How Critical Reading Processes Can Be Supported by Computer Technology

Computer technology in the classroom, whether it be the homeschool classroom or the entire world classroom on the Internet, offers opportunities for students to

Computer reading software programs are becoming increasingly sophisticated components of many public, private, and homeschooling lessons designed to teach children to learn to read. As a result, they now often include many critical aspects of a stand-alone reading program. That is, print materials are less and less important for supporting the teaching of reading. Increasing developments in reading instructional software now means that they can address five major components of teaching efforts directed towards children who are learning to read. These components are comprehension, idea generation, analysis, reflection, and composition.

Comprehension

Reading comprehension is the interactive process between writer and reader that allows the reader to decode the meaning of the writer’s words. The ultimate goal of reading instruction is comprehension. There are several factors that affect reading comprehension, including language skill development, word identification, the quality and the audience level of the reading material, the ability of the student, and the type of instruction a student receives.

Idea Generation

Students learn to think, to generate ideas, by reading. When students are continuously presented with subject matter that makes them ask questions such as “who, what, when, where, and why”, they learn new concepts and brainstorm for new ideas.

Analysis

Students learn to analyze reading materials after they learn to comprehend what they have read. Analysis enhances comprehension and is a step that many students fail to take. Computer reading software helps students learn to analyze what they have read, giving them to ability to connect with what they have read at a deeper level than the student who merely comprehends. Educators can ask students to analyze reading material based solely on their own conclusions or they can be required to participate in group discussions that require them to express their thoughts to other students and clarify their own position on the material being discussed.

Reflection

Much like analysis, reflection is a step that students take the enables them to connect with what they have read at more than just a basic level. Actively reflecting on what they have read also enables students to share their thoughts with other students. Reflection on reading topics and critically analyzing those topics are skills that work together to enhance comprehension. Computer technology creates activities and environments for students to explore such tasks as electronic journals in a teaching platform that can be limited to individual students or widened to include entire classes, grade levels, districts, and even classrooms throughout the world.

Composition

Composition requires that students visit the other side of the reading coin. Students spend so much time on the reading side of the coin, they fail to realize what a truly interactive process reading is. As mentioned earlier, reading is an interactive process between writer and reader. For students to be able to fully appreciate and understand the process, it is important that they spend time both reading and writing. Computer reading software helps students explore such reading and writing activities as writing essays and other papers as well as using the most up to date methods of communication such as email and instant messaging. As more classrooms go online, these basic communication activities enhance students’ composition skills as they learn to interact with others.

Unfortunately, these five critical reading processes are seldom incorporated into every software package aimed at children who about to learn to read. When parents and educators keep these processes in mind as they compare reading software, they may make better purchasing decisions.

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