Green, pig, tree, pink – If you understand exactly what is meant by these four words even though they aren’t in the correct order, then you are able to comprehend what you are reading. By association and through memory activation, you know that green tree and pink pig is the logical order. Somewhat unconsciously, you have separated color from objects and linked them correctly. You understand what each represents, you know exactly what is being communicated, and you can create a clear picture in your mind of a green tree and a pink pig.
However, for some people who are in the early stages of reading development these associations are not automatic.
When you understand what you read, you are considered to have mastered reading comprehension. It sounds easy enough, yet can take years to master. Through deliberate learning and continual practice, the process of your engagement with a text will increase.
Without reading comprehension, words have no meaning and information cannot be processed or absorbed. Reading comprehension is one of the necessities of life required to help individuals get on in the world, as you need to master the ability to read and understand what is being communicated through the written word, as well as being able to speak it.
There Are Three Requirements Needed For Reading Comprehension
Three actions must occur simultaneously for comprehension to occur:
- First, a person engages with the sound pieces in a language.
- They then connect the letters and sounds to words.
- And finally, the person interprets meaning from the words they have read. This third component is the most difficult to master.
It is through active and long-term practice that a person learns to comprehend from reading and become literate, as they must learn to associate text with vocabulary. This journey of learning is rarely undertaken alone, and for optimal results will nearly always require support. From when a child is an infant, their parent is the primary educator and establishes the foundation that will be the critical building block for their reading ability and comprehension. School and university teachers continue to help children and young adults throughout their reading development stages.
Over the course of time, teaching more words with increased difficulty is the process that improves reading comprehension. This usually occurs as a natural process as individuals are faced with new words through education, courses, hobbies, and employment.
Fluency Is An Important Factor In Reading Comprehension
A fluent reader is a delight to listen to. They are capable of reading with ease, intonation, and expression, and at an appropriate speed. Many children and adults lack fluency in reading. It is difficult to improve this on your own, as you do need a role model to guide you in the correct pronunciation and inflections associated with the text. One of the most effective modes to teach fluent reading is to have someone else read fluently aloud, and then the other person mimics what has been spoken. Whether it is a teacher or through a learning tool such as audio books or online, there are many tools and strategies that can encourage fluent reading.
Seeking a guide for oral reading is the best way to obtain feedback from skilled readers. And the cycle of hearing, reading, and gaining feedback has a direct and positive impact on reading fluency.
Studies have shown that readers who are highly fluent even at the fourth grade level demonstrate their ability to group words into meaningful structures and read with expression. By contrast, low fluency readers at the fourth grade level fail to see sentence structure. Instead they group two or three consecutive words, and cannot make any connection or interpretation from them. They have no or little comprehension of sentence structure.
There is a definite link between reading and comprehension when meaning is taught, practiced, and these associations are made and locked into memory. Comprehension is required for an individual to fully function in our modern society, and so is an essential part of every child’s education.