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What is Reading? - Definition & Process

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  • 0:01 What Is Reading?
  • 0:52 The Reading Process
  • 2:20 Reading Comprehension
  • 3:24 Reading Fluency
  • 4:16 Reading Motivation
  • 4:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ravinder Sandhu
Reading requires one to identify and understand strings of words in a fluid manner. It is a detailed process that includes comprehension, word recognition, engagement, and fluency. This lesson will highlight three components of reading and outline the practical opportunities for application.

What Is Reading?

Reading is defined as a cognitive process that involves decoding symbols to arrive at meaning. Reading is an active process of constructing meanings of words. Reading with a purpose helps the reader to direct information towards a goal and focuses their attention. Although the reasons for reading may vary, the primary purpose of reading is to understand the text. Reading is a thinking process. It allows the reader to use what he or she may already know, also called prior knowledge. During this processing of information, the reader uses strategies to understand what they are reading, uses themes to organize ideas, and uses textual clues to find the meanings of new words. Each of the three components of reading is equally important. Let's take a look at the components!

The Reading Process

Reading is a process that involves recognizing words, leading to the development of comprehension. According to research, reading is a process that negotiates the meaning between the text and its reader. The reading process involves three stages.

The first is the pre-reading stage, which allows the reader to activate background knowledge, preview the text, and develop a purpose for reading. A strategy for students to utilize during this stage is to look at the title of the selection and list all the information that comes to mind about the title.

The second stage occurs during reading, when the reader makes predictions as they read and then confirms or revises the predictions. For example, double-entry journal enable the reader to write the text from the reading on one side and their personal reaction on the other side.

The final stage occurs after reading and allows the reader to retell the story, discuss the elements of a story, answer questions and/or compare it to another text. For example, students can create summaries, where they take a huge selection and reduce it to its main points for more concise understanding.

Comprehension is an intentional, active, and interactive process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a particular piece of writing.

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension has two elements that complete the process. The first element is vocabulary knowledge. The reader must be able to understand the vocabulary used by the writer. The second element is text comprehension, where the reader puts together the vocabulary and different comprehension strategies to develop an understanding of the text. Comprehension, or the mental process that allows the reader to understand the text, begins before the reader starts the text and continues even after the reading has finished. There are some specific strategies that can be used to increase comprehension:

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