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Reflective essay examples
Reflection on the Reading Process
Reading is in itself an interaction process that occurs between the reader and the writer. The idea of the writer is expressed in symbols in the form of letters. When the reader recognizes these symbols, he would then create meaning based on his comprehension. While the purpose of reading is comprehension, it is important to teach or develop in students their comprehension skills.
I have learned from the previous modules the importance of language in the development of reading skills. From Unit 2, I have learned that language and cognitive development starts from the grassroots, that is, the child’s parents. The child develops oral communication skills as the result of home education offered by family members. This development can also be affected by various factors such as genetic make-up and the environment. Nevertheless, the development of language plays a major role in developing reading skills. Unit 3 is about the transition from language to print. The development of language skills such as phonemic awareness helped my students in mastering beginning reading skills that will serve as the foundation for reading development. Studying language helped me understand my students’ needs. I have applied the lessons taken from NEFEC which had significant effects in my students helping them understand basic concepts in reading, spelling, and writing.
Five Components of the Reading Process
Summarizing all the modules, I have identified the five components of the reading process, namely: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Phonemic awareness is the skill to identify, understand, and put into use the different sounds of words, or phonemes (Katzir et al., 2006). A clear differentiation of the sounds of words supports the student’s ability to decode in both oral and print. Scientific findings showed that “phonemic awareness can be taught and learned” (Armbruster et al., 2001). Phonemic awareness instruction effectively improved children’s ability to read words as well as to comprehend what is being read. This is achieved through rapid and accurate reading of words. Through rapid and accurate reading, the child has the freedom to focus on the meaning of what they read (Armbruster et al., 2001).
Phonics, as differentiated from phonemic awareness, is the understanding of the letter-sound relationships and applies this knowledge to words that are unknown to them. It also allows them to get meaning from what they have read. Phonics instruction teaches the children how the letters (graphemes) in print are linked with the sounds (phonemes) in spoken language. Scientific findings showed that “systematic and explicit phonics instruction is more effective than non-systematic or no phonics instruction” (Armbruster et al., 2001). Some of the approaches to phonics instruction include synthetic phonics, analytic phonics, analogy-based phonics, phonics through spelling, and embedded phonics (Armbruster et al., 2001).
Fluency is the ability to read written text accurately and quickly by automatic word recognition and simultaneously comprehend what is being read (Katzir et al., 2006). Skilled readers are able to decode words they encounter by linking ideas in the text instead of individual words. Since recognition and comprehension occur simultaneously in the reading process, lesser time spent in word recognition would mean more time for comprehension (Katzir et al., 2006). Children can achieve automatic word recognition through “repeated and monitored oral reading” (Armbruster et al., 2001). However, automaticity is not sufficient for fluency as the former refers only to accurate, speedy word recognition while the latter requires comprehension.
Vocabulary refers to the words needed to communicate in an effective manner, whether in oral or in written form. Researchers differentiated four types of vocabulary: listening vocabulary, speaking vocabulary, reading vocabulary, and writing vocabulary. According to Armbruster et al (2001), “children learn the meanings of most words indirectly, through everyday experiences with oral and written language”. While a great deal of vocabulary is learned indirectly, some needs to be taught directly, especially words that are not part of the child’s everyday experiences. Vocabulary instruction helps children learn variations of words as well as word-learning strategies. In the context of the reading process, a reading vocabulary that has attained the necessary standards allows students to improve their comprehension (Armbruster et al., 2001). A clear understanding of the words used by the writer enables the reader to grasp the writer’s ideas.
Comprehension is the ultimate reason for reading. Good readers read with purpose and think actively while reading. They recognize their problems with understanding and look for resolution. Studies showed that “text comprehension can be improved by instruction that helps readers use specific comprehension strategies” (Armbruster et al., 2001). Comprehension instruction allows students to “understand what they read, remember what they read, and communicate with others about what they read” (Armbruster et al., 2001). While comprehension is the purpose of reading, reading without comprehension is not reading at all (Partnership for Reading, 2003).
I believe that good readers are aware of the reading process. This awareness is termed metacognition, which means “thinking about thinking.” Good readers are able to control their reading using metacognitive strategies. While it is known that reading strategies do not build reading skills, “teaching reading strategies is a low-cost way to give developing readers a boost” (Willingham, 45). I personally believe that there should be a wide awareness among students and teachers, as well as ordinary people, about the different reading strategies that will indirectly develop their reading skills.
Armbruster, Bonnie., Lehr, Fran, and Osborn Jean. “Put reading first: the research building blocks for teaching children to read.” September 2001. 9 Feb 2008. < http://www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/publications/reading_first1.html>
Katzir, Tami, Kim, Youngsuk, Wolf, Maryanne, O’Brien, Beth, Kennedy, Becky, Lovett, Maureen and Morris, Robin. “Reading fluency: The whole is more than the parts.” Annals of Dyslexia 56.1(2006): 51-82.
Partnership for Reading. Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read. Jessup, MD: EdPub, 2003.
Willingham, Daniel T. “How we learn ask the cognitive scientist: the usefulness of brief instruction in reading comprehension strategies.” American Federation of Teachers Winter 2006/07: 39-45, 50