Understanding Reading Comprehension

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Date Submitted: 01/07/2015 07:21 AM

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Urdaneta City


Course: Master in Education, Major in English Language Teaching

Subject: Methodology in Language Teaching (Reading and Writing)

Professor: Nova Iglesias

Topic: Reaction Paper




Understanding Reading Comprehension

What it really means to comprehend text — and why reading comprehension and teaching it are more complicated than most of us think!

By Jeff Wilhelm

Reference: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-reading-comprehension

I've noticed that many books about reading, and specifically about comprehension for that matter, don't even define what "comprehension" is. Perhaps it's assumed that we all know what it is; or maybe "comprehension" is a slippery term that we have trouble grasping, or "comprehending," if you will!

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary offers this definition: "capacity of the mind to perceive and understand." Reading comprehension, then, would be the capacity to perceive and understand the meanings communicated by texts. Simple, huh? Clear. Now we comprehend comprehension!

Ah! A closer look at reading shows that this issue is much more complicated than it seems. Facile definitions coupled with the complicated nature of reading comprehension is what keeps us from understanding it fully, and from teaching it as well as we can.

Let me focus on a few issues to help explain successful reading comprehension:

Comprehension requires the reader to be an active constructor of meaning. Reading research has demonstrated that readers do not simply "perceive" the meaning that is IN a text. In fact, expert readers co-construct meaning WITH a text. The research base shows that reading is a "transaction" in which the reader brings purposes and life experiences to bear to converse with the text. This meeting of the reader and the text results in the meaning...