Importance Of Developing Competent Reader In Classroom Education Essay
The definitions of ‘read’ and ‘reading’ from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English are:
“Read means to look at the written words and understand what they are mean”.
“Reading means the activity of understanding the written words”.
There is a vast literature on the definition of reading. According to Spache and Spache (1969) there were a variety of definitions of reading due to the complexity and successive stages of reading development. Reading can also be described in a variety of headings such as reading for skill development, as a visual act, as a perceptual act as a reflection of cultural background and a thinking process.
On the other hand, Williams (1984) defined reading as a process in which a reader looks at a text and understands what has been written. He further stated that reading does not mean a person needs to understand everything he reads because people read for different reasons and purposes.
Reading by itself seems easy and simple but many studies have been carried out to show with scientific evidence that the act of reading is actually a very complicated process. According to Ponnusamy (1997), the first important description of reading and its process can be traced back as early as 1917 by Thorndike, a psychologist who coined reading as reasoning. The process of reading can best be described in an analogy written by Thorndike (1917) as cited in Ponnusamy (1997: 21) in which he described the reading process as:
“…understanding a paragraph is like solving mathematics. It consists of selecting the right element of situation and putting them together in the right relations, and also within the right amount of weight or influence or force for each. The mind is assailed as it was bothered by every word in the paragraph. It must select, repress, soften, emphasize, correlate organize all under the influence of the right mental shape or purpose or demand. Thus, it appears that reading an explanatory or argumentative paragraph involves the same sort of organization and analytic action of ideas as those that occur in thinking supposedly higher sorts”.
ii) Definition of Competent Reader:
In response to this question is how the term “competent” can technically have slightly different meanings for different individuals and families. The basic definition is that not only reading on a regular basis, but picking up at least some of the underlying message of what you’re reading. If you’re reading more for pleasure than work or school, then the key for competency is that you’re enjoying the story and feeling like you’re truly diving into the universe of the story when reading it. But as I just said, this term is one of those that is a fluid scale of meanings, so this is all just one point of view.
In the English progression maps, the competent reader is briefly characterized as being able to read between the lines, seeing meaning that isn't stated directly and to deploy a wide range of active strategies to find and read texts for different purposes.
Pupils who are becoming competent readers have secured sufficient reading strategies, such as phonics, contextual cues, word attack skills and sense of grammar, to tackle new and unfamiliar texts, with confidence, on their own.
While they may still read hesitantly on occasions, they possess sufficient self-help strategies to hear their errors and self correct when necessary. They not only scan ahead to tackle longer, complex sentences; they are beginning to look beyond the sentence to paragraphs, chapters and whole text layout.
Pupils at this stage read for meaning and are willing participants in the imaginative world of the text, visualizing, empathizing, and making judgements about what they read.
1. The Importance of Developing Competent Reader in Classroom
'Reading is a habit to be developed by oneself and it cannot be taught by teachers. Reading is an interactive process between the readers and the text. Knowledge means a deep understanding of topics and the language that the reader has acquired. The more the student reads the more are the chances of becoming a good reader. Teachers should implement various strategies in schools to bring individuals with good reading skills, for which he proposed extensive reading of easy and interesting books that would create interest in students to read and simultaneously improve vocabulary.
In countries such as Malaysia, the challenges for any student writers of
English are indeed great. In addition to having to learn to write (and write to learn) to meet the conventions and requirements of writing in the target language, they are expected to demonstrate a high level of linguistic competence to convey the intended message in their writing. In other words, to become competent writers, not only do they need to have a clear idea of the macro or top-down features that make the text cohere with other texts of the same discourse genre, they also need to be able to draw upon the relevant linguistic resources at the micro or bottom-up level to make the particular piece of writing cohesive (Celce-Murcia & Olshtain, 2000).
Within the literacy community, there are two distinct but complementary perspectives on reading development. The first perspective, prevalent in several well publicized documents and federal legislation (e.g., Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998), deals almost exclusively with the early period of reading development, what might be described as emergent literacy. This early period is unquestionably a critical time in reading development, and there are virtually libraries devoted to basic dimensions of reading acquisition, including phonological awareness, vocabulary, and fluency (Adams, 1990)
Yet, there is another view of reading development that extends well beyond the initial period of basic skill and process acquisition. This perspective looks at reading as “a long-term developmental process,” at the end of which “the proficient adult reader can read a variety of materials with ease and interest, can read for varying purposes, and can read with comprehension even when the material is neither easy to understand nor intrinsically interesting”. This particular orientation does not discount the emergent literacy view, but subsumes it as a first step in lifespan development.
It is this second perspective of reading development—one less addressed in public and political rhetoric, legislation, and educational policies—that we examine here. Specifically, it is the goal to investigate how reading develops across the lifespan by building on the vast literatures in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, expertise, motivation, and domain-specific learning, as well as reading research.
There are important educational benefits accrued by viewing reading within such a lifespan developmental framework. For one, it helps us to consider the changes and challenges students and adults face once they journey beyond the early elementary grades. Currently, there is an increased awareness that more must be done to understand the nature of adolescent literacy (Alvermann et al., 1996; Moje, 2000) and adult literacy (Kruidenier, 2002; Nist & Holschuh, 2000). The more we understand about adolescents’ and adults’ continued development as readers, the better we can provide for them. The approaches and interventions suitable for young readers taking their first steps toward reading competence are not likely to work for older children, adolescents, or adults, even if they still struggle to make sense of print (Alvermann, 2001). Not only have these adolescents and adults changed cognitively, physically, and socially, but the in-classroom or at-work literacy demands they face have changed as well (Nist & Simpson, 2000). A lifespan developmental perspective would not stop in the early years or attend only to those who have yet to acquire the most basic skills or processes. Rather, it would consider reading from womb to tomb; that is, for all populations and for all phases of reading growth.
If teachers understood the nature of changes that should occur in readers as they progress toward competence, and if teachers had some idea of the problems that might arise during that journey, then they could better formulate interventions or craft educational materials that might circumvent problems or ameliorate their effects (Pressley, 2001). For example, students’ motivations for reading are critical forces in sustaining their continued growth and development in the domain of reading (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). Thus, educational programs intent on supporting students’ long-term reading development should give ample consideration to such motivational variables, including students’ interests and goals.
2. The Competent Reading Framework
This reading framework is designed to emphasize on the active and interactive nature of reading. The aim of the COMPETENT reading framework is to develop COMPETENT, independent readers.
The content and utility of two models of reading comprehension tests, the basic skills assessment model and the multiple choice cloze (MCC) model, are discussed. The basic reading competency model assesses the ability to read or infer "basic" meanings from a range of written or symbolic communication, as is necessary for daily living in this society. This limited analysis of the basic competency model suggests some degree of positive practical impact of the test; applications of this model are illustrated. Criticisms of this model state that such a test is not theoretically based, nor objectively reproducible, nor does it yield scores that provide detailed diagnostic guidance in the instructional process.
The multiple choice cloze (MCC) technique was developed as one expression of the literal comprehension construct, viewed as the basic skill underlying the reader's ability to infer explicit meanings from written language. Items in the test are objectively developed and derived from a theoretical framework, thus providing guidelines for interpreting the resulting test scores. Current developments suggest that these test results can be used to identify the kinds of materials that readers can comprehend at the literal level for specific purposes. The test also appears to offer a diagnostic capability with fairly clear-cut instructional implications
3. The Benefits of Competent Reading Framework.
There are several key aspects of the Competent Reading Framework made it so effective in helping students to improve their own selves. Such as: -
Schools come to establish two to three hours of daily literacy instruction across all content areas
Schools utilize a framework for addressing four important learning components: comprehension, fluency, word knowledge, and writing
Professional development includes instruction, lesson planning, and evaluation and assessment of students
Teachers become better prepared to plan and implement instruction that addresses students' strengths and needs
Teachers learn to choose research-based strategies that lead to increased student achievement
Professional development extends to the administration to assure support of teachers' efforts to improve literacy instruction
The Framework is not a scripted program or commercial product, so it can be shaped to local contexts to better meet the needs of students
School personnel can match their own styles, curricula, and materials to Framework guidelines
All activities and staff development are designed collaboratively with each school
Adoption of the Framework has helped many schools accomplish remarkable gains in school reading achievement (Preliminary Analysis of an Innovative Framework for School Reading, National Science Foundation, 2001)
This project was adopted system-wide in 2001 by the Chicago Board of Education and is now implemented in 600 Chicago schools, with 26,000 teachers, serving 437,000 students annually
The Framework principles are consistent with recent finding of the National Reading Panel, and has been so effective that it is now used by hundreds of schools across the nation
Services for Helping Schools
The Chicago Reading Framework Project offers schools a wide range of possibilities to choose from when deciding on services. Schools can customize their professional development services by selecting from the following options:
School-wide support to implement the Reading Framework, focusing instruction on comprehension, fluency, word knowledge, and writing
Consultations to assist teachers in developing more opportunities for reading and writing within language arts/reading and across the content areas
Support for teachers in differentiating their instruction to meet the needs of heterogeneous classrooms
Follow-up coaching to teachers that includes classroom observations, support within the classroom, in-class modeling of instructional strategies that support Framework guidelines, oral and/or written feedback, and co-planning to meet the needs of students
Analysis of available student data to identify focused, measurable objectives, as well as appropriate instructional strategies to meet those objectives
Participation in grade level meetings to present additional, grade-appropriate strategies and information
Professional development that addresses the following key reading elements: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and writing
Workshops on a variety of topics such as assessment and evaluation, motivation, standards-based curricula, content area literacy, classroom management, among others
Full day or half day workshops, developed in conjunction with reading specialists to address school needs, are available for the whole faculty
Combine sound theory and practical classroom application to help teachers understand why and how to effectively utilize suggested ideas and strategies
Include modeling, guided practice, and comprehensive materials to help teachers fully grasp what they learned during workshops and apply it in their own classrooms
Consulting with administrators, reading specialists, and teachers to analyze school wide literacy efforts and determine long- and short-term goals
Advising the principal and administrative team to assure consistent implementation of the Reading Framework across grade levels
Assisting school leadership with monitoring and support of teachers’ efforts
Encouraging teachers to support one another and take more of a leadership role themselves
Collaborating with Reading Specialist and administrative team regarding techniques to address literacy improvement across the school
Assessment and Evaluation
Evaluation of all aspects of reading instruction and make recommendations for change when necessary
Analysis of standardized test and other assessment data to guide plans for school improvement
Periodic surveys and checklists for teachers and administrators to both assess the progress made toward goals and to determine future techniques to meet school and classroom objectives
Training to assist teachers in interpreting multiple assessments to better address the instructional needs of students
Regular classroom visits to collaborate with teachers to analyze their use of instructional time and strategies for reading instruction across the curriculum.
4. The Challenges and Potential Problems in Developing Competent Reader
Reading is a very important skill as it is recognized as a necessary part of obtaining a better job and access to literature and knowledge. However, reading in a foreign language such as English might be a problem for some people. Snow, Burns and Griffin (2006) claim that there are three potential stumbling blocks in reading namely the difficulty in understanding and using the alphabetic principle, the failure to transfer the comprehension skills of spoken language to reading and the lack of motivation and appreciation for reading. They further add that children who face early reading problem lack prior knowledge and relevant skills such as the ability to produce words, the ability to distinguish sounds, the ability to master the mechanics of reading and the ability to identify letters.
This difficulty leads to low motivation and can be problematic for language teachers as “the motivation of needing to read is powerful” (Nuttal, C, 1996 : 3). Nevertheless in order to help children to read it is important to get them to read extensively. Nuttal further adds that the latter is the easiest and most effective way of improving the reading skills.
During reading, students may have difficulty decoding, and so have difficulty reading the words of their texts accurately. In addition, these students read too slowly, or lack fluency. As a result of their slow, labored reading, they often do not comprehend much of what they read, and the attention they have to give to figuring out the words keeps them from understanding the text.
All too often these students lack sufficient background knowledge about the topic of a text. They may have trouble connecting the ideas of a text. They often are not familiar with the vocabulary they encounter, and have trouble determining word meanings. Further, even when the students possess relevant background knowledge, they frequently are not able to activate it to help them understand what they read.
Some readers also are unaware of text organization. They do not know enough about the organizational structure of narratives or the various organizational structures of expository texts to help them read and understand. After reading, these students typically do not think about or reflect upon what they have read. They almost never seek out additional information about a topic.
The cumulative effect of these difficulties is that they often lose confidence in their ability to read. Because reading is difficult for them and they cannot and do not read widely. As a result, they are exposed too much less text and so receive much less practice reading. Further, the practice they do receive is often frustrating, because many of the texts they are asked to read are too difficult for them.
5. The Ways to Instil More Interest in Reading among the Learners
Theorists, psycholinguists and linguists have given many opinions pertaining to reading and the process of reading. Many agree that reading is a complex area (Ehri, 2001; Snow, Burns and Griffin, 2006). In the process of reading, the reader constructs meaning from written texts.
In reading, readers go through certain processes. These processes are explained through the three reading models namely bottom-up, top-down and interactive models of reading. The bottom-up model emphasizes on print, wherein the readers decode the print in the form of letters and words into text, into phonological representations before constructing meaning (Nooreiny Maarof, 1998). The top-down model suggests that the readers guess the meaning in the text by making predictions about the print and construction of meaning with the guidance of prior knowledge (Ibid, 1998). The interactive model, on the other hand, combines both the reading models mentioned earlier.
According to this model, our reading is said to occur at various levels through the interaction of physical texts on the page and our mental concepts. This model of reading reflects the underlying theory that supports it, namely the schema theory. Schema Theory is actually our background knowledge at work in the process of language comprehension (Hadley, 2000).
ESL teachers can create a reading habit among learners by selecting books which are enjoyable to read. The criteria for selecting texts must be readability (ie . suiting the linguistic level of the reader) and suitability of content (ie . suiting the intellectual needs of the reader) . When books are appealing in colour and illustrations with little intimidation in language and content, there will be sufficient motivation to met any novice reader's appetite to read.
Besides this the teacher could also have a set of class library books which students can borrow. Some learners, once provided with reading materials will read quite happily with no further encouragement from the teacher, others will require further incentives
One way the ESL teacher can help is by setting tasks after reading a book. This provides a useful feedback to the teacher as to who is reading the most books and which books are most popular. Tasks include providing a guided book review format that the reader has to fill upon completion of a book and a class reading chart listing all the titles of books read on the horizontal axis of the grid with names of students on the vertical axis ofthe grid. By plotting, the chart will indicate the general progress ofreading in the class . It will be a good idea to ask the readers to relate a little ofwhat they read and perhaps hold class discussions on the more popular books read.
The texts that are given to students are simple and interesting and help them in adapting in literary texts. In the classroom we might have a class of mix ability students and not always all the students find the texts 'simple' per say. Teachers have to do their 'extra' homework to make the texts either simpler for the weaker students or more difficult for the good students.
Just to make the texts interesting and stimulating aren’t enough. Teachers need to be a good role model in promoting healthy reading habits. When students see for themselves that the teachers read and are knowledgeable automatically students would want to be like them. In short, being a good role model is very vital in teachers’ profession. The texts also must suitable for each level but we can't say that the language or vocabulary is not too difficult.
Private reading can be a rewarding and self-sustaining activity for them, worthy of the time and energy they invest in it. They see what reading has to offer them. Pupils who are securely established as competent readers read with understanding at a literal level and can also read beyond the text and between the lines. They infer and deduce both hidden and implied meanings and, even though their inferences may not always be securely rooted in the text, they generally make sense.
Pupils at this level deploy a range of imaginative responses to text, such as empathy, prediction and speculation. They may compare the world of the text to their own experiences and are able to make simple comments about a writer's viewpoint as well as the effect of the text on the reader.
In both fiction and non-fiction texts, pupils are able to pick out relevant points, supporting them by some generally relevant textual reference or quotation as well as identifying and making simple comments about the writer's use of language and organizational features.
6. The Strategies to Nurture the Reading Habit among Malaysian Learners
In view of this, something has to be done to reduce and if possible, to totally eradicate illiteracy among students. Therefore, to start with, teachers must be seen as role models for the students to emulate. Teachers must read a lot in order to keep abreast with the fast-changing information age.
Teachers should involve themselves in reading because according to Eskey (1986. p.21, cited in Renandya & Jacobs, 2002): “Reading…must be developed, and can only be developed, by means of extensive and continued practice. People learn to read, and read better by reading.” This view on extensive reading as a reading habit is also shared by Krashen (1993, p. 23, cited in Renandya & Jacobs, 2002) that through reading we “develop a good writing style, an adequate vocabulary, advanced grammar and … becomes good spellers”.
Finnochiaro (1989) also suggests that teachers need to read to help facilitate their teaching-learning activity in the classroom as information obtained through their reading will help them keep in touch with current issues and to apply them in their classroom discussion. An effective teacher is a teacher who always keeps abreast with changes be it in teaching or learning aspects. In view of the above mentioned problems, the researcher would like to investigate the reading habits of teachers in the four schools.
The poor reading habits among Malaysians can be seen in surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education on National Literacy in 1982 and 1996 (Kaur and Thiyagarajah, 1999). In the earlier survey, an average Malaysian citizen read a mere page or two a year whilst the later revealed an average of two books a year.
In view of this, the research looked into the reading habits of teachers in four government-aided secondary schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching district. The study focused on the types of reading materials that they read, whether their teaching loads inhibit their reading habits, factors that influence their reading habits, time spent on reading and reasons for reading.
Every one of us knows how to read, but how often we read and what kind of material we read? We cannot deny that reading is a very good habit, We can acquire the general knowledge by reading. That is why we are inculcated the reading habit by our parent and teachers since we are young. But, Malaysians have poor reading habit. Well, if you don't believe that, just check out the survey done by the National Library in 2005 to determine the profile of Malaysian readers. More than half of the 65,000 respondents answered that they read less than seven pages a day and those 10 years and above only read about two books a year. Now, it is the time to make the Malaysians realize the important of reading and make it as their habit.
There are many reading materials around us, for example, newspapers, magazines and all kind of books. Maybe people feel that reading the words on the paper is a boring job in this technology century, therefore, a new kind of book is being created, that is, electronic book. The words are not lie on the papers anymore, but on the screen of computer and you can bring along it wherever you go. It is very convenience to the people nowadays, you just save the book you want to read in the computer, no matter how many of book you want to read, there is no the thick and heavy of the papers.
Other than that, the government has already put effort into the programs that encourage the people to read more. Many programs have been organized, such as reading festival, reading campaign and so on. Although the efforts did not gain many supports from the public, we cannot deny the efforts were actually make an effect. Many of the people who were take part in those programs know the important of reading and make reading as their new habit now.
Besides, the reading habit should be inculcated among kids. To do that, the role of parents and early education is very important. The parents must tell the children about the benefits of reading and make reading more interesting to draw their attention toward reading. Parents may read them a story before sleep and ask the child read the story in turn on the next day.
In view of this problem, Malaysian Ministry of Education (MoE) attempts to implement more effective and efficient reading programs which are executed systematically and continuously via a long term program known as NILAM Program ‘NP’ (Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca) or loosely translated as “reading is the pulse of knowledge . Government schools or schools under MoE in Malaysia instructed to execute NP commencing from January 1999 in accordance to Circular Num.13/1998 dated 22 May 1998. NILAM: Concept Guide Book and Implementation in School published by Technology of Education Division, Ministry of Education of Malaysia (1998).
The Education Ministry is widening the scope of the Nilam or Award to encourage more students from primary schools as well as secondary schools nationwide to read. The Nilam Award is a reading programme initiated by the Education Ministry in 1999 to inculcate the reading habit. Students are recognized at primary and secondary school levels according to the number of books they have read. To be awarded the Nilam Award at primary school level, students must read 360 books or more, while at secondary school level, they have to read 288 books and above. To qualify, students are required to record their reading activities in reading records. In turn, teachers must certify these records. Recognition is subsequently given to students based on the number of books they have read and reading activities, such as storytelling, that they have carried out.
Other extensive reading programmes have also been implemented over the years such as Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading (USSR), ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) and the Book Flood Approach (Elley and Mangubahi, 1983 as cited in Renandya and Jacobs, 2002). The purpose of the programme is that readers read large quantities of books and other materials in an environment that nurtures a lifelong reading habit. While much effort has been put into reading campaigns and programmes, indication is that more and more Malaysians are not interested in picking up the habit. Malaysian students at the tertiary level have indeed shown our students’ poor regards for reading (Mohd Sallehudin 1994, as cited in Normah 2004).
The recent, Read-a-thon Read2009 was to inculcate a love for reading and charity among the young. For the second year running, students throughout the country recently participated in Malaysia’s biggest reading marathon. This event was organized by Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. This year’s read-a-thon, titled Read2009: One Nation Reading Together, was supported by the Education Ministry and held in conjunction with its 1Malaysia Reading Camp.
Read2009 was a simple name with a big message. Students read recreationally for 2009 seconds (33 minutes 29 seconds). Reading recreationally means that students choose a book of their choice, instead of regular school text. Students can read independently or together with their classmates and teachers. The objective of Read2009 is to inculcate students with a love of reading. The programme emphasizes recreation reading because students must be able to associate good feelings and pleasant memories with their reading experience; otherwise, it becomes a chore.
Reading provides a valuable reinforcement of language and structures presented in the classroom. It also provides learners the opportunity to practice inferring meanings from the context where structures and vocabulary are unfamiliar. In addition, it enables the learner to reproduce mentally and vocally expressions and words present in any written form. Thus, consciously or unconsciously the learner begins to communicate effectively, using the knowledge acquired through reading.
Extensive reading also provides the learner an opportunity to increase his reading speed, a skill rarely touched upon in the ESL classroom. As the student is reading for pleasure, chances are he will be eager to see what happens next and will therefore try to read faster. Moreover, as the learner is reading on topics that interests him, it increases his motivation and gives him a more positive attitude towards the target language.
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham
Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.
The following are several ways to cultivate reading habit.
Always carry a book.
Make a list.
Find a quiet place.
Keep a log.
Go to used book shops.
Have a library day.
Read fun and compelling books..
Make it pleasurable.
Set a high goal
Have a reading hour or reading day
The task of reading is accomplished through an interaction of top-down and bottom-up processing. A person's past knowledge allows text deconstruction but is simultaneously added to during the process by new information.
Becoming a fluent reader involves finding connections to one's own life and making new information part of one's own knowledge. The development of principled flexible skills that can be applied to different reading tasks is one of the most effective things from a reading class. Learners as well as teachers can better understand what messages are in a text by examining it with a number of approaches. Schema theory offers insight on the way knowledge is constructed but is far from a complete unveiling of the mysterious process of reading.
As teachers, it is important to provide quality reading sources that are appropriately leveled and of high interest to children. Research has shown that when children are interested in what they read, comprehension improves. In this program, we have included fiction, nonfiction, and readers’ theater books, literacy centers, online readers, and interactive reading experiences. We have addressed the building blocks of reading instruction by providing readers and related activities that reinforce phonemic awareness and phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. And, the materials provided to support these building blocks are interactive and motivating. It has to be said that making learners aware of the learning strategies they can employ to help them in their reading does seem to have its advantages. The learners in the present study generally performed better after the awareness raising session and this is evident in the better summaries they provided of Text 2. Since this is only an exploratory study no far-reaching claims will be made until the learners final scores for the reading course are obtained. In any case, the idea that there is an alternative to long-term strategy instruction that does not incur much cost or classroom hours but can still enhance learners strategy awareness is an attractive option to consider.
Reading is an important source of knowledge for those seeking to achieve fluency and efficiency in a foreign language . However, efficiency in reading is only possible if the reader is equipped with the appropriate reading skills. In the ESL classes, most of these skills are taught during intensive reading lessons. Learners of the language can soon become efficient reading if they utilize the skills taught to interpret the writer's intentions and implications when reading authentic materials. The ESL teacher can encourage reading habits among learners by setting tasks to complement the reading programme. Ultimately thought, the reader has to manage on his own. Motivation also is one of the key factors that determine the rate and success of learners’ attainment. It provides the main incentive to initiate the learning of a foreign language and later the determination to preserve and sustain the long difficult learning process. Without sufficient motivation, even individuals with the best of abilities cannot accomplish long-term goals.
As we have seen, a developmental framework of reading can be forged from the extensive research in expertise that chronicles the lifelong journey toward proficiency that begins with one’s first engages with written language. We recognize that there are other powerful forces and events in the lives of readers, outside those considered here, that can help determine the fate of developing readers. However, our focus here has been on the factors addressed in the expertise literature, and particularly in the research on the Model of Domain Learning (Alexander, 1997).
Those factors—knowledge, interest, and strategies—should be elements of effective reading programs and school curricula. Within teacher development, the commitment to this lifespan perspective would also result in certain programmatic emphases. For instance, there would be explicit attention to the teaching of strategies that underlie reading performance. In that way, teachers would be better able to assist their students in the development of rich strategic repertoires. Further, we would expect professional development to target a range of narrative and expository reading materials of both a traditional (e.g., book) and non-alternative (e.g., Web pages) nature; materials that students are likely to confront in and out of school. In addition, techniques for motivating readers and for incorporating their interests in reading instruction would be an integral part of teachers’ professional development. Perhaps most significantly, a concern for the fostering of reading development would no longer be relegated to the early elementary grades. Rather, the development of reading would be seen as a responsibility of all teachers—from preschool through high school.
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