Reading is a complex process; it is not about identifying words but also about understanding them. Reading requires attending to the environment, encoding and interacting with the stimulus in a meaningful manner and linking the meanings of the stimulus with existing knowledge and prior experiences.
Reading is a thinking process; it is not just about calling or recognizing the words on a page but understanding what was read. Therefore the reader must make inferences and think critically to understand the information presented. Thinking while reading will allow the reader to determine the author’s purpose, evaluate the information and apply the information presented in a meaningful way. This goes to show how important experience is in reading, because with experience the reader will be able to think critically and make sound judgments. How can teachers facilitate the thinking process?
•by asking appropriate questions
using how and why questions
getting students to make predictions while reading
•model thinking while reading aloud
Questioning can help to involve the reader in the text and the reader will therefore make personal connections with the material. There must be a balance in questioning, the teacher must use the different levels when asking questions and not just recall questions. If the children are always asked to locate some facts they will not see the main idea or the author’s purpose. Evaluation and application questions are important in getting the reader to think, and so readers will spend more time reading to understand the material than skimming to find answers.
Reading is a complex act which must be learned and in order to learn we must read. We learn to read and read to learn, learning to read is often emphasized in basic and primary schools while reading to learn is the focus in higher grades such as high schools and universities. Primary school students can and do read...