Designing a Flexible Web-Based Reading Environment to Facilitate Self-Regulated Reading Comprehension

Topics: Educational psychology, Reading comprehension, Virtual learning environment Pages: 7 (2124 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Designing A Flexible Web-Based Reading Environment to Facilitate Self-Regulated Reading Comprehension Smaragda S. Papadopoulou
smapapad@gmail.com University of Piraeus (Greece)

Abstract
Reading has always been a foundational element of one’s education. The ultimate goal of reading, however, is not limited to word recognition; the reader’s success lies in comprehension. Comprehending a text is undoubtedly a complex process and it is even more difficult for all learners to acquire self-regulating reading skills. A framework of how a web-based reading environment should be designed in order to meet students’ diverse needs and help them develop reading comprehension skills through processes that favor self regulated reading is outlined in this paper. The attempted synthesis is based on the main premises of Self-regulation Theory and the pedagogical approach of Universal Design for Learning, taking advantage of the new possibilities offered by digital texts and Web 2.0 applications.

1. Introduction
Reading has always been a foundational element of one’s education. Learning to read is intended to provide students with skills that are necessary for proper word recognition and text decoding. The ultimate goal of reading though, is not limited to the recognition of isolated words, but lies in the reader accessing the meaning of the text. Reading comprehension is achieved when words are recognized and their meanings identified, relevant background knowledge is activated and inferences are generated as information is processed during the course of reading. It has also been pointed out that monitoring processes are essential in order to track both ongoing comprehension and the internal consistency of text, allowing the reader to apply repair strategies if there is a danger of comprehension breaking down [1]. Comprehending a text is undoubtedly a complex process. Currently both primary and secondary education teachers are frequently confronted with the same dual problem: the lack of reading comprehension skills on the part of many of their students and their own lack of experience on how to remedy this deficiency. It is therefore imperative that obstacles to reading comprehension instruction be overcome, that a shift towards a modern model of reading comprehension takes place and, crucially, that individual differences –a major factor that influences reading comprehension– are taken into consideration. Especially nowadays, as the emphasis on creating life-long learners increases, it is important that teachers not only foster reading comprehension but also help develop engaged selfregulated readers, i.e. readers “who set themselves realistic goals, select effective reading strategies, monitor their understanding of the text, and evaluate progress towards their goals” [2]. This implies that the appropriate theoretical and technological tools are identified and used so that specific learning procedures are supported in order to help all students develop self-regulation reading skills. This paper addresses the aforementioned issues and aims to synthesize a framework based on which a web-based reading environment could be carefully designed to aid the instructor while at the same time fostering reading comprehension and self-regulated reading for diverse students.

2. Integrating Technology in Reading Comprehension Instruction 2.1 Rethinking reading comprehension instruction
There are three main obstacles to effective instruction in reading comprehension. The first is associated with teachers’ inadequate training and preparation for the teaching of comprehension strategies. Secondly, effective strategy instruction requires a multitude of means for teacher-supervised practice given that good results depend on regular and continuous practice with abundant, personalized feedback. Finally, the third barrier is related to the growing diversity in contemporary classrooms [3]. There is no doubt that it is desirable to provide all...

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