- This article is about reading comprehension. For the pronunciation of words while reading see Decoding written words.
Reading, along with writing, speaking and listening is one of the four primary skills. Comprehension of a text depends on the successful application of a number of specific reading skills, skills which teachers may find are lacking in a student's use of his/her own language.
For those familiar with the Latin alphabet it is probably the easiest skill to acquire as no "real time" mental processing is necessary and it is not a productive skill. That is to say that the user does not have to generate anything in the way that is necessary with writing and speaking.
On the other hand it is not a "natural skill" in the way that listening and speaking are. While both listening and speaking are acquired naturally by (almost) everyone, reading and writing are learned skills.
Naturally, "reading" doesn't only mean straight text but involves being able to interpret other graphics such as PowerPoint slides, diagrams, charts, graphs, flow charts, and so on.
There are several ways of approaching reading activities. Some of the following (in alphabetical order) may overlap in their format or aims, i.e. they may be similar activities under different names:
- Connecting ideas
- Distinguishing fact from opinion
- Drawing conclusions
- Interpreting diagrams
- Interpreting graphs and charts
- Linking ideas
- Looking for main points
- Ordering information
- Organizing a text
- Reading for relevant information
- Understanding words in context
A typical layout of a reading activity might include the following sections:
- 1. Preparation, pre-teaching of vocabulary; discussion questions
- 2. Main reading passage
- 3. Comprehension exercises
- 4. Development
- 5. Further reading
- 6. Writing practice