Dr. V.S. Gayathri
The 3Vs Of Reading Comprehension!
The National Reading Panel Report identified five components that are essential for developing reading skills: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Without comprehension, children gain no meaning from what they read. Comprehension strategies are used to increase children's understanding of the text and help them become active readers by engaging with the text.
Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. When we understand and interpret what we have read, then we have fulfilled the purpose of reading. Teachers also work towards how their students can get better at comprehension. But to understand the meaning of texts, students must have good language comprehension skills.
What is language comprehension?
It is the ability to understand both spoken and written language. Language comprehension give students the ability to understand the meaning of words and how they come together to form meaningful sentences.
Good language comprehension skills require cognitive elements such as:
- knowledge of vocabulary
- background knowledge of the text they are reading
- working memory of the students where they can process the information
- inferencing or ability to summarize the text
- focused attention for interpretation of the text while reading
Reading comprehension is a process where multiple elements come together at once, to bring out the meaning of the written language.
Proficient reading comprehension means the ability to:
- Understand the words
- Understand the context of the text
- Integrating the meaning of the words into a mental picture of the text
- Focusing on what is important
- Making connections with the
- Using their background knowledge of the subject for better comprehension
Students often struggle to recall what they have read. And language comprehension is a crucial factor contributing to this.
Reading comprehension requires both decoding and linguistic comprehension. To read words accurately and fluently, and to comprehend them, students need various strategies to read words that they already know, and unknown words as well. If a student can proficiently read the words, but not able to comprehend the text, then, the student’s language comprehension needs to be addressed.
Why are reading comprehension skills important?
Reading comprehension is important because reading efficiently helps to improve both personal and professional lives and can improve the overall experience of reading as well. Knowing how to comprehend a text can boost the knowledge levels of a particular subject, and also communicate the ideas betters. Good comprehension skills also help in analyzing different reading materials, and enhancing one’s speech delivery as well.
There are various levels of comprehension as described by experts. Level 1: Literal – Understanding the stated facts in the text like data, specifics, dates, settings, etc.
Level 2: Inferential – Building on the facts in the text like predicting and sequencing.
Level 3: Evaluative – Creating judgment based on the text like facts, opinion, validity, comparison, cause, and effect, etc.
Level 4: Appreciative or Applied– Response to a text based on: Author’s language, values, imagery, style, and purpose
We will discuss the 3Vs of comprehension which will help students to improve their skills.
After reading a text, visualization to create a mental picture is very important. Students must be able to identify story elements such as characters, problems, setting, etc.
Ask them questions like What could they see? Where were the characters? What were they doing or saying? What is the problem of the story? What actions did the characters take toward solving the problem? Did the setting change? Was the problem solved? What is the lesson learned?
Try to add a social or emotional learning moment here. This way they will be able to remember better and also add an emotional value to the reading.
Students should be able to verbalize the answers to the questions that you ask. Teachers should encourage them to participate in a discussion. This helps in language development, as well as social interactions, and interpersonal skills.
Verbalizing also helps in clearing any misunderstandings or doubts as different perspectives can be debated during the discussion. This helps to open up new ideas and outlooks.
The oral discussion helps students to apply newly learned vocabulary in other places. They must be able to understand where the vocabulary fits in and in what context.
Story maps are great tools for arranging the points after discussion. You can also use a variety of graphic organizers to support this strategy.
Try the 3Vs of reading comprehension with your child or students, and you will surely notice better results.