Reading Comprehension Essay

1292 words - 5 pages

Reading Comprehension
In any interaction with a text, the text is pretty much useless unless the reader can comprehend the meaning of that text. Since narrative, expository, and poetic texts all have different reasons for being written, and different forms of presenting the text, different strategies are needed to comprehend these texts. There are also many reading strategies that can be used for all of these types of text.
In order to describe strategies to help develop activities that facilitate comprehension of narrative, expository, and poetic texts one must first have an understanding of what comprehension means, they then need a better understanding of how the human brain works. “Comprehension is a creative, multifaceted thinking process in which students engage with the text,” Judith Irwin (1991) defines comprehension as a readers process of using prior experiences and the author’s text to construct meaning that’s useful to that reader for a specific purpose.” (Tompkins, 2010,p. 258)
With both of these definitions of comprehension they use the word process in the definition. The use of this word implies that comprehension is not immediate and there is a process that can be used to obtain it. This process, uses both the working memory and the long term memory portion of the brian, and a brief understanding of this process is essiential. There is a limit to what a person can hold in short term memory and the strategies used to teach comprehension must take this into consideration. By using strategies that limit the amount of information that is used in short term memory, the student can process this information and arrive at a better comprehension of what they read. The goal of reading is to put the comprehension of what you learned into your long term memory. “All learning, from rote memorization to deep understanding, can be fully characterized by changes in long-term memory. If there are no changes in long-term memory, nothing has been understood or learned.” (Sweller, 2005)
The competent comprehender is a skilled reader. “Skilled readers are those who actively and automatically construct meaning as they read; they are self-motivated and self-directed; they monitor their own comprehension by questioning, reviewing, revising, and rereading to enhance their overall comprehension.” (Douglas Fisher, 2011) One other skill that is crucial to being a skilled reader and comprehending text is the fluency with which a student reads.
Teaching fluency skills is a very important aspect of helping a student comprehend what they are reading. If a student is using all of the short term memory decoding words and sentence stucture, there is very little left to work on the process for gaining meaning from the text. The most common strategies used to improve fluency are; adding vocabulary to the students long-term memory, activating background knowledge (schema), modeling, and having the student read.
So what are other strategies that can be...

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