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What Factors Help & Hinder Reading Comprehension?

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  • 0:00 What Is Reading Comprehension?
  • 1:01 Types of Reader Factors
  • 3:37 Types of Text Factors
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Being able to understand what we read is center to a solid reading program. What kinds of things help or hinder us from comprehending? This lesson will explain these factors and help you understand how they impact reading development.

What Is Reading Comprehension?

In order to read, understand, process and remember text - or comprehend - readers need to be actively engaged. What does this mean? It means their brains are busy when reading, thinking about different aspects as they engage in the information. Good readers use comprehension strategies like predicting, visualizing, inferring or connecting to the text to get a deeper understanding of what is being read. However, using these strategies isn't the only factor that determines comprehension. What a reader brings to the table is also part of the equation that adds up to a successful reader.

Reader factors, or the skills, knowledge and understanding a reader has, impact reading comprehension. Text factors, such as organization of text or genres, also influence comprehension success. What are some of these factors, and what impact do they have on comprehension? Let's take a look at Ms. Beck's fourth-grade students for a few answers.

Types of Reader Factors

Ms. Beck has been teaching for several years. She's gotten to know the ropes of educating students and is a pro at helping them use skills and strategies to become stellar readers. She knows there are both text and reader factors that influence comprehension. Each student comes into her classroom with their own bag of factors, and it's her job to unpack them. She uses her knowledge of these factors to determine how to mold and shape each student. Let's briefly explore some reader factors.

Background Knowledge

Every student has their own understanding of the world. Some students have a very large body of knowledge, while others know very little. Students with more knowledge have better opportunities to connect with text and understand a broader range of topics than those who don't. For example, a student who has traveled to the buttes in the west is more likely to understand when reading about that topic than one who has never heard the word buttes before.

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