Children and the reading process

I have been researching the reading process and just wanted to consolidate my understanding here.

Kirby and Savage (2008) deconstruct the simple view of reading in terms of the complexities involved in the reading process for developing readers, suggesting that we view the simple view of reading as a broad overview to the reading process. Certainly, it goes further than previous models such as the ‘searchlight’ model whereby reading comprehension and listening comprehension were not even considered. The interaction of listening comprehension and the decoding of words is crucial in working towards reading comprehension, which it is discussed can be taught, and is affected by slow effortful reading.

The need then for the development of fluency and its role in working towards constructing comprehension is prominent. Harrison (2001) discusses both the ‘Top Down’ and ‘Bottom Up’ approaches to theories of reading development recognizing aspects of both as worthwhile. Citing Smith (1973, p.184) he states that ‘learning to read is not a matter of mastering rules’ and that as teachers we need to offer an approach that accepts there are skills involved in reading that are contextualized in an environment of valuable and interesting literacy texts as valuable texts teach valuable life lessons (Harrison, 2004, p.107). Harrison (2004) goes on to focus on the environment that we must create in the classroom if children are to be encouraged and inspired to enjoy reading and continue enjoying reading in their future, recognizing the pedagogy we choose to employ in the classroom recognizes the many aspects to reading development.

Clearly then, as teachers we need to utilize aspects of the ‘real reading’ approach in a systematic structure of synthetic phonics teaching that allows children to learn important decoding skills they will require for reading. Phonemic awareness is another aspect that becomes important in developing reading skills at an early age. Teachers need to introduce this and build upon children’s existing knowledge which they bring with them to the classroom if we are to aid children in their progression.

One question that comes to my mind currently is that of the culture of reading in a digital age. What is the impact of digital reading to the reading process – if any? More reading needed!

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