Reading Skills: Importance And Learning Outcome
Literacy is the ability to use the symbols of a writing system. It is the ability to interpret what the information symbols represent, and re-create those same symbols so that others can derive the same meaning. Illiteracy is the inability to derive meaning from the symbols used in a writing system.
From time to time people have wondered why reading is important. There seems so many other things to do with one’s time. Reading is important for a variety of reasons. Learning to read in a second language, especially in adulthood, may be a different process than learning to read a native language in childhood. There are cases of very young children learning to read without having been taught.
Reading aloud means just that-reading aloud. When we read to students, we take advantage of the fact that until about the eighth grade, young people have a ‘listening level’ that significantly surpasses their reading level. When we read aloud to students, we engage them in texts that they might not be able to read.
Reading is defined as a cognitive process that involves decoding symbols to arrive at meaning. Reading is an active process of constructing meanings of words. Reading with a purpose helps the reader to direct information towards a goal and focuses their attention. Although the reasons for reading may vary, the primary purpose of reading is to understand the text. Reading is a thinking process. It allows the reader to use what he or she may already know, also called prior knowledge. During this processing of information, the reader uses strategies to understand what they are reading, uses themes to organize ideas, and uses textual clues to find the meanings of new words. Each of the three components of reading is equally important. Let’s take a look at the components!
- Identify upper and lower case letters, their sounds and names
- Recognize names and words in context; read own name, read picture icons to select computer programs
- Join in familiar stories, songs & poems
- Connect books read aloud to experiences
- Put three events in sequence using pictures, use illustrations to tell stories, begin to make meaningful predictions
- Read books with simple patterns using phonics, meaning, and picture cues
- Read independently for short periods of time and point to words as she/he reads
- Retell a story with approximate sequence and identify main characters
- Begin to build sight word vocabulary
- Read simple then more difficult early-reader books and read independently for 10 to 15 minutes
- Identify basic genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry)
- Retell the main idea of a story and participate in group discussions
- Use basic punctuation when reading orally, notice own errors and begin correcting own mistakes
- Read words using consonant blends; identify compound words and understand the meaning of contractions
- Use technology by using pull-down menus, icons, etc. for a resource to locate and sort information
- Gather information from graphs, charts, tables and maps
- Reading is fundamental to functioning in today’s society. There are many adults who cannot read well enough to understand the instructions on a medicine bottle. That is a scary thought – especially for their children. Filling out applications becomes impossible without help. Reading road or warning signs is difficult. Even following a map becomes a chore. Day-to-day activities that many people take for granted become a source of frustration, anger and fear.
- Reading is a vital skill in finding a good job. Many well-paying jobs require reading as a part of job performance. There are reports and memos which must be read and responded to. Poor reading skills increases the amount of time it takes to absorb and react in the workplace. A person is limited in what they can accomplish without good reading and comprehension skills.
- Reading is important because it develops the mind. The mind is a muscle. It needs exercise. Understanding the written word is one way the mind grows in its ability. Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills.
- It is how we discover new things. Books, magazines and even the Internet are great learning tools which require the ability to read and understand what is read. A person who knows how to read can educate themselves in any area of life they are interested in. We live in an age where we overflow with information, but reading is the main way to take advantage of it. .
- Reading develops the imagination. TV and computer games have their place, but they are more like amusement. Amusement comes from two words ‘a’ [non] and ‘muse’ [think]. Amusement is non-thinking activities Reading is fundamental in developing a good self image. Non-readers or poor readers often have low opinions of themselves and their abilities. Many times they feel as if the world is against them. They feel isolated [everybody else can read – which isn’t true] and behavior problems can surface. They can perform poorly in other subjects because they cannot read and understand the material. Often the reader tends to ‘give up.’
- Read texts with fluency, understanding and competence, decoding groups of words/phrases and not just single words
- Read for a variety of purposes: learning, pleasure, research, comparison.
- Use a wide range of reading comprehension strategies appropriate to texts , including digital texts: to retrieve information; to link to previous knowledge, follow a process or argument, summarise, link main ideas; to monitor their own understanding; to question, analyse, synthesise and evaluate
- Use an appropriate critical vocabulary while responding to literary texts
- Engage in sustained private reading as a pleasurable and purposeful activity, applying what they have learned about the effectiveness of spoken and written texts to their own experience of reading
- Read their texts for understanding and appreciation of character, setting, story and action: to explore how and why characters develop, and to recognise the importance of setting and plot structure
- Select key moments from their texts and give thoughtful value judgements on the main character, a key scene, a favourite image from a film, a poem, a drama, a chapter, a media or web based event
- Read their texts to understand and appreciate language enrichment by examining an author’s choice of words, the use and effect of simple figurative language, vocabulary and language patterns, and images, as appropriate to the text
- Identify, appreciate and compare the ways in which different literary, digital and visual genres and sub-genres shape texts and shape the reader’s experience of them
- Know how to use language resources (e.g. dictionary, thesaurus and online resources) in order to assist their vocabulary development
- Identify and comment on features of English at word and sentence level using appropriate terminology, showing how such features contribute to overall effect
- Understand how word choice, syntax, grammar and text structure may vary with context and purpose Appreciate a variety of registers and understand their use in the written context
Many students are more comfortable when it comes to reading it loudly.The reader incorporates variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact, questions, and comments to produce a fluent and enjoyable delivery. Listening to proficient readers provides a model for fluent reading and can help students, recognize how to pronounce unfamiliar words. By encouraging students to read encourages class participation and helps to practically involve all present in the class.
Select a Text:
Most texts are appropriate to read as a read-aloud. It can be challenging to hold some students’ attention for texts longer than two pages, but an extremely engaging story can hold students’ attention for quite a while.
- Read Aloud
When doing a read-aloud, it is best if all students have a copy of the text so that they can follow along, usually taking notes as they listen. The teacher or a volunteer can begin reading the text, reading a few lines or a whole paragraph. There are many ways to structure a read-aloud:
- Students can read in the order in which they are sitting, continuing around the room until the text is finished. Sometimes teachers allow students to say “pass” if they prefer not to read.
- Read-alouds can be structured “popcorn style.” As soon as one student stops reading, another student can begin.
- Trainers can assign students a section of the text to read. Often teachers give students the assignment the night before, so that they can practice reading for homework.
As the text is read, students can mark up their own text or take notes on a graphic organizer. Many teachers have students underline or highlight important words or phrases in the text and write questions in the margins of the page. Sometimes teachers give students questions that they should answer as they listen to the text being read.
Pause for Comments
Depending on the length of the reading, you may want to pause after each paragraph to check for understanding, clarify misconceptions, and ask students to make predictions.
If there are particularly important parts of the material that you want to emphasize, you can have students reread these sections. Students often pick up on different ideas and words when they hear a text read more than once. Or, after the read-aloud, you can ask students to reread the text silently on their own.
Let’s break this down, starting with Step One. Before you even start reading, take a moment to look at the material. Read the title and try to determine before you’ve even begun to read what the story or book is about, where it takes place, and who the main character is.
These types of questions will help encourage interest in the story as well as help focus the brain on certain bits of information. Read the story from beginning to end. At this point, you don’t need to stop and look up new words in a dictionary or ask for help in clarification of materials. Read the passage, story, or book in an effort to gain as much knowledge as you can on the first read-through.
If possible, talk about the story with someone else, or talk to yourself about it. What was the story about, who was in the story, where did it take place, and most importantly, did you like the story? If you did, can you answer why you liked it? If you didn’t like the story or the book, can you give reasons why?
The last step involves learning new words and checking the meaning of some of the vocabulary you didn’t understand with the help of a dictionary. This will not only help to increase your vocabulary, but may help to explain certain portions of the document, short story, or book you have read that didn’t seem very clear the first time around.
Activities with examples
We will go through an activity. “Read Aloud”
Here, everyone will be given a random reading topic or an audio could be played the students have to understand and comprehend it loudly.
In short, students will be able to:
- Actively think about what is happening in a text while reading it, in order to generate questions.
- Understand that there are different types of questions, and be able to categorize them
- Answer their own and their peers questions by connecting ideas, using background knowledge and further research.
- Read with a question in mind, which requires students to skim and scan during reading and jot it down into their own words.
Another example could be:
Guide students in annotation by directing them to do more than highlight or underline. Encourage students to have a conversation with the text by jotting notes on the text while reading—this keeps students engaged and often increases comprehension. Annotations can include:
- Defining new words
- Asking questions
- Coding recurring words and themes
- Making personal connections to the text
- Citing current events
- Highlighting heading and subheadings
- Summarizing paragraphs
- Categorizing information
- Numbering and ordering
- Drawing pictures
The list of possibilities is endless—the point is to have students form their own process when approaching a text. But don’t be afraid to give students specific annotation guidelines such as “annotate the writer’s characterization techniques” or “find examples of . . .” to help them focus. Annotations also help students identify which strategies work best for them as they try to process and understand information.
Summary of Learning:
The read-aloud helps trainers build and experience a sense of community in the classroom, provides common ground for discussion, entertains, requires little formal student response (giving all learners time to feel confident and competent), and connects the group to reading and to books as a way to learn and enjoy.