What is Reading?

What is Reading?

Habibullah Hassanzada

۷ حمل ۱۳۹۵

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“Reading” is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them.  In the other hand, reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation. Learn how readers integrate these facets to make meaning from print. When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols (letters, punctuation marks and spaces) and we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraphs that communicate something to us.

Reading can be silent (in our head) or aloud (so that other people can hear). Reading is a receptive skill – through it we receive information. But the complex process of reading also requires the skill of speaking, so that we can pronounce the words that we read. In this sense, reading is also a productive skill in that we are both receiving information and transmitting it (even if only to ourselves). Simply, we can say reading is both; output and input of a language. What does output and input mean in here? Output means to issue a meaningful thoughts to others. Vice Versa, input means to receive a meaningful thoughts from the other sources. So in this case, Integrating between these two elements are called reading.

This question will come to someone’s minds that do we need to read in order to speak English? The short answer for this question is no. Some native speakers cannot read or write but they speak English fluently. On the other hand, reading is something that you can do on your own and that greatly broadens your vocabulary, thus helping you in speaking (and in listening and writing). Reading is therefore a highly valuable skill and activity, and it is recommended that English learners try to read as much as possible in English.

Many people think of reading as a skill that is taught once and for all in the first few years of school. In this view of reading the credit (or blame) for students’ reading ability goes to primary grade teachers, and upper elementary and secondary school teachers at each grade level need teach only new vocabulary and concepts relevant to new content. Seen this way, reading is a simple process: readers decode (figure out how to pronounce) each word in a text and then automatically comprehend the meaning of the words, as they do with their everyday spoken language. This is not our understanding of reading.

What is a fluent Reading?

Fluent reading is not the same as decoding. Skillful reading does require readers to carry out certain tasks in a fairly automatic manner. Decoding skills—quick word recognition and ready knowledge of relevant vocabulary, for example—are essential to successful reading. However, they are by no means sufficient, especially when texts are complex or otherwise challenging.

Yet many discussions about struggling readers confuse decoding with fluency. Fluency derives from the reader’s ability not just to decode or identify individual words but also to quickly process larger language units. In our inquiries into reading—our own and that of our students—we have seen that fluency, like other dimensions of reading, varies according to the text at hand. When readers are unfamiliar with the particular language structures and features of a text, their language-processing ability breaks down. This means, for example, that teachers cannot assume that students who fluently read narrative or literary texts will be equally fluent with expository texts or primary source documents.

Fluency begins to develop when students have frequent opportunities to read texts that are easy for them. Multiple rereading of more difficult texts help broaden a reader’s fluency (Pikulski, 1998). Perhaps most important for adolescent readers, fluency grows as they have opportunities, support, and encouragement to read a wide range of text types about a wide range of topics.

Who is an active & a fluent reader?

For responding to the question, let’s have a closer look to the words “ACTIVE & FLEUNT READER” as acronyms:

Activate prior knowledge when you read a book. Think about the subject that you read and ask questions from yourself. Such as, have you studied the same title before? How much you know about the title? In here you have open hand for asking yourself questions. Ask as many questions as you can. The more questions let you know the point better. Try to ask different question about the subject from yourself. The only thing that activate your background information with the new subject is your questions and your imagination. Try to engage your imagination to the new point.

Cultivate vocabulary to your mind. Whenever you read a journal, newspaper, magazine, article or books try to memorize some new words and try to keep them in your minds. Use them in your daily conversations. If you know the word web, it will help you to learn a word better. Word web means different parts of speeches for a word. You should be able to analyze a word into different parts of speeches.

Think about the meaning. When you read a book or an article, think about a general concept of that text, article or book. Try to know what it talks about. Simultaneously, read, try to translate and catch the meaning too. Whenever you read a text, imagine about the meaning of that or simply can say whatever you read, portrait in your mind. For instance, if you read a text about Computer, you should have picture of computer in your mind as well. Those things which are conceptual issues try to use figurative language. Thus, will help you to understand better and be an active reader.

Increase reading fluency. Try to read fast do not think about the meaning of each and every single words. Whenever read a line, do not come back to the beginning for rereading. Go forward and keep trying to read as fast as you can. In here, try to remove bad habits of reading; such as, head movement, finger movement on each line of the text and using dictionary during the reading. Instead, try to replace your bad habits of reading with the logical methods of reading. Like eye movement to each line and do not use your finger for directing your eyes. Also for strange and new word, try to guess from those words around unknown words.

Verify Strategies. Research and observe about the strategy of reading that you apply on a text. Compare which one is the best strategy for you to read. Go ahead based on theory that you applied and try to change the learnt theory to experience because experience helps you to create another theory. Also, experience let you become a good theorist.

Evaluate progress. When you read an article or a text actively, try to evaluate your progressions. How your reading has improved. You can check your reading grates, reading fluency and also check how many words and paragraphs you read per an hour. Try to increase your reading fluency in order to have progression. This part acts as a conclusion for your reading procedure how it happened.


Find time to read every day. Find the best time of day for you to read. Try to read when you are not tired. By reading every day, even for a short period, you will become a more fluent reader. Scheduling the time for daily reading, is as requirement for those who are learning a Language and want to be a fluent reader.

Look for a good place to read. It is easier to read and study if you are comfortable. Make sure that there is a good lighting in your reading area and that you are sitting in a comfortable chair. To make it easier to concentrate, try to read in a place you won’t be interrupted.

Use clues in the text to make predictions. Fluent readers make predictions before and as they read. Use the title, subtitle, pictures and captions to ask yourself questions about what you are going to read. Find answers to the questions when you read. After reading. Think about what you have learned and decide what you need to read next to continue learning.

Establish goals before you read. Before you read a text, think about the purpose of your reading. For example, do you just want to get a general idea of the passage? Or do you need to find specific information? Thinking about what you want to get from the reading will help you decide what reading skills you need to use.

Notice how your eyes and head are moving. Good readers use their eyes, and not their heads, when they read. Moving your head forth and back when reading will make you tired. Practice a voiding head movements by placing your elbows on the table and resting your head on your hands. Do you feel movements as you read? If you do, hold your head still as you read. Also, try not to move your eyes back over a text. You should reread part of a text only when you have specific purpose for rereading, for instance, to make connection between what you read previously and what you are reading now.

Try not to translate. Translation slows down your reading. Instead of translating new words into your first language, first try to guess the meaning. Use the context (the other words around the new word) and word parts (prefixes, suffixes, and word roots) to help you the meaning. Try to get the meaning from the general concept and from the key words of the text. Guess the meaning from the key words and the concept of the text with your own knowledge. Then, you will come up with a well comprehension.


Read in phrases rather than word by word. Don’t point at each word while you read. Practice reading in phrases – groups of words that go together.

Engage your imagination. Good readers visualize what they are reading. They create a movie in their head of the story they are reading. As you read, try sharing with a partner the kinds of pictures that you create in your mind.

Avoid subvocalization. Subvocalization means quietly saying the words as you read. You might be whispering the words or just silently read saying them in your mind. Your eyes and brain can read much faster than you speak if you subvocalize, you can only read as fast as you can say the words. As you read, place your finger on your lips or your throat. Do you feel movement? If so, you are subvocalizing. Practice reading without moving your lips.

Don’t be worry about understanding every word. Sometimes, as readers, we think we must understand the meaning that everything that we read. It isn’t always necessary to understand every word in a passage in order to understand the meaning of the passage as a whole. Instead of interrupting your reading to find the meaning of the new word, circle the word and come back to it after you have finished reading.

Enjoy your reading. Your enjoyment of reading will develop over time. Perhaps today you do not like to read in English, but as you read more, you can you should see a change in your attitude. The more you read in English, the easier it will become. You will find yourself looking forward to reading.

Read as much as you can. The best tip to follow to become a more fluent reader is to read whenever and wherever you can. Good readers read a lot. They read many different kinds of materials: newspapers, magazines, textbooks, websites, and graded readers. To practice this, keep a reading journal. Every day, make a list of the kinds of things you read during the day and how long you read each for. If you want to become a more fluent reader, reads more.


  1. Neil J. Anderson, 1987, Active skills for reading; Book 1, Christopher Wenger.
  2. Pikulski, J. J. (1998, February).Improving reading achievement: Major instructional considerations for the primary grades. Paper presented at the Commissioner’s Reading Day Statewide Conference.

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