Headline October 30, 2018/ '' ' MIND TO READ ' ''

'' ' MIND TO READ ' ''


*Comprehension depends on what you already know....... LETS START THERE, shall we?*

Many blame the ubiquity of digital media. We're too busy on Snapchat to read, or perhaps Internet skimming has made us incapable of reading with serious prose.

With, say, Americans' trouble with reading predates digital technologies. The problem is not bad reading habits engendered by smartphones but education habits engendered by a  misunderstanding of how the mind reads.

Example : Just how bad is America's reading problem? The last National Assessment of Adult Literacy from 2003 is a bit dated, but it offers a picture of Americans ability to read in everyday situations :

Using an almanac to find a particular fact, for example, or explaining the meaning of a metaphor used in a story. Of those who finished high school but did not continue their education, 13  percent could not perform simple tasks like these.

When things got more complex - in comparing two newspaper editorials with different interpretations of scientific evidence or examining a table to evaluate a credit card offers - 95 percent failed.

There's no reason to think things have gotten better. Scores for high school seniors in the National Assessment of Education progress reading test haven't improved in 30 years.

Many of these poor readers can sound out words from print, so in that sense, they can read. Yet they are functionally illiterate - they comprehend very little of what they can sound out.

So what does comprehension require? Broad vocabulary, obviously. Equally important, but more subtle, is role played by factual knowledge.

All prose has factual gaps that must be filled by the reader. Consider ''I promise not to play with it, but Mom still wouldn't let me bring my Rubik's Cube to the library.''

The author has omitted three facts facts vital to comprehension : you must be quiet in the library; Rubik's Cubes make noise; but kids don't resist tempting toys very well.

If you don't know these facts, you might understand the literal meaning of the sentence, but you'll miss why Mom forbade the toy in the library.

Knowledge also provides context. For example, the literal meaning last year's celebrated take-news  headline : ''Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President,'' is unambiguous - no gap-filling is needed.

But the sentence carries a different implication if you know anything about the public [and private]  positions of the men involved, or you're aware that no pope has endorsed a presidential candidate.

You might think, then that authors should include all the information needed to understand what they write. Just tell us that libraries are quiet. But those details would make the prose long and tedious for readers who already know the information.

''Write for your audience'' means, in part, gambling on what they know.  :

These examples us understand why readers might decode well but score poorly on a test; they lack the knowledge the writer assumed in the audience.

But if a text concerned a familiar topic, habitually poor readers ought to read like good readers.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on How to get your mind to read continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Daniel T Willingham.

In one experiment, third graders some identified by reading test as good readers,  some as poor - were asked to read a passage about soccer.

The poor readers who knew a lot about soccer were three times as likely to make accurate inferences  about the passage as the good readers who didn't much about the game.

That implies that students who score well on reading tests are those with broad knowledge; they usually know at least a little bit about the topics of the passages on the test. 

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare for ''Global Elections'' and ''register'' on : www.wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Mind & Grasp '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!