(This is still a work in progress I do not feel the entire blog is ready or edited properly but thought I would share it so long whilst I continue to put my thoughts together...)
This blog (Part 2) looks at the two types of reading: aloud and silent. It focuses on the importance of each style in a child's development and why it is vital to focus on both forms of reading. It follows on from my Reading Part 1 blog. After some contemplation I decided to introduce Part 3 which will focus on comprehension. It will introduce and discuss the concept of comprehension as well as a few tips on how to develop reading comprehension.
The definition of reading aloud was stated in Part 1:
"The ability to read aloud consists of fluency, expression and the correct application of punctuation. Fluent and effective reading aloud does not predicate a learner's capability of reading comprehension." (14 June 2013)
Reading aloud focuses on expression and reading accurately. A child who can read fluently with accurate expression and use of punctuation in their reading is considered a strong reader. They also articulate themselves correctly through effective pronunciation. A simple example of expression is to sound angry when the text is angry and a basic example of the correct use of punctuation is to pause when full stops, commas or exclamation marks are used.
These skills indicate that a learner is establishing a feel for the text as well as an understanding of grammar. Their writing of sentences reflects good grammar even though they may not understand or know concepts such as the active and passive voice.
Reading aloud can show whether a child has grasped three of the foundational reading steps: phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency. A child who can articulate themselves shows effective pronunciation (indicating strong phonetic and word decoding abilities). Skills such as word recognition (automatic identification of the word without using decoding abilities) and spelling also increase with a child's ability to read.
To determine understanding of vocabulary and comprehension questions and discussions about the text need to be presented toward the reader.
Expression: this shows that a child understand the emotion behind the text. A scary story may be read in a haunted voice or when a character gets a fright the reader reads using the correct "scared exclamation". A child or learner that battles to grasp poetry can benefit from reading aloud. This teaches them to try identify the correct tone for the poem. A poem about love should be read with a compassionate voice or a poem about fear should read using a scared or frightened voice. Using whispers or louder tones can express different meanings adding suspense and anticipation to the text. If a child is unable to achieve the correct emotion for the text this indicates difficulties in comprehension. Sometimes a child or learner can use expression but not apply it correctly for example an exclamation used to show an order (Bring me that!) can be read as an expression (Ouch!).
Punctuation: strong punctuation is shown by the application of long pause by a full stop, question mark and an exclamation mark. Sometimes a long pause is used when semi-colons are present. Shorter pauses are used for commas, dashes and brackets. The use of the appropriate expression for an exclamation mark and question mark versus a full stop (used to show a statement). Punctuation allows the reader to pause and gather their thoughts and understanding of the text.
A child or learner that uses the correct punctuation and expression learns strong oral and presentation skills. This means that the audience listening to them is also allowed to gather their thoughts about the reading or presentation. If the reading is paced and leisurely this provides the audience with the opportunity to process what is being presented. In comparison fast and interrupted reading or presentation skills leads to a distracted and 'bored' audience. This influences the ability to create motivational and persuasive orals or presentations (which are frequently used in high school for all subjects). This can be described as vocalisation. Solid reading aloud skills (vocalisation) opens the door way to powerful oral skills. Furthermore, a child with excellent oral reading skills often communicates and expresses themselves clearly and concisely amongst their peers. This is a useful and essential skill for life - the ability to communicate efficiently in a job interview means higher chances of being employed.
Never underestimate the value of reading aloud. This skills gives an individual an advantage in school, their career and their social life.
Children should be motivated to read aloud even past their earlier years. Frequently children start to read silently when many of their aloud reading skills are not achieved. This causes difficulties later and could be avoid with continuous reading aloud. Both aloud and silent reading have advantages - it is best to master both.
The definition of reading silently in Part 1:
"The ability to read accurately without reading aloud. Reading silently does not determine or demonstrate effective expression, fluency or the correct application of punctuation nor does it show a comprehensive understanding of the text."
"A definition of fluency in silent reading is the ability to read with sustained attention and concentration, ease and comfort, at adequate reading rates (for various grade levels) and with good understanding." (Taylor, http://www.gio.co.za/Documents/FluencyInSilentReading.pdf)
Silent reading is used in a classroom setting for the following reasons: present an environment for all learners to participate according to their own level and not in groups, preparation for exams and to add variety to reading tasks. Silent reading also develops different skills like skim reading, identifying important information from text (from rereading), cover more information (reading faster) and to improve understanding (as you are focused purely on the text not your pronunciation of the text).
Maija MacLeod states that there are two types of silent reading: intensive and extensive. (http://fis.ucalgary.ca/Brian/611/readingtype.html)
Intensive silent reading: is the focused and detailed reading of a text. This text is usually short dealing with common or repeated ideas and topics.
Intensive silent reading develops rapid reading skills and focuses on comprehension development in areas such as word attack and text attack skills as well as non text information.
Extensive silent reading: is the general understanding of a text. The topic is usually larger and less detailed than intensive silent reading.
Extensive silent reading broadens vocabulary skills as the texts or information read are broader: different sources are used.
Skimming versus Scanning:
Skimming is the quick reading of a text to get a general understanding of the text. This involves getting an idea about what the passage entails, the structure of the passage and what is the author's intention. It tends be sequential.
Scanning is the quick browsing of a text to find or locate specific ideas or material. The reader is looking with the intention to find something in particular.
These two skills are steps in developing stronger comprehension and analytical skills with regards to reading and writing.
Reading Comprehension/Understanding of the Text
This section I intend to introduce as Part 3. Keep an eye out for the next blog...