Reading for different subjectsDifferent reading strategies are needed for different subject disciplines, and even for different kinds of writing within thesame subject. Subjects in the humanities and social sciences often require fairly rapid reading of large amounts ofinformation. Reading for these subjects requires you know where to look for the information you need, and to usecontents and index pages very closely.You may also be asked to read about the same topic from different angles. This means that you need to ‘get a feel’ forwhat is written rather than knowing all the details. Be selective about what you read depending on your purpose andinterest.Science subjects tend to require slower and closer reading of smaller amounts of text. Generally, you will need to workthrough what is written in close detail, making sure you understand the different steps. For most subjects, you need tochange between different reading strategies. Reading for any subject1. Be selective. You are not expected to read books from cover to cover.2. Change strategy. You need to develop skills in changing from one kind of reading to another, depending on how usefulthe information is for your purposes.3. Use the index pages at the end of a book. Find the exact pages for what you need.4. Read from paper. Avoid reading for long periods from computer screens if using the internet: print out an electroniccopy in a font that suits you.5. Set targets. It is easy to lose focus when reading. Set yourself targets to complete a reading task, with clear objectivesfor what you want to achieve.6. Focus. Jot down a list of questions before you read and as you go along. This will improve your attention - and saveyou from getting side-tracked. Reading for different purposesFor all subjects, you will need to know how to change quickly from one kind of reading to another.1. Browsing : looking over a text to see how it ‘feels’, whether it appears to be the right kind of book, what it containsthat might be of use, getting a general feel of the contents. You often take in more information when browsing than youmay think at the time.2. Checking: looking in the contents or index to see whether the book contains specific information that you know youwant - or which looks useful.3. Focusing in: allowing yourself to read more closely when you spot something that looks more useful. It is alsoimportant to notice when the text is less useful, and to return to browsing.4. Fact-finding: looking for specific facts and data.
5. Background: This is additional reading, which gives you a sense of the bigger picture. Select texts that are general andwhich you find inviting or easy to read. Read these selectively and at your own pace. This is best undertaken in vacationsif possible. Reading for understandingThe main purpose of reading is to understand - not to get through text at speed for the sake of it. Comprehension isincreased if:1. You are clear about what you are looking for.2. You discuss your reading with others. Each person is likely to make sense of different aspects, and you can pool yourideas.3. You read something that gives you a general overview first. For complex ideas, choose the easiest book first and workup to more complex texts.4. You keep active. Set yourself targets and jot down questions to answer. If the book is yours, underline key points, usehighlighter pens selectively, write summaries in the margin. This prevents you from ‘drifting off’ or simply reading thesame text over and over without taking it in.5. Read in short bursts of up to twenty minutes, then take a few minutes break before starting again.6. Make notes of key points as you go along. This can create natural breaks every few minutes in your reading that canhelp maintain attention. See making notes.7. Change reading speed. Often, reading faster can help memory of what you are reading, so it makes more sense.Browse quickly and focus in more slowly only where needed. Change the textMany people read less efficiently because they are not aware that their eyes have preferences for reading differentfonts and colours. Where possible:1. Have your eyes tested regularly.2. Check whether you read more efficiently with larger text.3. Experiment reading text printed on different coloured papers or using different coloured filters or lens over the text.4. If you have access to texts through the computer, experiment with different font styles and sizes and different colourbackgrounds and text.5. See whether you read more easily in bright rooms, with certain kinds of light or in dim lighting.If students can get the general sense of a sentence or paragraph without knowing every word, there’s no need tointerrupt their reading by using a dictionary to find the word’s meaning. Sometimes they will want to read throughmaterial quickly, but they will need to read more carefully when they are reading to learn.
Some Purposes for Reading for pleasure or for personal reasons to find general information such as what a book is mostly about to find a specific topic in a book or article to learn subject matter that is required for a classOnce students have mastered the basic decoding skills, they will begin to read for a variety of purposes.If they are reading a book or article for fun or if they simply want to know about a particular subject such as frogs, theymay want to read fast. It isn’t necessary for them to read every word or even know the meaning of every word in thetext. They will probably get the sense of the unknown word from the context.Skimming for General InformationStudents who want to find general information about a subject such as frogs will want to skim through a book or severalbooks to determine how the books are organized and what they cover. When they skim, they flip through the pages ofthe book or article quickly to find out whether it might cover the information they need.Scanning for Specific InformationWhen a student wants to know how tadpoles become frogs, he will need to scan a book or article about amphibians orfrogs to find out whether the material covers tadpoles. When he scans, he will look at the title, the table of contents, theheadings, and the index to find out if the material gives information about tadpoles.Reading to LearnAnother purpose for reading calls for reading carefully and slowly. When a student studies for a test, he will want toskim the book or chapter first to see what it covers. Then he will read the headings and subheadings to discover how thebook is organized. He should try to make connections between the material and what he already knows.Once the student has a general idea about the material he wants to learn, he will read the sections carefully. It’s a timeto read with a dictionary close by and to check the glossary for words he doesn’t know. After reading the chapter orsection carefully, the student will go back and review the material to see if he can answer questions about the text.A reading strategy called SQ3R gives more information about a method for studying, asking and answering questions,and reviewing material.Efficient readers have learned to use different strategies for different kinds of reading. They know when it’s OK to readquickly – skipping over some of the words, how to skim for general information, scan for specific information, and howto study for tests.What are the factors that influence reading? Motivation - does the reader have an interest in the content they are reading? Phonological awareness - is the reader capable of reading the text using various strategies? Vocabulary development - does the reader understand vocabulary, either through knowledge or context, enough to comprehend the text? Fluency/automaticity - can the reader keep a consistent flow in reading?
Five Essential Components of ReadingUnder Reading First (Title I, Part B, Subpart 1), district and school reading programs for K-3 students must includeinstruction, curriculum, and assessment on: PHONEMIC AWARENESS—The knowledge and manipulation of sounds in spoken words. PHONICS—The relationship between written and spoken letters and sounds. READING FLUENCY, INCLUDING ORAL READING SKILLS—The ability to read with accuracy, and with appropriate rate, expression, and phrasing. VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT—The knowledge of words, their definitions, and context. READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGIES—The understanding of meaning in text. o Must be based on scientifically based research. o Must include classroom-based screening, and instructional and diagnostic reading assessments. o Should provide ongoing, high-quality professional development focused on essential elements of reading.Under Reading First, school and district reading programs for K-3 students also can focus on: o Building students’ motivation to read. o Integrating technology into students’ opportunities to learn to read.Phonemic Awareness – the ability to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds – or phonemes – in spoken words(opportunities for young readers to experience rhythm and rhyme )Phonics – the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language (incorporatestrategies for decoding)Fluency – the capacity to read text accurately and quickly (provide experiences in reading with pace, intonation,andfluency. The rich language in the sentences leads students to read ahead, with cadence and understanding)Vocabulary – the words students must know to communicate effectively (they help readers expand their vocabularybecause of the rich vocabulary in them)Comprehension – the ability to understand and gain meaning from what has been read .Readers build comprehensionskills on three levels: literal (what is actually found in the text), inferential (what the reader has to infer), and analytical(questions about the writing).Reading Strategies: What Is Decoding?Decoding Strategies Lay the Foundation for Reading SuccessEffective reading strategies range from visualizing and questioning to pre-reading and decoding. Reading strategies areused to help students become efficient readers. Many of these reading strategies are foundational and must be taughtand mastered by the student before other strategies can be effective. Decoding is one of the most importantfoundational reading strategies. If students are unable to decode words, they cannot apply other reading strategies orcomprehend what they read. Teaching students proven decoding strategies provides them with a strong foundation toensure reading success.
What is decoding?Decoding is the process of translating print into speech by rapidly matching a letter or combination of letters(graphemes) to their sounds (phonemes) and recognizing the patterns that make syllables and words. There is an area inthe brain that deals with language processing and does this process automatically. Unfortunately, about 30 percent ofstudents do not access this part of their brain and therefore must be taught decoding strategies very explicitly andsystematically. This means that we start with the simplest sound/letter concept and build to the more complex. Thismethod of phonics instruction has been proven to be the most effective in helping students gain decoding skills.Why is decoding important?Decoding is important because it is the foundation on which all other reading instruction builds. If students cannotdecode words their reading will lack fluency, their vocabulary will be limited and their reading comprehension willsuffer. Teaching higher-level reading strategies to students stuck at the word level is ineffective. We might as well bebanging our head against a wall.How do we teach decoding?Explicit, systematic and multi-sensory phonics instruction produces effective decoding skills. Phonics can be taught bothimplicitly or explicitly. Implicit phonics begins with a whole word and then looks at beginning sounds, ending sounds andcontext clues. Explicit phonics does the reverse by building from a single letter to a word. Because of poor results withimplicit phonics, phonics instruction has been given a negative connotation—phonics is not really effective unless it istaught explicitly and systematically. Phonics taught any other way could be compared to an alphabet soup of sounds.The way it is taught is what determines the level of success, particularly for those with learning disabilities such asdyslexia.Presenting phonics and instructing it in a logical sequence, in which one concept builds upon the next, is anotheressential component of teaching phonics and decoding. This systematic approach helps students master skills quicklyand move to the next concept seamlessly. Teaching phonics using a multi-sensory approach reaches all learning styles ina classroom and gives those struggling readers the visual and hands-on instruction they need. When phonics is taughtaccording to these guidelines, students will be able to find decoding success and it will quickly become an automaticprocess for them. Theories of readingThis article is in two parts. The first part will look at some of the shifts and trends in theories relating to reading. Thesecond part will examine tips and guidelines for implementing a theory of reading which will help to develop ourlearners abilities. The traditional view The cognitive view The metacognitive view ConclusionJust like teaching methodology, reading theories have had their shifts and transitions. Starting from the traditional viewwhich focused on the printed form of a text and moving to the cognitive view that enhanced the role of backgroundknowledge in addition to what appeared on the printed page, they ultimately culminated in the metacognitive viewwhich is now in vogue. It is based on the control and manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending atext.
The traditional viewAccording to Dole et al. (1991), in the traditional view of reading, novice readers acquire a set of hierarchically orderedsub-skills that sequentially build toward comprehension ability. Having mastered these skills, readers are viewed asexperts who comprehend what they read. o Readers are passive recipients of information in the text. Meaning resides in the text and the reader has to reproduce meaning. o 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. o 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. o This model of reading has almost always been under attack as being insufficient and defective for the main reason that it relies on the formal features of the language, mainly words and structure. o 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.The cognitive viewThe 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. o 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. o 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. o 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. o 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.The metacognitive viewAccording to Block (1992), there is now no more debate on "whether reading is a bottom-up, language-based process ora top-down, knowledge-based process." It is also no more problematic to accept the influence of background knowledgeon both L1 and L2 readers. Research has gone even further to define the control readers execute on their ability tounderstand 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 readersattempt 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 authors 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.ConclusionIn the second part of this article I will look at the guidelines which can also be used as general ideas to aid students inreading and comprehending materials. These tips can be viewed in three consecutive stages: before reading, duringreading, and after reading. For instance, before starting to read a text it is natural to think of the purpose of reading thetext. As an example of the during-reading techniques, re-reading for better comprehension can be mentioned. Andfilling out forms and charts can be referred to as an after-reading activity. These tasks and ideas can be used to enhancereading comprehension.Bottom-Up Theory which focuses on the belief that students who have a strong understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds will be successful when they encounter unfamiliar words Begins with the introduction of letters and sounds; once mastered, words are presented; after knowledge of these, sentences are taught; from there, paragraphs are addressed with the final phase being reading full text The ultimate goal in this theory is the comprehension of text Automaticity: the internalization of a process until it is so automatic it no longer requires attention Worksheets and various other things that promote practice are used to help teach the letters, sounds, and wordsTop-Down Capitalizes on the experiences and knowledge a child brings to the reading process, coupled with the child’s purpose for reading Supporters believe that children can learn to read by using their experiences and knowledge of print to make sense of what they read The more students know about what they are to read, the less they need to rely on exact interpretation Instruction is based on children’s own language (LEA: Language Experience Approach) Shares characteristics of the whole language movement Ultimate goal is comprehension of text
Interactive Combination of the bottom-up and top-down theories The classroom teacher makes use of precise letter-sound activities and student generated writing Unknown words from the whole book are dissected Theory suggests that readers use their background knowledge and their decoding skills simultaneously to find meaning in text Ultimate goal is comprehensionTransactional An elaboration of the interactive model, with emphasis on the context Instead of an interactive relationship, the reader and text have a circular relationship in which each affects the other Shares characteristics of Rosenblatts reader response theory The reading can be aesthetic (enjoyment) or efferent (information), depending on the purpose The context (purpose) for reading affects the content of the retained material Ultimate goal is comprehension KINDS OF READINGAccording to purpose & manner of comprehending: 1. Extensive Reading - reading for pleasure any topic of interest - main purpose: to relax and enjoy yourself - comics, humorous stories, tales, novels, short articles in the newspapers and magazines, jokes, and otherforms of light reading materials 2. Intensive Reading - careful or in-depth reading - you read for details and extract specific info on particular topics - the kind of reading you do when you study, prepare a term paper, or an oral report - has several techniques or sub-types: scanning, skimming, exploratory reading, study reading, critical reading,and analytical readingREADING TECHNIQUES/SUBKINDSfor Intensive Reading1.) Scanning - rapid reading assisted by key words to locate specific pieces of info - for research, review - gets info that answer what, who, where, when, howExs.Looking for a word meaning in the dictionary, getting a docu from the filing cabinet, looking through the yellowpages2.) Skimming - rapid reading focusing on the TITLE, HEADINGS, TOPIC SENTENCE, SIGN POSTS to get the main idea
- effective preliminary step to reading thoroughly bec. after skimming, you can quickly go back to details youneed to read entirelySkimming Steps Preview the text by reading the title and the introduction. (Usually, the intro has the thesis statement). Check if there are headings and subheadings. Read the 1st parag. and the 1st sentences of the succeeding parags. Quickly check keywords in the parag. (sometimes higlighted, italicized, underlined) Read the last parag. (Usually it summarizes the main points. If you feel that a parag. containsimpt. Info that answers what, why, when, how, and who, read it fully.3.) Exploratory ReadingAims to get a fairly accurate picture of a whole presentation of ideas; how the whole selection is presentedAllots more time for readingExamples: Long articles in mags. , short stories, descriptive texts4.) Study Reading - the reader must get a maximum understanding of the main ideas and their relationships - examples: SQ3R, SQ4R (survey, question, read, record, recite, review)SQ4R: STEPS 1. SURVEYING: (preparing for reading) Take note of the titles, headings & subheadings; words in italics or bold print; intro & summaries; pictures & captions; questions at the end of the chapter or section (do this in few minutes only) 2. QUESTIONING: (focusing your reading) Turn headings & subheadings into questions by asking who, what, when, where, why, and how abt. them. 3. READING: (focusing your reading) Take time to read with maximum comprehension. Try to answer the questions you posed in the previous step. Try to det. the main ideas and major details of the text. 4. RECORDING: (focusing your reading) Take note so you can remember what you have read.5. RECITING: (recalling step) Recite aloud or mentally, pair up with a partner for a Q&A session.6. REVIEWING: (recalling step) Repeat some of the previous steps and review on a regular basis5.) Critical Reading - question, analyze and evaluate the text - use critical-thinking skills to: o differentiate bet. fact & opinion; o recognize author’s purpose in writing; o make inferences abt. purposes and characters; o recognize the author’s tone in writing; o recognize persuasive techniques or propaganda designed to sway you to believe - reader stops to consider the facts carefully, “take time to read in order to the get facts straight”Examples:
Reading done in periodicals, books, ads which are loaded with propaganda devices designed to sway opinions6.) Analytical Reading - careful attention to each word and its importance in relation to other words in the sentence or the parag. - Examples: Reading mathematical problems, scientific formulas, and certain definitive statements of key ideasthat require a questioning/inquisitive mind7.) Developmental Reading- When a reader is under a comprehensive reading program that lets him go through stages & monitors him closelyExamples: SRA ;ARCOral Reading FluencyMuch as it sounds, oral reading fluency refers to how fluently a child can read out loud. This type of fluency is less abouthow well a child understands and remembers what he is reading and much more about how he decodes the text. If yourchild is a fluent oral reader, he should be able to read a given section of text without stumbling or hesitating, use properintonation and expression (known as prosody) and pronounce most of the words correctly.Silent Reading FluencySilent reading fluency is a bit more complicated than oral reading fluency. While, again, a fluent silent reader should beable to read what is in front of him without hesitation, he should also be able to read it more than just word by word.The reader is expected to be able to read without mouthing or saying the words out loud, while visually taking in andcomprehending more than one word at a time.Many children who are thought to be fluent readers arent as fluent as they seem when it comes to silent readingbecause, although they are reading the text at a good pace and mechanically without trouble, they arent gainingcomprehension of what they are reading. This is often demonstrated by the child who reads a book with ease but isunable to tell you what the story was about or answer questions about it.