Thursday, 3 December 2009

Stuff about reading

Having the first year viva over and done with, I am now concentrating on books about reading, so that I can analyse the actions of people in Children's mobile libraries to work out if they are promoting reading. I have also discovered that I need to use page numbers in the citation, so that is why there will be odd numbers appearing in the text.

The first book is "Measuring reading abilities: concepts, sources and applications" by Peter D Pumfrey, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1977.

On page 2 he talks about the statistical measurement of reading ability. "Figures can be used as a smoke screen to obscure our lack of understanding and control of the reading process...... unless we are aware of the limitations both of mental measurement and of our conceptualisation of the reading process". I think this means that it is difficult to measure reading because it is conceptualised. It is such a complex act that it is like measuring an abstract notion. figures don't work, because it is the wrong scale. He also believes that reading is an activity through which the child's cognitive development can be furthered. A tool for increasing thinking. He also believes that it is a "common fallacy" that all children will have acquired the necessary basic competence in reading by the end of infant school. P7 A reading test is a sample of one aspect of a child's behaviour related to language and thinking.

p11 "Often, those children falling at the lower ends of the hypothesised normal distribution are catagorised as children with reading difficulties. To some extent, the difficulties in reading that a child experiences are generated by a social desire for a conformity that is possible at varience with the nature of human beings". In other words, some children take longer to learn to read, and will not necessarily do it as well as others. It is not expected that everyone will excel at sport, we do not measure each child's sprinting times, or how far they can kick a ball.

p162 Children can decode print correctly whether they know it or not, whether it is or is not a real word. This demonstrates that understanding is not necessary to decode. This is not reading.
However, p163, a childs experiential background contributes to the ability to decode a word becasue they will have the ability to guess the word from the context of the text, using cues.

OK so most of this is about reading and not about the passing of of reading knowledge. I think that these idea's show that there will be some children left behind by the education system and provide evidence for the argument of mopping up those children with the use of mobile libraries. that or teaching them to read at secondary school, but then they feel a failure, like me and running!

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