What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense Soon - Education Essay Example

What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense Soon

            One cannot deny the fact that reading is the critical human skill - What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense Soon introduction. Teaching to read cannot be effective without proper understanding, evaluation, and development of comprehension strategies. Comprehension in reading has been the subject of numerous researches, but there are still significant theoretical and practical gaps in understanding how teachers may improve reading comprehension.

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            What makes sense now will not necessarily make sense soon. The development of comprehension approaches will surely change the structure of reading and comprehension in future. Everything will depend on the effectiveness of the current comprehension research. Pressley states that “given that there are some types of instruction that improve comprehension, it might just be sensible to do all of them. No one, however, has ever done an experiment to explore what happens when reaching is full of comprehension-enhancing approaches versus absent of them”. The problem is that there are too many contradictory researches, and too many confusing research results which prevent creation of a single solid comprehension theoretical (and practical) framework.

I believe that there are certain aspects in comprehension development, which are relevant now and which will be relevant soon. I am confident that reading comprehension needs to be taught explicitly, starting early and continuing through each grade level. If we want to solve our educational problems, we need to look at understanding what we read. These ideas are also expressed by Kirby. Pressley supports my beliefs, saying that “such instruction will affect 5- to 8-year-olds dramatically, in the short term and perhaps lead to development of better comprehension skills over the long period”. Simultaneously, several researchers have concentrated on the issues of text structure as related to the effectiveness of comprehension skills development. It appears that the awareness of students of the physical text structure and presentation facilitates students’ abilities to comprehend the text and to identify the most important information (Dickson, Simmons, & Kameenui). However, we can hardly connect these results to the ideas in Collins’ research, “younger and less mature readers do not concentrate on textual features because they are not aware of the impact text structures have on learning”. As a result, what makes sense now will hardly make sense soon. We currently try to apply various incompatible and insufficiently researched approaches to improving comprehension skills among students. Combination of such approaches will hardly prove to be effective in future. It is evident that both text’s physical structure and early comprehension development are critical for the success of learning, but is the combination of these two techniques scientifically justified?

            Effective reading is actually the scaffolding of background knowledge, vocabulary, phonics, and reading strategies to understand text (Comprehension Strategies). Yet, there is no definite understanding of the role of background knowledge, and how it could be properly utilized to increase the effectiveness of teaching comprehension techniques. These aspects will hardly make sense in future in the way they make sense now. It is very probable that the use of the world knowledge in teaching reading will soon need to be re-considered. The reader does not always come to relating relevant knowledge to specific texts: e.g., children may connect texts about airplanes with recent airplane crashes (Pressley). In this context, the only category which seems to remain unchanged is the importance of developing comprehension since early age. The crucial comprehension factors will remain useful and unchanged in future only in case we properly understand and utilize them. What we need is clearly identified by Duke: “a clear vision of effective comprehension; appropriate attention to underlying skills and dispositions, many opportunities to read and be read to; lots of talk, writing, and thinking about text, and explicit instruction in comprehension strategies” (Duke).  Consequentially, we will have to conduct profound research, and to determine the compatibility of numerous relevant comprehension techniques with the comprehension theoretical framework.

Works Cited

Collins, Norma Decker. “Metacognition and Reading to Learn”. 1994. ERIC Clearinghouse

on Reading, English, and Communication Digest # 96. February 8, 2008. http://www.indiana.edu/~reading/ieo/digests/d96.html

“Comprehension Strategies”. February 8, 2008.

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/curriculum_literacy/tree/reading/readingcomp/accessguidance/2/

Dickson, Shirley V., Simmons, Deborah C., & Kameenui, Edward J. “Text Organization and

Its Relation to Reading Comprehension: A Synthesis of the Research.” University of Oregon. February 8, 2008. http://idea.uoregon.edu/~ncite/documents/techrep/tech17.html

Duke, Nell K. “Comprehension. Presentation for the Iowa Department of Education Des

Moines”. 2002. Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. February 8, 2008. http://courses.nefec.org/folac16/lesson4-5/L4-5_NellDuke_COMPREHENSION.pps#1

Kirby, Sheila Nataraj. “Developing an R&D Program to Improve Reading Comprehension.”

2003. RAND Research Brief. February 8, 2008. http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB8024/index1.html

Pressley, M. “Comprehension Instruction: What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense

Soon”. 2000. Reading Online. February 8, 2008. http://www.readingonline.org/articles/handbook/pressley/index.html

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