Princple Strategies For Reading Comprehension

From Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices by H. Douglas Brown. San Francisco State University.2004
Assesing Reading: MAIN IDEAS

"For learners of English, two primarily hurdles must be cleared in order to become efficient readers. First, they need to be able to master fundamental bottom-up strategies for processing separate letters, words, and phrases, as well as top-down, conceptually driven strategies for comprehension. Second, as part of that top-down approach, second language readers must develop appropriate content and formal schemata-background information and cultural experience-to carry out those interpretations effectively. The assessment of reading ability does not end with the measurement of comprehension. Strategic pathways to full understanding are often important factors to include in assessing learners, especially in the case of most classroom assessments that are formative nature."

Some principal strategies for reading comprehension

1. Identify your purpose in reading a text.
2. Apply spelling rules and conventions for bottom-up decoding.
3. Use lexical analysis (prefixes, roots, suffixes, etc.) to determine meaning.
4. Guess at meaning (of words, idioms, etc.) when you aren’t certain.
5. Skim the text for the gist and for main ideas.
6. Scan the text for specific information (names, dates, key words).
7. Use silent reading techniques for rapid processing.
8. Use marginal notes, outlines, charts, or semantic maps for understanding and retaining information.
9. Distinguish between literal and implied meanings.
10. Capitalize on discourse markers to process relationships.

Taken from:
Hedge, T. (2000). Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom. NY: Oxford University Press.

6 Types of Knowledge

When reading a text, it is likely that you used at least six types of knowledge to help you make sense of the text:

  • Syntactic knowledge: e.g. ‘barlim’ follows the infinitive article ‘a’ and is therefore likely to be a noun. Similarly ‘taddle’ follows the modal ‘can’ and is likely to be a main verb.
  • Morphological knowledge: e.g. there seems to be a relationship between ‘barl’ and ‘barlim’. The latter is derived by affixing the morpheme ‘-im’ at the end. So possibly it could be ‘farm-farmer’, ‘mil-miller’, or ‘baker-bakery’, or some similarly related item.
  • General world knowledge: e.g. a knowledge of the structure of desks and of what can be locked that would be suitable for keeping treasures in might suggest ‘box’ or ‘drawer’.
  • Sociocultural knowledge: e.g. a knowledge of the architecture of churches might suggest ‘tower’ or ‘steeple’.
  • Topic knowledge: e.g. a knowledge of rural life might suggest the possibilities for the father’s employment.
  • Genre knowledge: e.g. the information given that the text is from a science fantasy novel might help a reader to realize that the setting is the future and to deal with the seeming anachronism of the watch.

Micro-Skills for Reading Comprehension

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