Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reading Skills & Reading Comprehension Review


Francis Bacon (1561 -- 1626), the English essayist, wrote that "Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man."In your diploma or degree programmes, you are required to read a number of texts because that is one important way you can improve on your power of reflection and expression. When you read, you become familiar with the wealth of knowledge that has been produced and know how to participate in this production of knowledge through your own writing. It is therefore necessary for you to acquire certain reading skills and become familiar with the strategies and techniques that the authors of those texts have used.
You need to know, among other things, that:
(1) The texts you are required to read were created consciously and organized in specific ways;
(2) The patterns used in the texts relate to, or shape the meaning the author wants to convey;
(3) The texts, through the strategies and techniques used in them, attempt to influence our thinking or view of the subject matter, and indeed, our view of the world; in other words, the texts are a form of rhetoric.
(4) Comprehending the text or passage means unpacking it, in simple terms, identifying, analyzing, and separating those devices used in creating the message of the text.

Reading a text therefore involves finding out the idea it conveys through the way the text has been put together. In other ways, we cannot get at the meaning or content without knowing how the author has worked towards that meaning.

What Strategy Can We Use?

Our reading or study of the text needs to be systematic. By this we mean that the reader can adopt a step-by-step approach, as for instance in the SQ3R model. This is a simple way of saying that, to read and understand a text, we

-- Survey that text first of all (the S)
-- Question the text ;i.e. ask ourselves questions about the text (the Q)
-- Read the text or portion we have selected (the 1st R)
-- Recall what we have read, to be sure we grasped it (the 2nd R)
-- Review the text, to fill in whatever we have not been able to recall (the 3rd R)

For further information on SQ3R, see

Application of the SQ3R Model

We shall apply the SQ3R in our reading of the passages provided in Unit One (Pp 2 -- 15) of the LPA Study Guide.