The ways in which the reading skills can be taught in a communicative classroom

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The ways in which the reading skills can be taught in a communicative


Reading is described as a "psycholinguistic process by which the reader reconstructs as best as he can a message which has been encoded by a writer as a graphic display" (Goodman, 1971). It is essentially consisting of a successful interaction among three factors: higher-level conceptual abilities, background knowledge, and process strategies. The result of the interaction is comprehension. Conceptual abilities are important in reading acquisition. Process strategies are considered subcomponents of reading ability although they are also mental processes. For example, knowledge of the phonology of a language implies the ability to identify phonemes and use this knowledge for practical purposes such as listening (Mackay, Barkman and Jordan.1979).

In the case of reading, an individual is required to perform at least two interdependent tasks; the reader must determine what words constitute the text while simultaneously constructing meaning.

Unfortunately, the combined attention demands of decoding and comprehension are greater than the reader's attention resources. Therefore, beginning readers focus their attention on the decoding task and then move to comprehension to understand what they have decoded. Although the beginning reader is able to comprehend by switching attention back and forth in this way, the process is slow and difficult. With practice, students are able to recognize words automatically. Then, because so little attention is required for decoding, they have enough left over for comprehension. Then, they are able to focus attention simultaneously on decoding and comprehension and the transition from learning to read to reading to learn proceeds smoothly (Howell & Lorson-Howell, 1990).

Inefficient readers continue to expend a disproportionately large percentage of their attention on decoding, which significantly reduces their overall reading rate. In addition, cognitive resources that could have been used for comprehension must be reallocated...