Learning to read opens doors to the future. Learning to read must be about getting meaningful print in to a non-reader’s or developing-reader’s hands and helping the individual to gain the independence to comprehend the material.
Teachers make the difference for many learners as they become more and more proficient as ‘meaning makers’ as they read. Teachers create classrooms and conditions where: Learners want to connect with print, want to grasp massages and meanings from print and are eager to follow and expand their interests by reading.
Comprehension becomes purpose for reading and teachers become those that help the individual to become a reader who comprehends.
For an individual to comprehend he or she will need to amass strategies for approaching print that include being: proactive, tentative, personal, transactive, thoughtful, imagistic, inferential and reflective. Yes, you are correct – that is a tall order! And it is doable!!!!!
Duffy, in the second edition of his book: Explaining Reading: A Resource for Teaching Concepts, Skills and Strategies, describes that reading comprehension is:
► Proactive, because a reader must be actively thinking and constantly monitoring the meaning.
► Tentative, because predictions made in one moment may change in the next moment.
► Personal, in that meaning resides in the reader’s interpretation, which in turn is controlled by his or her prior knowledge.
► Transactive, because the reader’s background interacts with the author’s intention.
► Thoughtful, because you must always analyze the clues the author provides.
► Imagistic, because (in narrative text particularly) you use the author’s descriptive language to create a picture in your mind of what is happening.
► Inferential, because the reader can only make a calculated guess about the author’s meaning since the author was operating from one set of experiences and the reader from another.
► Reflective, in that good readers evaluate what they have read and determine its significance and/or how it can be used after finishing reading.
Strategies are an important part of comprehension. There are only a few strategies readers use in various combinations over and over again, with slight variation from one reading situation to another.
Monitoring and questioning what is happening.
Adjusting predictions as you go.
Creating images in the mind.
Removing blockages to meaning.
Reflecting on the essence or the significance or the importance of what has been read.
These strategies can be categorized as:
• Before you begin reading.
• As you begin reading.
• During reading.
• After reading.
Learning to read opens doors to the future. Comprehending print is teachable and learnable!!!! Teach can open these doors. Learners can become independent makers of meaning as they read.
My belief is that as leaders we have to be willing to move beyond the status quo! We have to want and pursue deep change. For each and every student to become competent in comprehending print serves the common good.