Day 5 Teaching of Reading – The Reading Process

Read-aloud The Giving Tree by Shei Silverstein presented a stark reality of how mankind draws resources from nature, to depletion without giving back in order to sustain the balance and benefits from a symbiotic relationship.  In one sense it personified the tree as a mother who is ever giving, ever nurturing.  Poem of the day was entitled If – by Rudyard Kipling (1865 -1936). 

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Kipling wrote Jungle Book and the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep, which I never realised encapsulated the bullying he experienced as a child in a foster home:

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, Sir; yes, Sir; three bags full.
One for the Master, one for the Dame–
None for the Little Boy that cries down the lane.

I read because I can and I because I love to read.  Having been exposed to the reading process its complexity is evident.  As a cognitive, social, developmental, language, affective and physiological process it begins somewhere at birth and finds its end in a constant state of evolution.  The process provides an efferent experience through the provision of new knowledge and an aesthetic experience through its sensory appeal to our emotions.  Therefore it naturally involves decoding using the senses coupled with past and present environmental experiences.  When it came to the pedagogical approach to reading  three models were identified:

  1. In the top down approach the teacher shares about a topic that the learner is familiar with, without breaking down the material into its phonetic components, for example. The teacher reads the story (input) and the student processes the information and forms their own meaning (output).  It reminds me of  ‘comprehension’ activities at elementary school where a series of questions requiring written responses, followed a printed or dictated passage.
  2. The bottom up approach introduces the reading lesson/ story with a focus on deconstructing the written text from the basic unit.  For example the teacher may start by saying, “Let’s talk about dogs” and follow through to, “let’s look at the words (phonemes) we will come across and how they are used within the story,” to, “now let’s read!” In this approach the input is derived from both the teacher’s questioning to stimulate and cue the student, as well as the pupil’s recall of their interaction and experience with the subject.  The output is the meaning the student has derived from the step by step teacher student exchange and the reading lesson material.
  3. The interactive approach is described as a blend of the two approaches using selective elements of each as inputs to the reading process. For example the teacher may extract information from the written text to help the student decode and derive meaning about the material (bottom up) which the learner may have been introduced to before (top down).

Naturally we explored the theorists behind the reading process. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was most captivating from the point of view that children learn through play and discovery.  As a result the material given to them for learning must be applicable to their developmental stage. The sensorimotor stage named object permanence as a milestone; the preoperational stage cited as a milestone, the emergence of language with perceptive expressions that rejected logic; With learners exhibiting characteristics applicable



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