Who is an effective reader?
9 Answers | Add Yours
I think that defining an effective reader goes to the very heart of teaching the concept of literacy. This will be challenging to anyone, but more so to individuals who are teachers. It is for this reason why the question will bring out many different responses. I think that effective reading is defined by habits and behaviors of students while they read. In this light, the fundamental question that has to be addressed is what do students do while they read? Sometimes, students are not taught why effective readers are effective readers. This process is critical in the instruction of an effective reader. For example, teaching students how to make predictions based off of a text, or how to generate summarizations of what was read, or teaching students how to develop a critical eye towards an author's bias becomes critical. I think that behaviors such as these become vitally important in the process of developing the habits of effective readers.
"Effective reader" is a difficult concept to get one's arms around; but my interpretation is a reader who is able to absorb the material which is read and carry away a working understanding of the material. So often in education, students conflate memorization and learning; which are two entirely different concepts. Sadly, many teachers do not know the difference and encourage this behavior. If a student has a working understanding of the material, can explain it, analyze it, evaluate and interpret it in his/her own words, then he/she has read the material effectively. Understanding is at the higher level of Bloom's Taxonomy, and to reach that level without intense interaction with a teacher, a student must be an effective reader.
If you’re asking in regard to teaching, a student who reads effectively will understand the content of a text and be able to apply it to a larger thematic or historical context. So, one thing that supplements effective reading is some sense of history and social, philosophical or cultural ideas and systems. Effective readers also tend to form narratives of what they read; even if they are reading dry material like a textbook. Narrative structure is not the only way to formulate and organize when reading, but it is a familiar structure that can put what’s read in a wider and more logical context than if someone is taught to read just to absorb information or memorize facts.
Reading everything as narrative is also helped by instilling the idea that the student is not a blank slate to be filled with information. He/she must be taught that he/she is in control of interpreting the reading and the meaning is therefore part of a narrative structure that is tied to the student’s own mental creativity. Reader-response theory promotes this idea and creates a more actively engaged student. This gives them a sense of power and makes reading more active.
The days treating students as empty vessels to be filled with wisdom are gone. An effective reader is an active, creative reader. This goes against common sense. How can a reader be creative? Simply put, the reader is the one doing the reading and therefore in charge of interpreting what the text means to them just as much as (or more than) what the author intended. This is not just about empowerment and encouraging active reading. It is also part of the growing trend in literary studies and pedagogy that this is what reading should be, hands down.
An effective reader is someone who can read a text (not necessarily an academic text) and use it for some purpose.
Therefore, an effective reader is not someone who can read, but someone who can read and comprehend a text for a given purpose. This would mean that an effective reader in one subject area might not be an effective reader in some other area.
Effective readers are those readers who can make use of what they have read. That is, they are able to read a text closely and analytically in order to have enough comprehension of the literal and inferential meanings that they then can extrapolate the material and relate what they have read in understanding or analyzing other texts.
The above posts have made excellent points. I think an effective reader is a person who can read fluently and also comprehend what they have read. I have worked with students who can read a passage and then not be able to answer anything about what they just read. As stated above the ability to analyze, predict and recall are all things that make up an effective reader.
Personally, I believe being an effective reader can be an exercise of love or one of extreme discipline.
A naturally effective reader loves to read, and will read whatever is necessary, even if not a personal choice. The natural inclination to read for pleasure goes a LONG way to serving the student who reads effectively across the curriculum: disciplining him- or herself to do the work even if it's not exciting.
The second kind of effective reader may not like to read—it may not be an intrinsic pleasure—but this student is disciplined enough to fight through regardless of how "boring" or seemingly "irrelevant" it may seem. This is the student who will read the passage three times if necessary until he/she gets it...
...As opposed to the student who "reads" the words, in other words, recognizes the words, but does not string them together for meaning and is not disciplined enough to try again and/or to care. The favorite cry is "I don't understand," which is especially frustrating in the classroom when students have only been asked to read the instructions for a standard, "take-the-same-format-all-the-time" test.
This, of course, does not address the struggling student for whom reading is like learning a new language. More assistance than the standard classroom can give is needed in these cases.
Most of the points previously made are indicative of effective readers. An effective reader should be able to read fluently for a given purpose while comprehending and making meaning for a useful purpose. He or she should also be able to translate these skills and abilities to new learning situations outside of the academic setting.
An effective reader is a reader that wants to read. It is important to give our students the tools for reading—phonics instruction, context clues, reading comprehension and so on. Yet it is just as important to teach them the pleasure of reading. When students experience reading as an enjoyable activity, and a social activity, they will become lifelong readers. The more they read, the better and more effective a reader they will be.
So how do you make an effective reader? Help children see the joy in reading. Fill your classroom with books, books of all kinds and colors and shapes and topics. Make books so accessible that not picking them up is impossible. Provide plenty of time for students to read books, and teach them how the discuss them. If you do this in your classroom or home, you will develop effective readers.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes