The importance of reading
The ability to read is one of the most valuable skills we can acquire. It is a tool for thinking, learning and entertainment. Reading opens doors and minds; it gives us the ability to unlock the secrets of the universe and release our imaginations. It is a skill that many of us take for granted, but without it the world would seem a more unfriendly place.
No wonder learning to read is a vital part of each and every school day!
Like everything else —the more you read, the better you get!
Reading is more than just saying all the words on the page in order. Reading is a process of getting meaning from print. Effective readers use their knowledge of the world and of language in their quest to make meaning from the words on the page. Reading takes place when the reader understands the message of the writer.
Strategies used by effective readers
Effective readers use a combination of three cuing systems to predict and check what the author has written. The use of these systems is obvious in the miscues (rather than “mistakes”) that readers make.
- The most important cuing system is knowledge of the topic. If you know lots about dinosaurs, you can read those big difficult-looking words and understand what they mean. If you know nothing of legal jargon then even sounding out those big difficult-looking words won’t help you understand.
- The second system is knowledge of language and grammar. We expect the words to flow with meaning and not be a jumble of nonsense.
- The first two systems combine to predict the words on the page. We then check with the print to ensure our expectations were correct.
For example, if the story is about a cowboy you may expect that he would jump on his pony, but when you look at the print, you find he actually jumped on his horse.
Effective readers may say ‘pony’ instead of horse, but they definitely wouldn’t say ‘house’ (which looks similar) as it just wouldn’t make sense!
Continue reading: readilearn: Help your child read – some strategies