Understanding the Reading Process
Reading and writing are similar processes, as both involve the making of meaning by actively engaging a text. A reader is an active constructor of meaning just like the writer. Thus, teachers find it is particularly important to ask questions of their students after reading a text, and to answer their own concern: What have the students understood through reading? Teachers also like to engage their students in creative drama, both enacted and as a writing assignment. Creative drama is meant to engage all of the faculties involved in the writing and reading processes.
In Grades K-2, students are regularly presented by teachers with passages that have words left out. This exercise follows passage reading, of course. Writing is assessed at this stage by having the students write stories. Teachers would assess each student’s ability to compose appropriate language, follow the writing conventions (spelling, punctuation, etc.) and address the writing task. In Grades 3-5, teachers can have their students write stories with multiple elements, and assessment will be based on the inclusion of those elements, language usage, organization and mechanics.
Besides planning on assessment tools for reading and writing in the classroom, teachers must also pour thought over the development of a literature focus unit. The focus or theme of a literature unit must be relevant to the developmental stage of the group of students it is meant for. This focus would lead to generalizations in the comprehension of itself. Before selecting books for the unit, it is a significant practice to brainstorm for generalizations. Teachers must also identify literary targets related to the literature focus, that is, What are the skills and strategies the teacher would like to impart through this unit? Assessment procedures and learning activities including research projects must then be organized.
It is imperative that teachers recognize that the reading process consists of pre-reading, reading, responding, exploring and applying. By knowing these essentials, teachers can structure the reading process to make it effective. A haphazard method of teaching reading is not in order anymore, and therefore the relationship between writing and reading is also central to understand. Teachers must additionally know that children who are phonemically aware and also have knowledge about phonics are making it easy for them to assess the reading process on their part. Research has shown that the acquisition of phonemic awareness is highly predictive of success in learning to read. Similarly, there is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading. In particular, it has been found that explicit, systematic instruction in sound-spelling relationships in the classroom is more effective in reducing reading difficulties than a print-rich environment merely characterized by interesting stories.
Lastly, knowledge of the stages of spelling is required of all teachers. Assessment is made even easier when a teacher knows whether a student is at the level of scribble writing or pseudo writing, for example. An awareness of the developmental stage of the student with respect to reading and writing skills is central if we intend to help him or her onward with a dignified sense of responsibility.
As a teacher of Grade 3, one of the ways I help my students learn words is by having them complete a matching assessment with the definitions on one side and the vocabulary words on the other. I also put the vocabulary words in a box and have my students select the appropriate vocabulary to complete the sentence. And since there already is too much research and information about the reading process, presently I do not have any questions about it. Rather, it is my time of learning as a teacher.