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Edwin Locke's Theory of Integrated Reading

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  • 0:04 Integrative Reading Theory
  • 0:52 Perceptual Reading
  • 1:38 Concrete-Bound Reading
  • 3:48 Abstract Reading
  • 4:36 Abstract Integrative Reading
  • 6:00 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Frank Clint

Frank has been an educator for over 10 years. He has a doctorate degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.

Imagine being able to remember hundreds of pages of information more easily. Integrative Reading Theory has the key to unlocking this potential. In this lesson, we will understand key terms, define the theory, and discuss concrete examples of Edwin Locke's four reading levels.

Integrative Reading Theory

What do Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett all have in common? They devote at least five hours or more to reading and learning weekly. Could their life successes be a direct link to this habit? How do they remember all this information? Dr. Edwin Locke, known for his work in leadership and motivation, proposed a way to help you remember it all more effectively.

Integrative Reading Theory is based on Locke's book Study Methods and Study Motivation and is a method to help you concentrate on learning new material while trying to make sure your mind is acting on six exercises that lead to new learning. These exercises are referred to as 'integrations' in what Locke described as the fourth level of reading comprehension. In order to reach this level, let's follow the road that leads us there and analyze the four levels he described.

Perceptual Reading

Perceptual means you are aware or interpret something using your senses. If you can read and understand the alphabet, sounds, and how to put those together to make words, you've mastered the most basic level of reading comprehension. You may not understand what those words mean, but you can read them.

Kindergartners read and develop this skill set. Students practice phonics (sounds of letters, letter groups, and syllables) integrated within the reading curriculum until grade three. Some teachers use independent work stations, small groups, or individualized work with students to get them up to speed. Spelling practice also helps here. Students in fourth grade who receive dyslexia services will receive continued specialized instruction on strategies to improve their reading at this level because of perceptual difficulties.

Concrete-Bound Reading

Someone who reads at the concrete-bound reading level skims for facts and not a complete understanding of the entire text. This level of reading is at the surface for concrete details you can see. These are real, physical, visible details. For example, you might come across an image and information about wolves.

Did you know that wolves are related to dogs? They are the biggest animals in the dog family, Candidae, and are of the canis genus. The female wolf can get as long as six feet from nose to tail, while the males can be up to six-and-a-half feet long. The females weigh up to 80 pounds and the males can pack on another 30 pounds. This is amazing when you consider that a baby wolf, called a pup, usually only weighs one pound when it's born. A pup can usually have between three to five siblings born at the same time. Wolves travel in a pack, which can have up to 30 members, but they usually average fewer than 10 members. The pack size is determined by the available food sources. They're carnivores, meaning they eat other animals, such as elk, caribou, deer, and moose. They can run up to 38 miles per hour to catch their prey, but they can only keep up this speed for a short time.

As a concrete-bound reader, you skip past the complex information, like ''carnivore,'' and focus on phrases such as ''eat. . . animals'' and ''such as elk, caribou, deer, and moose.'' You see the words ''dog family'' and make a connection between the picture of the wolf and compare it in your mind to your next door neighbor's dog. Your mind makes the connection between the two members of Canidae family. You may not understand the full complex idea of animal species and how they relate, but you picked up enough information to understand the facts.

Do you remember being in a school where teachers shared texts and asked a variety of questions? Some of the questions seemed obvious because they were just scratching the surface. A third-grade teacher may ask small groups text-based questions and require students to point to evidence to prove their answer. The teacher asks, ''What color is the truck?'' The text explicitly says that it's blue. You don't need to read the whole text to answer this type of question, so many students who read at this level are successful with them because of their ability to skim for facts in the texts.

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