read in terms of what we already know and we integrate what we already know with the content of what we are reading” (p.54).
22.214.171.124 Sub skills View of Reading
Several models of the reading process have been developed over the years to explain how a reader derives meaning from a text. Early research in second language reading (particularly English as a Second Language) assumed it was constituted of several sub skills.
Munby (1978), pursuing Bloom’s type taxonomy, identified the following sub skills underlying reading comprehension:
Recognizing the script of a language
Deducing the meaning and use of unfamiliar lexical items
Understanding explicitly stated information
Understanding information when not explicitly stated
Understanding conceptual meaning
Understanding the communicative value (function) of sentences and utterances
Understanding relations within the sentences
Understanding cohesion between parts of a text through lexical and grammatical cohesion devices
Interpreting the text by going outside it
Recognizing indicators in discourse
Indentifying the main point of important information in a piece of discourse
Distinguishing the main idea from supporting details
Extracting salient points to summarize (the text, an idea etc.)
Selective extraction of relevant points from a text
Basic reference skills
Scanning locate specifically required information
Transcoding information from diagrammatic display (cited in Grellet, 1981, p.4-5).
This vies of the nature of the reading comprehension, sometimes called bottom-up reading process, assumes that meaning resides in the text itself, that is, text-based factors determine meaning. Carrel (1988) explains, “[Second Language reading] was viewed primarily as a decoding process of reconstructing the author’s intended meaning via recognizing the printed letters and words, and building up a meaning for a text from the smaller textual units at the ‘bottom’ (letters and words) to larger and larger units at the ‘top’ (phrases, clauses, intersentential linkage). Problems of second language reading comprehension were viewed as being essentially deciding problems deriving meaning from print (p.2).”
This approach of reading emphasizes the language forma as the function for comprehension of a written text. As a matter of fact, this outdated view of reading comprehension was developed by structural linguists who favored mechanical learning fashion. Bloomfield (1933) stated that, “the person who learns to read, acquires the habit of responding to the sight of letters by the utterance of phonemes. This does not mean that he is learning to utter phonemes: he can be taught to read only after his phonemic habits are thoroughly established” (p. 500-501; cited in Celce-Murcia (ED), p. 196).
Thus in terms of reading, according to Paran (1997), bottom-up model claims that the reader perceives every letter, organizes the perceived letters into words, and then organizes the words into phrases, clauses, and sentences. Meaning at any level 9e.g. word or phrase), is accessed only, once processing at previous (i.e. lower) levels has been completed. Thus, the reader will process all the letters in a word before the meaning of the word is accessed; likewise, the reader will process all the words in a phrase or a clause before constructing its meaning.
This model, basically, postulated the reading to be started with smallest linguistic units, single letters, mixture of letters, words and up to phrases and sentences, etc. the text-based view of reading implies that the proper approach in teaching students to read is to teach the language forms they need to know to be able to comprehend the reading (Chastain, 1988).
On the other hand, these models have not been away from criticism because of the heavy burden this process would make on the short-term memory. For example, there are more than 166 letter-to-sound correspondences in English, thus reading would be a slow and arduous process (Davies, 1995). In addition, this model does not account for the use of skimming or predicting to make sense of the text (Barnett, 1989).
2.1.4 Different Kinds of Reading
According to the readers’ purpose, various types of reading are recognized. It is noteworthy that there is no all-agreed-upon definition or application of these terms, further, the general concept or application of these terms may be, to a large extent, overlapping.
Richards, Platt, and Platt (1992) explain such terms as:
Literal comprehension: Reading in order to understand, remember, or recall the information explicitly contained in a passage,
Inferential comprehension: Reading in order to find information which is not explicitly stated in a passage (INFERENCING),
Critical or evaluative comprehension: Reading in order to compare information in a passage with the reader’s own knowledge and values,
Appreciative comprehension: Reading in order to gain an emotional or other valued response from a passage (p.306-307).
Richards et al. (1992) introduces extensive and intensive reading as two reading activities commonly used in teaching reading (p.133). According to them, extensive reading is defined as “reading in quantity and in order to gain a general understanding of what is read. It is intended to develop good reading habits, to build up knowledge of vocabulary and structure, and to encourage a liking for reading” (p.133). Hayashi (1999), in an empirical study on 100 EFL Japanese sophomores, concluded that, ‘extensive reading both in L 1 and L 2 is fundamentally more important than simply teaching reading strategies in EFL classes” (p.133). Krashen (1982), calling extensive reading as pleasure reading, consistently argues that pleasure reading is an important source of comprehensible input for acquisition (p.164). The only requirement “is that the story or main idea to be comprehensible and the topic be something the student is genuinely interested in, that he would read in his first language”. Intensive reading, as defined by Richards et al. (1992, p. 133), “is generally done at a slower speed, and requires a higher degree of understanding than extensive reading”. The major objective of intensive reading, according to Paulstone and Bruder (1976) “is developing the ability to decode message by drawing on syntactic and lexical dues, and the emphasis as in all reading is on skills for recognition rather than for production of language features….it also deals with developing strategies of expectation and guessing meaning from context, as with using dictionaries” (p. 163).
Another reading type is speed reading or rapid reading, which according to Richards et al. (1992), is defined as “techniques used to teach people to read more quickly and achieve a greater degree of understanding of what they read” (p.347).
Scanning and skimming are also presented as two kinds of speed reading. Scanning is expressed by Richards et al. (1992), as “a type of speed reading techniques which is used when the reader wants to locate a particular piece of information without necessary understanding the rest of a text or passage” (p. 322). In defining skimming or skim-reading they say, “it is also a speed reading which is used when the reader wants to get the main idea or ideas from a passage”.
Lorch, Lorch, & Kluswitz (1993) have classified reading into ten types as follows:
Exam preparation: In this type, reading purposes are fully specified, they will be immediately evaluated, students read slowly, use self-testing, and they are attentive during reading.
Reading for research: The purpose of reading is specifies, the reader immediately evaluates what he has read; he is not distracted, and carefully analyzes the writing style and the content, and he is more emotionally involved.
Class preparation: The purpose of reading is global, and no immediate evaluation is involved, the reader reads fast and pays less attention to details.
Reading to learn: There is a global purpose, no immediate evaluation is involved, and there is an average profile for school reading.
Reading to apply: The reader reads in order to gather information for a specific application, so that reading becomes slow; cognitive demands are high, and careful attention is required.
Search: The reader looks for specific information.
Reading to self-inform: The reading purpose is to gain knowledge in an area of interest.
Intellectually challenging reading: The reading purpose appears to be intellectual involvement rather than affective involvement.
Reading for stimulation: The reading purpose is an affective involvement, reading style includes visualization and anticipation, and it involves high concentration and low distraction.
Light reading: The reading purpose is relaxation, positive affection, and enjoy (p.26).
2.1.5 Teaching and Learning Reading
Having viewed reading comprehension process, Chastain (1988) enumerates several important conclusion as “students do not need to know all the vocabulary and grammar to comprehend a major portion of the text and recreate the author’s meaning. They can learn reading strategies that enable them to read at much higher levels of proficiency. Also teachers can initiate activities that heighten students’ motivation and increase their level of comprehension” (p.223-224).
Loew (1984) offers practical advice for teaching reading skills. He argues language teachers to encourage students to guess, to tolerate ambiguity, to link ideas, to paraphrase, and to summarize so that they stop dwelling on isolated words often not visual to comprehension (cited in Chastain, 1988, p.224).
Grellet (1981) introduces useful reading techniques such as,