Reading comprehension is defined as the level of understanding of a text/message. This understanding comes from the interaction between the words that are written and how they trigger knowledge outside the text/message.
Proficient reading depends on the ability to recognize words quickly and effortlessly. If word recognition is difficult, students use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, which interfereswith their ability to comprehend what is read.
Many educators in the USA believe that students need to learn to analyze text (comprehend it) even before they can read it on their own, and comprehension instruction generally begins in pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten. But other US educators consider this reading approach to be completely backward for very young children, arguing that the children must learn how to decode the words in a story through phonics before they can analyze the story itself.
During the last century comprehension lessons usually consisted of students answering teachers’ questions, writing responses to questions on their own, or both. The whole group version of this practice also often included “Round-robin reading”, wherein teachers called on individual students to read a portion of the text (and sometimes following a set order). In the last quarter of the 20th century, evidence accumulated that the read-test methods assessed comprehension more than they taught it.
The associated practice of “round robin” reading has also been questioned and eliminated by many educators. Instead of using the prior read-test method, research studies have concluded that there are much more effective ways to teach comprehension. Much work has been done in the area of teaching novice readers a bank of “reading strategies,” or tools to interpret and analyze text.
There is not a definitive set of strategies, but common ones include summarizing what you have read, monitoring your reading to make sure it is still making sense, and analyzing the structure of the text (e.g., the use of headings in science text). Some programs teach students how to self monitor whether they are understanding and provide students with tools for fixing comprehension problems.
|Words & Means|
|interaction||: the activity of talking and doing things with other people, or the way you do this|
|trigger||: to make something begin to happen|
|proficient||: very good at something|
|recognize||: to know someone or something because you have seen or experienced them before|
|interfere||: to try to control or become involved in a situation, in a way that is annoying|
|comprehend||: to understand|
|instruction||: something that you have been told to do|
|backward||: in the direction behind you|
|decode||: to discover the meaning of a message that is in code (= secret system of communication)|
|phonic||: of or relating to speech sounds|
|consist||: to be formed or made from two or more things|
|wherein||: in which|
|accumulate||: to increase in amount over a period of time, or to make something increase over a period of time|
|Instead of||: in place of someone or something|
|prior||: existing or happening before something else|
|interpret||: to explain or decide what you think a particular phrase, performance, action, etc means|
|definitive||: certain, clear, and not likely to change|
|summarize||: to describe briefly the main facts or ideas of something|