A Review on Reading Theories and It's Implication to the Teaching of Reading

Topics: Reading, Top-down and bottom-up design, Dyslexia Pages: 15 (5131 words) Published: January 7, 2011
Universitas Kristen Indonesia

Opini dan masukan untuk peningkatan pengajaran membaca kepada pembelajar bahasa Inggris sebagai bahasa asing, baik yang didasarkan pada hasil penelitian maupun pengalaman, tersedia sangat banyak dalam kepustakaan pengajaran bahasa. Tulisan ini merupakan sebuah rangkuman atas berbagai teori, temuan dan pendapat tentang pengajaran membaca. Pemahaman terhadap topik-topik tersebut, terutama tentang teori top-down, bottom-up, dan meta-cognitive, diharapkan dapat dijadikan landasan untuk meningkatkan teknik pengajaran membaca. Dengan demikian, kemahiran membaca para pembelajar bahasa Inggris sebagai bahasa asing dapat ditingkatkan secara signifikan. Kata Kunci: top-down, bottom-up, schemata, meta-cognitive, pre-reading, during-reading, after-reading

Among the four language skills, reading is possibly the most extensively and intensively studied by experts in the field of language teaching. The results of the researches conducted for many decades on nature of reading—how people learn to process textual information—have contributed contrasting theories about what works best in the teaching of reading. As a result, language educators can choose among a wide variety of teaching methods and techniques for students learning to read in their second language (SL) or foreign language (FL). For students who are learning a SL/FL reading is the most crucial skill to master due to several reasons. First, students can usually perform at a higher level in reading than in any other skills. They can quite accurately understand written materials that they could not discuss orally or in writing with equivalent accuracy or thoroughness. Such condition will undoubtedly enhance their motivation to learn. Second, reading necessitates very minimum requirements. Different from speaking which requires opportunities to interact with sparring partner, or from writing which needs a lot of guidance and time to practice, reading necessitates only a text and motivation. Third, reading is a service skill. After learning how to read effectively, students will be able to learn effectively by reading. Realizing how crucial reading is for our students, we can see the great importance of developing their reading ability. To achieve it, we should improve our reading lessons by implementing the best method and techniques provided by theories. This article aims to describe principal theories of reading and examine some tips and guidelines for implementing a theory of reading which will help us develop our learner's abilities.

Theories of Reading
So far, there are three main theories which explain the nature of learning to read. First, the traditional theory, or bottom up processing, which focused on the printed form of a text. (2) the cognitive view, or top-down processing enhanced the role of background knowledge in addition to what appeared on the printed page. Third, the metacognitive view, which is based on the control and manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending a text, and thus, emphasizes the involvement of the reader’s thinking about what he is doing while reading.

1. The traditional bottom-up view
The traditional bottom-up approach to reading was influenced by behaviorist psychology of the 1950s, which claimed learning was based upon “habit formation, brought about by the repeated association of a stimulus with a response” and language learning was characterized as a “response system that humans acquire through automatic conditioning processes,” where “some patterns of language are reinforced (rewarded) and others are not,” and “only those patterns reinforced by the community of language users will persist” (Omaggio 1993, 45-46). Behaviorism became the basis of the audio-lingual method, which sought to form second language “habits” through drilling, repetition, and...

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