I N
Reading, activity characterized by the tra...
The earliest stage, readiness, encompasses the skills that young children usually
acquire before they can profit from form...
beginning so that children can concentrate on learning to recognize and sound

In the early elementary grades, chil...
new information but also must critically analyze the text and achieve an optimal
reading rate based on the difficulty of t...
reading subskills and indicate the skills mastered, those needing review, and those in
which the student needs extra help....
See also Dyslexia

The gifted usually have reading and related language...
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Transcript of "Reading"

  1. 1. Reading INTRODUCTIO I N Reading, activity characterized by the translation of symbols, or letters, into words and sentences that have meaning to the individual. The ultimate goal of reading is to be able to understand written material, to evaluate it, and to use it for one's needs. In order to read, one must follow a sequence of characters arranged in a particular spatial order. For example, English flows from left to right, Hebrew from right to left, and Chinese from top to bottom. The reader must know the pattern and use it consistently. Ordinarily, the reader sees the symbols on a page, transmitting the image from the eye to the brain, but reading also can be accomplished by touch, as in the Braille system, a printing method designed for the blind that involves raised or punched dots. Reading refers to activities as varied as a first grader's struggling with simple sentences in a storybook, a cook's following directions from a cookbook, or a scholar's attempting to understand the meanings of a poem. Reading exposes people to the accumulated wisdom of human civilization. Mature readers bring to the text their experiences, abilities, and interests; the text, in turn, allows them to expand those experiences and abilities and to find new interests. To reach maturity in reading, an individual goes through a series of stages, from readiness to adult reading ability. READING II READINESS
  2. 2. The earliest stage, readiness, encompasses the skills that young children usually acquire before they can profit from formal reading instruction. Children acquire knowledge of the language and of letter names; they learn that spoken words are composed of separate sounds and that letters can represent these sounds. Parents can aid in the process by reading to children, thus acquainting them with the more formal language of books, pointing out words and letters, and making them aware that words in a book can tell a story or give information. Other readiness skills are acquired through word and rhyme games. Play with language apparently helps young children focus their attention on the sounds of words as well as on their meanings. Children also learn about other aspects of written language. At younger ages they can distinguish their script from that of other languages, recognize commercial logos, engage in “pseudoreading” with familiar books, and so on. It has been suggested that these early “reading” behaviors contribute to later reading success. In kindergarten or first grade, children are often given readiness tests that measure abilities in language, knowledge of letter names, and skill in matching words and letters. High scorers on these tests usually become good beginning readers, but children with low scores may or may not do well in reading. Experienced kindergarten teachers can often predict first-grade reading abilities as well as or better than readiness tests. BEGINNING III READING In the first grade, children begin to learn the printed equivalents for the spoken words they know. Some schools and reading textbooks teach the child to recognize whole words and stress the meaning of the text. Others first emphasize the study of phonics—that is, the sounds represented by individual letters—and the development of independent word-recognition skills. Nearly all current programs combine both techniques; they try to teach a child to recognize words and to learn phonics. For more than 60 years, research has shown that early, systematic phonics instruction produces high reading achievement, at least until the third grade. The most common means of instruction is the basal reading program, consisting of a reader, workbook, and other associated materials. These readers have been criticized as not containing sufficiently high-quality literature and as not meeting the child's needs for meaningful content. Defenders have suggested that a limited vocabulary is necessary in the
  3. 3. beginning so that children can concentrate on learning to recognize and sound words. In the early elementary grades, children read stories and selections containing common words already familiar from speech. With practice, most children read with increasing fluency and understanding. The different reading levels in a classroom may lead to the grouping of readers or even to an individualized approach that adapts instruction to each reader's abilities. I DEVELOPMENT OF V SKILLS In the mid-elementary and junior high school years, emphasis shifts from reading stories with known content to reading more difficult materials that teach the child new ideas and opinions. At this stage, silent reading for comprehension and study skills are emphasized. This shift from learning to read to reading to learn is especially important because the student must now begin to use reading skills to learn facts and concepts in social studies, science, and other subjects. Making this shift is difficult for some students, and their reading scores may increase at a slower pace than in the primary grades. Some educators see reading comprehension as a series of subskills, such as understanding word meanings in context, finding the main idea, making inferences about information implied but not stated, and distinguishing between fact and opinion. Published programs based on this view purport to divide reading into as many as 350 different subskills to be mastered during the elementary grades. Managing such a program, including the administration and scoring of tests for each subskill, and providing sufficient practice for each subskill can be difficult for a classroom teacher. Some have suggested that an excessive emphasis on subskills leads to worksheets crowding out children's opportunity to experience literature. These theorists tend to treat reading comprehension as a general ability not made up of specific skills. Programs based on such theories stress broad, extensive reading; understanding of word meanings; and development of reasoning abilities. In high school and college, reading materials become more abstract and contain a larger, more technical vocabulary. At this stage, the student not only must acquire
  4. 4. new information but also must critically analyze the text and achieve an optimal reading rate based on the difficulty of the material and the purpose of the reading. IMPROVING READING V SKILLS Word study is one way for the older student to improve reading ability. This involves using a dictionary and thesaurus, studying word parts, and learning how to find the meaning of a word from the context. Students can also improve their vocabularies by paying conscious attention to any new words they may encounter. Because a mature reader must have several different reading rates available for different materials and purposes, practice in skimming a passage for general meaning and scanning for specific information is useful. The development of efficient study strategies is important in learning various kinds of subject matter. One useful study technique is outlining, which helps to develop an awareness of the main points and details of a selection. Various studies have shown the importance of good teaching and of effective school leadership in promoting reading achievement. Students seem to learn to read better, for example, if the school principal is a strong leader with high expectations about reading achievement. The amount of direct instruction in reading and the amount of time students spend in reading-related activities also affect reading development. V TESTIN I G Reading tests are of two main types: survey and diagnostic. Survey tests, used with groups, measure one or more aspects of reading. Diagnostic tests usually are given individually as part of a battery of tests measuring many different components of reading skill. Most standardized reading-achievement tests are survey tests; they may be either norm referenced or criterion referenced. Norm-referenced tests compare an individual child's performance to that of other children taking the same test and yield a grade level or a percentile score. Criterion-referenced tests measure individual
  5. 5. reading subskills and indicate the skills mastered, those needing review, and those in which the student needs extra help. A special type of criterion-referenced test is the minimum competency test. Most states administer these tests to gauge students' reading ability during certain grades in elementary school and at the end of their high school careers. Some minimum competency tests include reading tasks resembling those in the everyday world, such as following directions on a form or reading signs and labels, job applications, and portions of a newspaper. Diagnostic tests can also be either norm or criterion referenced. These tests are given by specialists in reading or learning disabilities, as well as by classroom teachers, to define a student's specific areas of reading strengths and weaknesses that can be used in planning an effective teaching program. READING AND LEARNING VII DISABILITIES From 10 to 15 percent of all children have a reading disability—that is, they read significantly below their mental ability. A smaller number of these children may be found to have a learning disability. Most professionals tend to use the term reading disability to refer to a significant discrepancy in reading, irrespective of the cause. The term learning disability is used to refer to a discrepancy that is not caused by vision, hearing, or motor handicaps; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; or environmental disadvantage, but rather by a presumed underlying neurological difficulty. In schools, students who are not mastering reading skills may be referred to either a remedial-reading or a learning-disabilities specialist, both of whom employ a similar procedure. Referred students are given a series of diagnostic tests to determine how their strengths can be enhanced and their weaknesses overcome. A program based on the evaluation is developed for the student and followed by both the specialist and the classroom teacher. At the end of the term, the student will be retested to assess any progress and to update the program. Research has shown that with early and direct attention given to the reading program, greater improvement will occur. Many studies have indicated that remedial-reading instruction can lead to significant gains that are retained after many years.
  6. 6. See also Dyslexia INSTRUCTION OF GIFTED VIII STUDENTS The gifted usually have reading and related language abilities one or more years beyond their grade placement. Students who are precocious in reading should be challenged by the use of materials as close as possible to their level of development. In or outside class, teachers can provide supplemental reading or assign special projects. I IMPORTANCE OF READING X ABILITY Besides its intrinsic value, the ability to read has economic consequences. Adults who are better-than-average readers are also higher-than-average earners or are more likely to have high-paying jobs. The growing technicalization of society has brought increasing demands for literacy, which the schools are hard pressed to meet. A higher level of literacy is needed in business and industry, in the armed forces, and even in everyday life. The reading ability needed to comprehend materials important to daily living, such as income tax forms and newspapers, has been estimated to be as high as the 12th-grade level. Some efforts have been made to simplify forms and manuals, but the lack of sufficient reading ability definitely impairs a person's capacity to function in modern Western society. Adult literacy programs can be distinguished by the stages of literacy they address. Programs to counter below-functional literacy stress the development of decoding and word recognition, similar to the goals of early elementary schools, but they use materials more appropriate to an adult age. Programs that deal with development at the functional literacy level stress the use of reading to learn new information and to perform job-related tasks. Advanced literacy programs stress the development of higher-level skills needed for high school equivalency diplomas. The great importance of reading ability is underscored by the growth of literacy programs in some Third World nations, as, for example, in Cuba. These programs, which generally send young people to rural areas to serve as teachers for illiterates in a national effort, often combine the teaching of reading with political instruction.