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About Reading


Reading is defined as a complex, purposeful, social, and cognitive process in which readers simultaneously use their knowledge of spoken and written language, their knowledge of the topic of the text, and their knowledge of their culture to construct meaning.
~Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999

How do Students Learn to Read?

Active View of Reading

Nell Duke and Kelly Cartwright (2021) have synthesized the commonly accepted "Simple View of Reading" (Tunmer and Gough 1986) and the advances in research since then to develop a more comprehensive model. Their Active View of Reading considers reading to be a multidimensional (as opposed to two-dimensional) process and highlights the reader's active and constructive, meaning-making processes involved in reading comprehension.   

The Simple View of sees Reading Comprehension as the product of:

  1. decoding skills (now more often called "word recognition") 
  2. language comprehension

decoding skills (WR) x language comprehension (LC) = Reading Comprehension (RC)

The Active View adds to these the following:

  1. There are other contributors to reading comprehension within decoding and language comprehension, making it challenging to address a reading difficulty.  A student struggling with decoding, for example, may be experiencing difficulty with phonological processing, orthographic knowledge, or even memory.
  2. There are contributors to reading comprehension beyond decoding and language comprehension, such as Executive Function skills, comprehension strategy use, and motivation.
  3. There are contributing processes that help to bridge decoding and language comprehension, such as vocabulary and morphological awareness (understanding parts of words, like Latin roots or prefixes), which highlight yet another important aspect--that reading comprehension depends on constructs that cannot be measured by the simple formula. 
  4. Contributing constructs like cultural knowledge and content knowledge mediate reading success.

*The Active View of Reading is the theoretical underpinnings of our SD#72 Elementary Literacy Framework.

Teacher Learning Resources

1. The Science of Reading Comprehension Instruction - Duke, Ward, and Pearson, 2021.

2. The Sciences of Reading Instruction - Rachael Gabriel, 2021.

3. The Science of Reading Explained - Cindy Jiban, NWEA, 2022.

Just for Fun

1. Choice Reading Lists from the International Literacy Association

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