Theories of Reading

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Theories of reading :

Theories of reading

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Just like teaching methodology, reading theories have had their shifts and transitions. Starting from the traditional view which focused on the printed form of a text and moving to the cognitive view that enhanced the role of background knowledge in addition to what appeared on the printed page, they ultimately culminated in the metacognitive view which is now in vogue. It is based on the control and manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending a text.

Theories of reading :

Theories of reading The Traditional view The Cognitive view The Metacognitive view

The Traditional view :

The Traditional view In the traditional view of reading, novice readers acquire a set of hierarchically ordered sub-skills that sequentially build toward comprehension ability. Having mastered these skills, readers are viewed as experts who comprehend what they read. Readers are passive recipients of information in the text. Meaning resides in the text and the reader has to reproduce meaning According to Nunan (2003), Reading in this view is basically a matter of decoding a series of written symbols into their aural equivalents in the quest for making sense of the text. He referred to this process as the 'bottom-up' view of reading.

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McCarthy (2004) has called this view ' outside-in ' processing, referring to the idea that meaning exists in the printed page and is interpreted by the reader then taken in. This model of reading has almost always been under attack as being insufficient and defective for the main reason that it relies on the formal features of the language, mainly words and structure.

The Cognitive view :

The Cognitive view The 'top-down' model is in direct opposition to the ‘ bottom-up' model. According to Nunan (2005) and Dubin and Bycina (2005), the psycholinguistic model of reading and the top-down model are in exact concordance. Goodman (1990; cited in Paran, 2002) presented reading as a psycholinguistic guessing game, a process in which readers sample the text, make hypotheses, confirm or reject them, make new hypotheses, and so forth. Here, the reader rather than the text is at the heart of the reading process.

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The schema theory of reading also fits within the cognitively based view of reading. Rumelhart (2005) has described schemata as "building blocks of cognition" which are used in the process of interpreting sensory data, in retrieving information from memory, in organising goals and subgoals, in allocating resources, and in guiding the flow of the processing system. Rumelhart (2005) has also stated that if our schemata are incomplete and do not provide an understanding of the incoming data from the text we will have problems processing and understanding the text.

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Cognitively based views of reading comprehension emphasize the interactive nature of reading and the constructive nature of comprehension. Dole et al. (2004) have stated that, besides knowledge brought to bear on the reading process, a set of flexible, adaptable strategies are used to make sense of a text and to monitor ongoing understanding.

The Metacognitive view :

The Metacognitive view Metacognition involves thinking about what one is doing while reading. Klein et al. (2004) stated that strategic readers attempt the following while reading: Identifying the purpose of the reading before reading Identifying the form or type of the text before reading Thinking about the general character and features of the form or type of the text. For instance, they try to locate a topic sentence and follow supporting details toward a conclusion

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Projecting the author's purpose for writing the text (while reading it), Choosing, scanning, or reading in detail Making continuous predictions about what will occur next, based on information obtained earlier, prior knowledge, and conclusions obtained within the previous stages.

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Moreover, they attempt to form a summary of what was read. Carrying out the previous steps requires the reader to be able to classify, sequence, establish whole-part relationships, compare and contrast, determine cause-effect, summarise, hypothesise and predict, infer, and conclude.

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