isinteractive, “...it is one which uses print as input and hasmeaning as output. But the reader provides input too, and thereader, interacting with text, is selective in using just as little ofthe cues from text as necessary to construct meaning.” (Goodman, K. 1981)
DID YOU KNOW?DID YOU KNOW?A widely accepted educational philosophy thatutilizes a top-down approach to reading is calledwhole language.
FeaturesHere are some features of a top-down approach to reading (Gove 1983): Readers can comprehend a selection even though they do not recognize eachword. Readers should use meaning and grammatical cues to identify unrecognizedwords. Reading for meaning is the primary objective of reading rather than masteryof letters, letter/sound relationships, and words. Reading requires the use of meaning activities rather than the mastery of aseries of word-recognition skills. The primary focus of instruction should be the reading of sentences,paragraphs, and whole selections. The most important aspect about reading is the amount and kind ofinformation gained through reading.
B. Bottom-upB. Bottom-up IntroductionIntroductionA bottom-up reading model emphasizes a single-A bottom-up reading model emphasizes a single-direction, part-to-whole processing of a text.direction, part-to-whole processing of a text.In the beginning stages it gives little emphasis to theIn the beginning stages it gives little emphasis to theinfluences of the readers world knowledge,influences of the readers world knowledge, contextualcontextualinformation, and other higher-order processinginformation, and other higher-order processingstrategies. (strategies. (Dechant 1991Dechant 1991).).
DefinitionA bottom-up reading model is a reading model that*emphasizes the written or printed text*says reading is driven by a process that results inmeaning (or, in other words, reading is driven bytext), and*proceeds from part to whole.Also known as:*part to whole model
ProponentsHere are some proponents of the bottom-up readingmodel:Flesch 1955Gough 1985LaBerge and Samuels 1985
DiscussionEmerald Dechant: “Bottom-up models operate on the principle that the written text ishierarchically organized (i.e., on the grapho-phonic, phonemic, syllabic,morphemic, word, and sentence levels) and that the reader first processesthe smallest linguistic unit, gradually compiling the smaller units to decipherand comprehend the higher units (e.g., sentence syntax).” (Dechant 1991)Charles Fries: The reader must learn to transfer from the auditory signs for languagesignals...to a set of visual signs for the same signals. (Fries 1962) The reader must learn to automatically respond to the visual patterns. Thecumulative comprehension of the meanings signaled then enable the readerto supply those portions of the signals which are not in the graphicrepresentations themselves. (Fries 1962) Learning to read...means developing a considerable range of habitualresponses to a specific set of patterns of graphic shapes. (Fries 1962)
DID YOU KNOW?DID YOU KNOW?A widely accepted instructional programinstructional program thatincorporates several bottom-up principles isthe phonic approach to readingphonic approach to reading.
Features Here are some features of a bottom-up approach toreading:Bottom-up advocates believe the reader needs toidentify letter featureslink these features to recognize letterscombine letters to recognize spelling patternslink spelling patterns to recognize words, andthen proceed to sentence, paragraph and text-levelprocessing.
C. Interactive IntroductionAn interactive reading model attempts to combine thevalid insights of bottom-up and top-down models. Itattempts to take into account the strong points of thebottom-up and top-down models, and tries to avoid thecriticisms leveled against each, making it one of themost promising approaches to the theory of readingtoday. (McCormick, T. 1988)
DefinitionAn interactive reading model is a reading model thatrecognizes the interaction of bottom-up and top-downprocesses simultaneously throughout the readingprocess. ProponentsHere are some proponents of the interactive readingmodel: Rumelhart, D. 1985 Barr, Sadow, and Blachowicz 1990 Ruddell and Speaker 1985
DiscussionHere are the views of some researchers about the interactivereading model:Emerald Dechant: The interactive model suggests that the reader constructsmeaning by the selective use of information from all sourcesof meaning (graphemic, phonemic, morphemic, syntax,semantics) without adherence to any one set order. Thereader simultaneously uses all levels of processing eventhough one source of meaning can be primary at a giventime. (Dechant 1991)
Kenneth Goodman: An interactive model is one which uses print as input and hasmeaning as output. But the reader provides input, too, andthe reader, interacting with the text, is selective in using justas little of the cues from text as necessary to constructmeaning. (Goodman, K. 1981) David E. Rumelhart: Reading is at once a perceptual and a cognitive process. It is aprocess which bridges and blurs these two traditionaldistinctions. Moreover, a skilled reader must be able to makeuse of sensory, syntactic, semantic, and pragmaticinformation to accomplish the task. These various sources ofinformation appear to interact in many complex ways duringthe process of reading (Rumelhart, D. 1985).
What is Schema Theory? Linguists, cognitive psychologists, and psycholinguists have usedthe concept of schema (plural: schemata) to understand theinteraction of key factors affecting the comprehension process. Simply put, schema theory states that all knowledge isorganized into units. Within these units of knowledge, orschemata, is stored information. A schema, then, is a generalized description or a conceptualsystem for understanding knowledge-how knowledge isrepresented and how it is used.
Schemas clearly affect our recall of events. Schemas also affect our ability to learn things. According to this theory, schemata represent knowledge aboutconcepts: objects and the relationships they have with otherobjects, situations, events, sequences of events, actions, andsequences of actions. The importance of schema theory to reading comprehensionalso lies in how the reader uses schemata. This issue has not yetbeen resolved by research, although investigators agree thatsome mechanism activates just those schemata most relevant tothe readers task.