READING ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES
Reading comprehension involves asking a child to read a passage of text according to the level and asking explicit and detailed questions about the content of the text. Children also need to answer inferential questions about information which is implied in the text. Language assessment compares the children’s language comprehension to make sure their ability to understand text is not being limited by the ability to understand language. Decoding is also one of the assessments where it focuses on reading accuracy. Teacher uses oral reading as a decoding assessment and must be aware of the ability of the children to guess the meaning of the words because some words are in the child’s sight-vocabulary. Decoding is measured through the child’s ability to read words out of context. Besides that, asking general knowledge is an assessment to reading where the teacher asks simple fact questions to measure the children’s background knowledge. It is worthwhile to assess a child’s relevant background knowledge before expecting a child to be able to accomplish a task. Next, reading can be assessed through linguistic knowledge. Often children are test based on their phonology, semantics, and syntax. Through phonology, teacher can test children whether they are able to discriminate between two words that sound similar. Assessment also should focus on to both vowels and consonants. This assessment, the attention is focused on the words themselves not the meanings of the words.
TEACHING ENGLISH VOCABULARY
There are many ways in teaching English vocabulary. The first stage is noticing and understanding new words. In this stage, teacher can introduce nouns, things, objects and many more. This method works best with concrete noun rather than flashcards and illustrations. Besides that, teacher can introduce adjectives using real life objects and bring along photos to make comparisons of different adjectives. Introducing abstracts also one of the ways to teach new words. Additionally, the next stage is recognizing new words. Teacher can teach vocabulary by doing bingo, matching and fill in the blanks. These games will help learner to recognize the words and able to make meaning from those words. Furthermore, the third stage is producing vocabulary where learner can describe an event using various vocabularies that the person has learnt before. To teach descriptions is by giving photos of any events, or even ask the students to describe on personal account of a recent trip. Students also can be taught to use at least five adjectives in their description, or five words related to any event or account. Besides that, supply students with a piece of written text blank spaces that have to be filled in with any word that fits. Students then can take turn describing something after teacher give hint or clue ‘what I’m thinking’. It is better to teach vocabulary in context rather than list all the words because student would not able to practice new vocabulary.
DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO TEACHING READING
Children learn in different ways and need different approaches. Over the recent years there has been an argument about the ‘sight’ and ‘look and say’ method where reader memorized whole word as compared to phonic approach which require reader to break the words into parts, associate them with sounds and meanings and then blend them together to form words. Whole language focus on reading as meaning from printed symbols. Exposing students to various form of experience will help them relate the experiences to the material to be read. A child is able to read and understand printed material only as well as he or she can listen and speak. Phonic approach says that readers have to be able to decode words before they can get meaning from the words. Taking direct approach to decoding words, using drill and practice activities will help children recognize letter/sound relationships and decode words and phrases. Students need to be taught to blend the sounds together to form meaningful units as words. It may be easier for them to process visual information, and they may be able to memorize whole words by sight. It is a mistake to rely on one approach to teaching reading. Good teacher must know variety of teaching approaches and require different strategies. Teaching reading must focus on the learner and balancing between approaches. The best way to teach reading is to find out what each child knows and how that child learns best.
BOTTOM-UP THEORIES OF THE READING
Bottom-up theories hypothesize that learning to read progresses from children learning the parts of language (letters) to understanding whole text (meaning). Reading begin translating the parts of written language (letters) into speech sounds, then piece the sounds together to form individual words, then piece the words together to understand the written text. Besides that, the readers have limited ability to shift attention between the processes of decoding the sound of words and comprehending the written text. Reader who is a poor decoder focuses so much of his attention on phonics and other sounding out strategies. If reading can occur automatically, without too much focus on the decoding process, then improved comprehension will be the result. Additionally, the bottom-up theories fully explain how children become readers often teach subskills first: they begin instruction by introducing letter names and letter sounds, progress to pronouncing whole words, then show students ways of connecting word meanings to comprehend texts. Furthermore, although bottom-up theories of the reading process explain the decoding part of the reading process rather well, there is certainly more to reading than decoding. To become readers, students must compare their knowledge and background experiences to the text in order to understand the author’s message. Truly, the whole purpose of reading is comprehension.