an exercise to show what we do when we read

readilearn: What do we do when we read?

Have you ever considered what we do when we read?

For many of us, reading has become such a natural and intuitive process that we rarely stop to marvel at the way we are able to make meaning from print or to question how one learns to read.

Although we know that we once weren’t readers, few can remember how we actually made the transition from being a non-reader to being able to read and have been doing it for so long now that it seems we always could.

Some adult readers have recollections of various instructional methods that were used in school and attempt to engage their own learner readers in similar tasks.

The recognition that some of the instructional methods did, and still do, equip readers with some tools for reading, does not imply that the use of these methods was the catalyst for learning to read. While they may have contributed to the development of reading, there are other influencing factors.

Many children learn to read despite the instructional methods, and many others don’t read using them and, in fact, remain non-readers because of them.

What is reading?

Reading is more than simply translating letters and words to sound. Reading involves thinking. It is a process of getting meaning from print.

Continue reading: readilearn: What do we do when we read?

21 thoughts on “readilearn: What do we do when we read?

  1. Miriam Hurdle

    Very interesting post, Norah. There are many theories of how one learning to read method is better than the other.
    My daughter had very good phonemic skills. She could sound out words accurately without knowing the words. In fact, when she was 6.1 years 0ld, her sounding out ability was equivalent to 9.6 years old. As far as phonics, her kindergarten started with long vowels instead of short vowels. They read books with many long vowel words such as “His name is James.” It worked well for her because they read stories right away instead of learning, bat, cat, mat…
    I would like to ask you a question in your email. Would you email me and I’ll email you back – mhurdle7@gmail.com. Thank you, Norah.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing that information about your daughter’s reading progress, Miriam. You mentioned her sounding out ability. Was her reading level also measured?
      I think learning to read books from the beginning, rather than learning just to sound out simple cvc words, is the way to go. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Miriam Hurdle

        Yes, when she was in first grade, my ex-husband demanded to give her an IQ test. The district did give her test but indicated that IQ can’t be measured until third grade. Even though we can’t use IQ test for certain ethnic groups. So she took the test in first grade and test her different intellectual functioning. The one standing out is her phonemic awareness. It helped her because when she sounded out the words, she could identify the meanings.
        As I mentioned, her kindergarten started with long vowels and started reading short stories instead of waiting to build the vocabulary by learning short vowels first.
        When I taught kindergarten, I read to the kids as the morning routine, but they didn’t read too much on their own. So my daughter’s school adopted a good reading program. πŸ™‚ There are many long vowel words to build an interesting stories. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Norah Post author

          I’m pleased you are happy with how your daughter was taught. I’m sure she did very well. You describe reading to the kindergarten children every day. I assume you read to your daughter every day too. I would hazard a guess that the talking you did with her and the reading you did to her made her super ready for whatever reading program she was presented with. The daily reading you did for the kindergarten children was preparing them too. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Miriam Hurdle

            I lived 40 miles away from work when Mercy was two. For the whole year, I played nursery rhymes in songs and kids singing during driving. She had the nursery rhymes memorized by the time she went to preschool. I ordered a set for her to let Autumn listen later. Autumn is almost 9 months. πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

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            1. Norah Post author

              Nursery rhymes are great for helping children learn the sounds and rhythms of language. They are mostly just fun and nonsense. No need for children to learn their dark history. πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

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              1. Miriam Hurdle

                That’s right, Norah. Ages ago, kids didn’t read until late. Dr. Seuss wrote stories with limited vocabulary, like Green Eggs and Ham. Kids could read those books and felt good. That’s what it counts. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply
  2. Patricia Tilton

    Excellent post, Norah. We all want children to love books as much as we did as kids. I also wonder if at times we have kids so overbooked in activities year-long, that they don’t find pleasure in sitting down and quietly reading. They are programmed to be on the go. My daughter didn’t like to read on her own, until she was much older. She only enjoyed it if I was reading with her and made it fun. Now she reads a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Patricia. I agree with you about kids being over booked. They always seem to have somewhere to go or something to do. That only happened to me as an adult. πŸ™‚ But if a love of reading is not “caught” in childhood, it’s hard to catch it, or make time for it, in adulthood.
      I think you’ve explained the secret to cultivating joy in reading there, Patricia – read to and with your children!
      Thank you for sharing.

      Like

      Reply
  3. Annecdotist

    Loved this post, Norah. Left this comment on Readilearn, but it might have gone to spam:

    What a brilliant way of illustrating the complexity of reading task. It reminds me of figuring out signposts in the Cyrillic alphabet once on holiday. The context then was through familiarity with a limited number of place names and working it out from that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for commenting in both places, Anne. I did pull your comment out of spam on readilearn so none should be spammed again, hopefully.
      It’s great to hear about the reading process in action. It’s experiences like working out those signposts that give a window into what we actually do when we have to stop and think.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. thecontentedcrafter

    I went on and read the entire article with interest Norah. It’s very good and I love the exercise you have offered for parents and teachers to stumble their way through to discovery of an alternative reading language. (Well I certainly stumbled my way through πŸ™‚ )

    Teaching reading is a tough cookie to crack as there are so many factors that go into learning to read and every one of us learns to read in our own unique way – and in our own time. There are lots of alternate views about how when and why too – sometimes I think it’s a miracle anyone of us learnt to read! Certainly having a home filled with books, parents who read, children who are read to, families who engage in conversation and where all are encouraged to have a growing vocabulary and children who are introduced to reading in an easy, safe and comfortable manner all allows the art of reading to become so much more attainable. I think you touched on all that in your article so I’m just confirming πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Pauline,
      Thank your for reading the entire post. I hope you did manage to ‘read’ all the pages of the story.
      I agree entirely with your comment. I hope I did touch on those areas you mention. I certainly have at other times, but I was a bit single-minded in this post. Reading is such a complex thinking activity that it takes books, not just a post, to describe all the bits that are incorporated. I agree. I think it is a miracle that any of us learned to read. It’s also interesting that writing (and therefore reading) is a human invention. Speech is natural, writing and reading are not. I think we sometimes forget that and expect that everyone will come to reading in the same “natural” way. You have expressed the conditions for learning language and reading well. Thank you.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  5. Dr. Andrea Dinardo

    Great post Norah! Simple, concise, and educational. Thank you!

    Behind the scenes: Most of my work as a school psychologist was investigating why some children weren’t able to acquire the skills to read. Learning disabilities, emotional challenges, family issues, and any number of issues could explain why.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Andrea, Thank you for leaving such a positive comment, and for adding to it from your professional perspective. You are quite right. There are so many reasons why a child may not learn to read. We need to do what we can to make it as easy as possible for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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