is Reading for Meaning?
become curious about printed symbols once they recognize that print,
like talk, conveys meaningful messages that direct, inform or entertain
people. By school age, many children are eager to continue their
exploration of print.
goal of this curriculum is to develop fluent and proficient readers
who are knowledgeable about the reading process. Effective reading
instruction should enable students to eventually become self-directed
readers who can:
meaning from various types of print material;
that there are different kinds of reading materials and different
purposes for reading;
strategies appropriate for different reading activities; and,
a life-long interest and enjoyment in reading a variety of material
for different purposes.
assist teachers in achieving these goals, this curriculum advocates
the use of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction resources including:
signs and labels
resources from all subject areas
by students and teachers
resources shared with students should stimulate their imaginations
and kindle their curiosity. Familiarization with narrative and expository
materials, and frequent opportunities to write in all subject areas,
facilitate the reading process. By becoming authors themselves,
students increase their awareness of the organization and structures
of printed language.
read for meaning, students must simultaneously utilize clues from
all cueing systems. Readers bring knowledge and past experiences
to the reading task to construct interpretations and to determine
if the print makes sense to them. It is easier for readers to understand
print when the content is relevant to their personal experiences.
Familiar content and topics convey meaning or clues through the
semantic cueing system. When students are comfortable and familiar
with the content of a passage, they can predict upcoming text and
take greater risks in reading. Research has repeatedly shown that
fluent readers risk more guesses when interacting with unfamiliar
print than poorer readers. They derive more meaning from passages
than readers who frequently stop to sound or decode words by individual
phonemes or letters.
of word order and the rules of grammar which structure oral language,
guide readers' predictions for printed language. Such language-pattern
clues comprise the syntactic cueing system. Readers should constantly
question the text to ensure that what they are reading makes sense
and sounds like language.
experiences that focus on relevant and familiar content, vocabulary
and language patterns increase students' chances of constructing
meaning and being successful readers. At the elementary level, successful
reading experiences reaffirm students' confidence as language users
and learners. The holistic approach to the reading process stresses
the importance of presenting students with whole and meaningful
reading passages. This approach is based on the principle that the
readers' understanding of an entire sentence, passage or story facilitates
the reading and comprehension of individual words within those passages.
graphophonic cueing system relates sounds to printed symbols. When
print is translated into words that are in their listening vocabularies,
readers will recognize and comprehend the words. If the sounded
words are unfamiliar to readers, they must rely on the other cueing
systems to construct meaning. Teachers are reminded that students
may know the common sound-letter relationships and still be unable
to obtain meaning from print. For that reason, this curriculum emphasizes
that phonics should be taught or practiced in context and in conjunction
with the other cueing systems.
Education English Language Arts, June 1992)