Comprehension—the essence of reading—is a complex process. "Good" comprehenders are those who demonstrate an understanding of this complexity by using a variety of strategies when reading. These strategies include determining which information is most important, self-questioning, summarizing, inferring, predicting, interpreting, and imaging (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson 1991; Pressley, El-Dinary, Gaskins, Schuder, Bergman, Almasi, & Brown 1992; Long, Winograd, & Bridge 1989). More often than not, however, we need to teach children how to use these comprehension strategies as well as how specific typographical signals such as punctuation marks, italics, and boldface type help to convey the author's intended message.
We can use oral reading to teach these strategies. When using a Think Aloud, for example, we can show students how an experienced reader sometimes stops and questions what is being read to make sure that comprehension is occurring. The Think Aloud can also be used to show readers how background knowledge can help us understand a text; that is, we bring meaning to the page to get meaning from it. Using Look for the Signals can show children how different markings on a page can affect just how they read—what to emphasize, where to pause, where to stop—enabling them to interpret the author's intended meaning. Ultimately, then, we want students to understand that, in addition to their own related experiences, they need to pay attention to both the "deep level" (the author's intended message conveyed by characteristics such as character and plot development) and the "surface level" (those markings that the reader can actually see) to obtain meaning from text.
As Figure 2-1 illustrates, the oral reading strategies in this chapter not only help children develop comprehension, but also help students develop other attributes associated with skillful readers—phrasing and skimming, to name but two.
|Reading Skills/Strategies||Effective Oral Reading Strategies|
|Positive Attitude/Interest in Reading|||||||||||||||
|Use of Language Cueing Systems|||||||||
|Using Prior Knowledge|||||||||||||
Figure 2-1. Effective Oral Reading Strategies and Skills for Developing Comprehension
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