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Article

M. Anne Britt and Jean Rouet

Multiple document comprehension refers to people’s acquisition of information from more than one document for the purpose of achieving their goals. Comprehending single documents involves constructing a long-term memory representation in which text contents get integrated with the reader’s prior knowledge. Both text structure and readers’ goals are important in determining which information is included in the reader’s memory representation. In multiple document comprehension, documents are associated with distinct source features and they do not have to follow the coherence and cohesion principles that define single documents. Thus, multiple document comprehension involves several additional challenges, including selecting documents, making strategic reading decisions, and sourcing. The documents model framework (DMF) proposed two additional representations beyond those of single-document comprehension: an intertext model based on identifying and interpreting the document sources and an integrated situation model based on representing conceptual connections across documents organized around the structure of the interpreted task. The RESOLV model extended the DMF by proposing that readers formulate their reading task within a larger physical and social situation (a context model), creating goals and methods to achieve those goals (a task model). One such task situation that has received research attention presents people with documents that describe discrepant accounts of some event. The discrepancy-induced source comprehension (DISC) hypothesis predicted that readers would use source information via an intertext model to resolve the contradictory information in their situation models. Several issues that are the focus of current research include understanding the factors that influence coherence across documents, creating interventions to help students become aware of multiple document challenges, and improving our understanding of the developmental trajectory for learning these skills and how they build upon more basic literacy skills.

Article

Scholars, teachers, clinicians, and the general public have puzzled over the nature and consequences of severe reading (decoding) problems for more than a century. With the advances of genetics, neuroscience, and psychology, we know much about the underlying nature of reading disability. However, we still have much to learn, and fierce debate continues about whether there is a subgroup of poor readers who can, or should, be called dyslexic. This issue has become highly contentious, as gaining the label can bring significant benefits in terms of resourcing, various forms of test and classroom accommodation, and more positive and understanding responses from others. Many clinicians argue that special cognitive tests are needed to identify and diagnose those with dyslexia. These may take the form of general tests of IQ, or measures of more specific cognitive or executive functioning. Despite their popularity, the evidence for the utility of such measures is low, and many of the processes examined are often problematic for all poor readers, not merely the subgroup deemed to have dyslexia. A further difficulty concerns intervention. There is no strong scientific support for the notion that intervention programs designed to improve underlying cognitive processes (e.g., memory processes) can successfully improve the reading accuracy of those who struggle to acquire literacy. Similarly, interventions geared to improve visual or motor functioning have not proven successful, despite often vociferous support from adherents. The only approach that has strong scientific support takes the form of an educational program that utilizes systematic, structured phonics teaching as part of a broader literacy curriculum. This finding applies equally to those who have been diagnosed as dyslexic and those poor readers who haven’t. For this reason, it is unclear how a dyslexia diagnosis helps to inform the nature of subsequent intervention. In establishing effective forms of intervention that can cater for any child who struggles with their reading, it would appear most efficacious to utilize what is known as a “response to intervention” approach. This requires early identification of, and intervention with, all those who are making limited progress. Intervention should only utilize those approaches that have strong scientific support. The nature and extent of additional educational support should be determined on the basis of the progress that is made when additional help is given. If insufficient progress has resulted, it may well be necessary to increase and intensify the intervention. Such an approach helps to ensure that all struggling children are helped at an early stage, and no one is missed because of an absence of parental advocacy or a lack of family resource that can cover the cost of diagnostic assessment.

Article

Photography has had a close association with anthropology from the beginning of the discipline. However, this proximity has not been as evident since the 1960s. Despite this seeming discomfort with photographs in contemporary social anthropology in particular, they can play a useful role in social research in general and social anthropology in particular as both sources of information and objects of research. This is not to about using photographs as a decorative element in a written text as is often done. What is useful is to see how photographs can become audible taking into account when and where they were taken and by whom. To do this however, methodological considerations of photography needs to travel from the sub-disciplinary domains of visual sociology and visual anthropology into the mainstreams of these disciplines as well as into the midst of the social science enterprise more generally.

Article

Elizabeth A. Stevens and Sharon Vaughn

Adequate reading skills are necessary for college and career readiness and success in the work force, but many students do not have sufficient reading skills. The 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress demonstrated that fourth- and eighth-grade students had made little to no progress in reading since the previous report in 2017. Elementary level students often receive dedicated English language arts instruction during the day, but this is not always true for secondary level students . One way that educators can support students across the grade levels is by providing evidence-based reading instruction within content areas (i.e., science and social studies instruction). Researchers have investigated ways for teachers to provide high-quality content area reading instruction to support the reading comprehension and content acquisition of students in general education settings. Previous research suggests that paraphrasing and text structure instruction support readers’ identification of key ideas and the integration of those ideas across paragraphs and passages when reading content area texts. These practices align with reading comprehension theory in support of conscious text processing while reading. Teaching readers to generate main ideas during reading may improve the reading outcomes and content acquisition outcomes not only for typical readers but also for struggling readers and those identified for special education. Educators’ implementation of such practices within science and social studies instruction may improve students’ reading performance and content learning across grade levels.

Article

Literacy is a gateway to education, and yet universal literacy remains an aspiration rather than a reality. The science of reading has, however, made significant progress in understanding the key factors that impact development. Five relevant factors can be identified. The first factor is the developmental focus of models. Here the richness and dynamic nature of development is central. Models must clearly explain change and phenomena such as bi- and multilingualism. A second factor concerns bioecological influences on development. Stronger models include understandings of the complexity of gene–environment interactions in development. A third pertinent factor concerns the precise nature of the learning task facing the beginner reader, and in particular the influence of distinct orthographies. A fourth factor concerns the coherent exposition of the cognitive processes involved in “word-level” and “text-level” reading processes. Finally, contextual effects on literacy are profound. Historical and politicoeconomic forces are often linked to wide country- and region-based differences in literacy. A detailed treatment of what is known about effective interventions for struggling readers can be built on the basis of this theorizing. Here, evidence from meta-analysis suggests that both the word-level decoding and text-level comprehension aspects of reading development can be measurably improved through evidence-based interventions. For word-level interventions studies focusing on phonics currently furnish the most secure evidence of impact. For text-level comprehension, interventions focusing on oral language development and text-based meta-cognitive strategy appear the most efficacious. Measure of treatment effects for such interventions show modest but reliable impacts on development and form the basis of ongoing efforts to optimize interventions.

Article

Reese Butterfuss, Jasmine Kim, and Panayiota Kendeou

Reading comprehension requires the construction of a coherent mental representation of the information in a text. Reading involves three interrelated elements—the reader, the text, and the activity, all situated into a broader sociocultural context. The complexity inherent in reading comprehension has given rise to a multitude of influential models and frameworks that attempt to account for the various processes that give rise to reading comprehension: for example, activation of prior knowledge and integration of incoming information with currently active memory contents. Other models and frameworks attempt to account for the components that constitute reading comprehension, such as decoding, vocabulary, and language comprehension. Many of the most prominent models of reading comprehension describe single readers engaging with single texts. Several recent models attempt to account for the additional complexity of comprehending multiple texts. Along with engaging in comprehension of multiple texts comes the need to contend with multiple information sources (i.e., sourcing). As such, researchers have developed models and frameworks to capture the processes learners engage in when the need to engage in sourcing arises, such as when readers encounter conflicting information. Much theorizing in the reading comprehension literature has implicated typical readers, which suggests that many models and frameworks may not represent all readers across various skill levels. Existing research has identified several sources of individual differences in reading comprehension that in part determine the success of comprehension processes. Such individual differences include working memory, executive functions, vocabulary, inferencing, and prior knowledge. Prior knowledge is particularly important because of its power to both facilitate and interfere with comprehension processes. As such, the need to overcome the disruptive influence of incorrect prior knowledge (i.e., knowledge revision) becomes especially important when readers encounter information that conflicts with that prior knowledge.

Article

This essay explores the contributions of Deleuze and Guattari with a focus on teacher education. Like Deleuze and Guattari, who write about messiness and unpredictability, this essay takes an unconventional approach and is structured rhizomatically, with an emphasis on Deleuze and Guattari’s contributions to modes of thought that problematize, conceptualize and challenge normativity. Problematization and conceptualization create opportunities for experimentation in teacher education, and this article references several research studies that propose different modes of thought. This essay is formulated as a kind of intermezzo, a space of becoming, with the aim of problematizing normativity through different modes of thought and concepts emerging in teacher education.

Article

The topic of gender differences in reading, writing, and language development has long been of interest to parents, educators, and public-policy makers. While some researchers have claimed that gender differences in verbal and language abilities are disappearing, careful evaluation of the scientific research shows otherwise. Examination of nationally representative samples of educational achievement data show that there are moderately sized gender differences in reading achievement favoring girls and women (d = −0.19 to −0.44 across age groups), and substantially larger gender differences in writing (d = −0.42 to −0.62), spelling (d = −0.39 to −0.50), and grammar (d = −0.39 to −0.42). Explanations for observed gender differences in verbal and language abilities suggest a complex network of biological, social, and cultural forces rather than any single factor.

Article

Meenakshi Gajria and Athena Lentini McAlenney

Reading comprehension, or the ability to extract information accurately from reading narrative or content area textbooks, is critical for school success. Many students identified with learning disabilities struggle with comprehending or acquiring knowledge from text despite adequate word-recognition skills. These students experience greater difficulty as they move from elementary to middle school where the focus shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Although the group of students with learning disabilities vary with respect to their challenges in reading, some general characteristics of this group include problems identifying central ideas of a text, including its relationship to supporting ideas, differentiating between important and unimportant details, asking questions, drawing inferences, creating a summary, and recalling textual ideas. Typically, these students are passive readers that do not spontaneously employ task appropriate cognitive strategies nor monitor their ongoing understanding of the text, resulting in limited understanding of both narrative and expository texts. An evidence-based approach to comprehension instruction is centered on teaching students the cognitive strategies used by proficient readers. Within the framework of reading comprehension, the goal of cognitive strategies is to teach students to actively engage with the text, to make connections with it and their prior knowledge, so that learning becomes more purposeful, deliberate, and self-regulated. Texts differ in the level of challenge that they present to students. Narrative texts are generally simpler to read as these are based on a temporal sequence of events and have a predictable story structure. In contrast, expository texts, such as social studies and science, can be particularly demanding as there are multiple and complex text structures based on the relationship of ideas about a particular concept or topic. Using principles of explicit instruction, all learners, including students with learning disabilities and English language learners, can be taught cognitive strategies that have been proven effective for increasing reading comprehension. Early research focused on the instruction in a single cognitive strategy to promote reading comprehension such as identifying story grammar elements and story mapping for narrative texts and identifying the main idea, summarizing, and text structure for expository texts. Later researchers embedded a metacognitive component, such as self-monitoring with a specific cognitive strategy, and also developed multicomponent reading packages, such as reciprocal teaching, that integrated the use of several cognitive strategies. Instruction in cognitive and metacognitive strategies is a promising approach for students with learning disabilities to support their independent use of reading comprehension strategies and for promoting academic achievement across content areas and grade levels.

Article

Penelope Collins and Tien Thuy Ho

Internationally, there has been growing commitment to bilingual education among policymakers, educators, and researchers. Bilingualism and biliteracy are not uncommon, as more than half the world’s population speaks and learns to read more than one language. Growing globalization in commerce and immigration have motivated countries across the globe to adopt policies promoting bilingual education. Bilingual education reflects any curriculum that strategically uses two or more languages in instruction. These programs reflect one of two primary goals: supporting language-minority students in the acquisition of language, literacy skills, and academic content in the dominant language of the community; or enabling students to develop language, literacy, and academic skills in an additional language. Although most programs serving language-minority students are subtractive in nature, using the home language to serve language and academic achievement in the majority language, dual-language immersion programs are growing in popularity. Dual-language immersion programs and immersion programs serving language-majority students reflect additive approaches to bilingual education, and their students have been found to perform as well as or better than their monolingual peers. Becoming biliterate requires students to develop skill in engaging with and making sense of texts in two languages that vary both orally and in their writing systems. Developing word-level and text-level skills in two languages involves a common set of cognitive processes that may transfer across languages. Instructional practices promoting language, literacy, and academic achievement in both languages include high-quality literacy instruction, translanguaging within classrooms, content-based instruction, and fostering responsive classroom climates that value linguistically diverse students and their home cultures.