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Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
Reading of content area is observed to provide some gratifying instances and also capable of creating critical circumstances. Due emphasis is being laid on reading in the sphere of evaluation of the developed contents at state and federal levels. The teachers seem to come across varied theories and instructional approaches while attempting to include the content area matters in their teachings. All the numerous approaches that the teachers come across on their path of through reading and writing are not found to be consistent to be adopted for content teaching. Out of them only the approaches constructed on the strength of strong foundations of researches and capable of catering to the high standards demanded by the classroom instruction need to be followed.
Simply assisting the children for recognition and grouping of letters forming words is not enough in the teachings of reading. Simply assisting them comprehend the meanings of the words is with simple grouping does not involve the challenging part of teaching. Two major issues are involved in the study of the approaches to teaching. The first issue revolves around the methods of learning reading by the children. The other issue involves the methods of reading by the children for the purpose of learning. The readings in the content areas involved with the approaches for more effective and proficient use of content areas in earlier periods however, it still prevails. (Vacca; Vacca, 1999)
Revolutionary changes have been made in the field of literature with the introduction of the technological progress more particularly invention of the printing press. It is customary among the educated Americans including school going children to utilize the computer as a means to access the information. As a consequence of this the esteemed textbooks even though not being set aside, yet seems to be supplemented by the vast storage of electronic information. The training of the students on the effective ways of reading as a means of learning is necessitated to include necessary acquaintances on the new technologies being updated day by day. (Roe; Stoodt; Burns, 1987) The learning through reading of content areas was conventionally confined to the students pursuing higher studies. Similarly, the learning of reading is confined to the grades of KG to Standard 3 levels. The content area reading according to Guillaume is not appropriate for those who have already acquired the skills of reading. The prime duty of the teachers in teaching the students of all the age groups is to assist them in interacting properly with the text books to derive the appropriate content. After reaching the Grade 4 however, the child is not at once capable of reading the content areas. (McKenna; Robinson 2001)
This led Marie Clay and David Person to arrive at the conclusion that the learning for the purpose of reading and reading for the purpose of learning are simultaneous processes continuing from lower classes throughout secondary levels. The simultaneous teaching of both thus ensures no gap in reading instructions in between the grades 3 and 4. Moreover the reading capabilities they attain at the end of 3rd grade lead them to pursue the literacy contents of 4th grade. The 4th grade in students' career is seen as a crucial changeover from learning for the purpose of reading and reading for the purpose of learning. This transformation necessitates the children to be flowing and spontaneous readers with completion of grade 3 in order to be ready to read and understand the multifaceted descriptive and interpretative texts in the content areas. (Ryder; Graves 2002) The children in 4th grade are required to read for literary practice and also for gaining knowledge. They at the first instance are required to exhibit their comprehension on the subject, their skill to interpret the text, ability to express personal ideas on the content and reactions to the content along with the commentary on the subject. Besides, in the 4th grade the children are expected to come across the vocabulary in the texts not available in their ordinary day-to-day expressions. The reading exercises have become more scientific and subject oriented. (Moore, 1998)
The foundation of the skills for understanding more critical texts and the vocabulary foundations and interpreting skills are required to be acquired by completion of the 3rd grade in order to be able to understand the texts and new vocabularies in the 4th grade. Non-acquisition of such skills adversely affects their career achievements and reading experiences. This makes it mandatory for acquisition of the elementary skills relating to reading at the earliest. The approaches to understanding are required initiation at the younger age. Lack of the same leads to low reading performance. Moreover, some students require continuous follow up in attainment of the interpretation skills over the period of time. (McKenna; Robinson 2001)
Ever since 1930s the educators are mainly concentrating on the development of knowledge extending over the primary grades. Special emphasis was made on the requirement of different methods of reading in relation to different subjects and also on enhancing the reading skills of secondary students. Even though such concentration on reading experiences for attainment of the factual knowledge made some children proficient in the content area texts some evaluation studies reveal the necessity for reconsideration in the field of juvenile literacy and area of content learning. The cultural disparities of the students hailing from have a profound impact on their performances and causes continual disparities in their respective performances. (Vacca; Vacca, 1999) The low standards of reading performance have become a matter of great concern. The various threats to the present educational system has been attempted to be identified by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.
Efforts have been made by the commission to find out that twelve percent of the total persons in the age group of sixteen years were considered to be illiterate and among the minorities the fraction accounts for around forty-one percent. Before such findings it was taken for granted that the students normally learn to read in the primary classes and become ready for reading so as to learn at the moment they steps in secondary school. However, such findings necessitated the further reading instructions for many of the secondary students. Scaffolding of instruction by the teachers involves division of the total substance into units of information, demarcate the information that the students already understand and then after proceeds gradually on to new knowledge taking those information as the base. (Ryder; Graves 2002)
The teachers are required to find out appropriately the deficiencies in the student knowledge base in comparison to that presented in the text books. After determining the differences between the knowledge base of the students and the knowledge included in the text books, they strive to lessen the differences for making them ready to face the reading exercises. The teachers also emphasize on the strategy for teaching. The approaches to learning involve step-by-step instructional methods so as to enable the students to fully understand the text. The students having a deficiency in the power of reading comprehensibility are not said to be the strategic learners. They find it difficult to make out the meanings of new words and to make substances of their readings. (Roe; Stoodt; Burns, 1987) They even do not know that they fail to understand their reading exercises. Simply by surpassing the texts and words with their eyes they feel to succeed in completion of their reading exercises. Their failure in getting through the quizzes and worksheets makes them confused since they have already spent much time in reading the text. The students are said to be not known of the facts and information surrounding them who actually do not fully understand their own level of learning. The approaches to study thus enable them in infusing the necessary skills for self-evaluation and adaptability to the reading strategy to enhance their learning. This will enable the learners to comprehend and learn by their own. (Roe; Stoodt; Burns, 1987)
Donald Richgels introduced a study to exemplify the effective integration of two processes of learning for the purpose to read and reading for the purpose to learn. Richgels emphasized on the effectiveness of the learning of texts at the kindergarten level by relying on its introduction in a realistic manner. Richgels observed the students identifying and demonstrating the supporting pages from their adapted texts as a supplementation to their artwork, demonstrating their creativity, and also absorb ideas from some other texts like commercial ads etc. The transitions of the instructors from the conventional teaching methods to the constructive teachings demonstrate the movement in the instructional approaches. The constructivist approach to the instructional methods assists the students in building their own comprehension. The constructivist approach discourages simple repetitions and cramming of the diffused facts stressing upon the problem solving. (Ryder; Graves 2002)
The constructivist depends on the instructional approaches which are mainly interactive. Such interactions between the students and teachers make the teachers aware of the requirements of the students, the interests of…[continue]
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