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What Is Reading Comprehension?

Reading comprehension can simply be defined as understanding what you are reading. Even though that sounds easy it really isn’t, because it requires our full attention and focus when reading. If you aren’t properly processing what you are reading as you are reading through text then you have poor reading comprehension, and if you do then vice-versa. Its pretty much impossible to try and captivate the act of comprehending, but that’s why improving your comprehension is a process.

Essentially reading comprehension works by series of cognitive processes. When a person begins to read, the brain is using its understanding of individual sounds in language, phonics (connection between letters and sounds and the relationship between sounds, letters, and words) and the ability to construct a meaning from what you are reading, which is the essentially the end result: comprehension.

There are elements that make up the technique of reading comprehension: vocabulary knowledge & text comprehension. In order to understand what you’re reading you must be able to understand the vocabulary used in the piece of writing you’re reading. If the individual words have no meaning then the general story won’t either. Children can use what they know about vocabulary to try and process it, but they also require to continually be taught new words. Aside from understanding each word in a text, a child also has to be able to make sense of them and has to be able to come up with a conclusion of what it truly means, this process overall is referred to as text comprehension. It’s much more complex and varied than just basic vocabulary knowledge. Readers apply quite a few different text comprehension strategies to enhance reading comprehension. These include surveillance for understanding, answering and developing questions, summarizing & being aware of and using a text’s construction to aid comprehension.

Without comprehension, reading is simply like keeping track of symbols on a page with your eyes & sounding them out. Think about being presented with a story written in Egyptian hieroglyphics with no understanding of their significance. You may value the words visually then be able to come up with various small pieces of meaning from the page, but you are not really reading through the story. The letters on the page do not possess a meaning. They are really simply symbols. People read for many purposes however understanding is invariably an integral part of their objective. Reading comprehension is essential simply because without it reading doesn’t provide the reader with any specific information.

Reading comprehension is truly crucial to existence. Much continues to be written about the importance of practical literacy. In order to endure and thrive in today’s world individuals will have to be able to comprehend common texts such as bills, mortgage agreements (leases, purchase contracts), instructions on packaging and travel documents (bus and train schedules, maps, travel directions). Reading comprehension is a vital component of functional literacy. Consider the potentially dire consequences of not having the ability to comprehend dosage directions on a bottle of medicine or even warnings on a container of dangerous chemicals. With the ability to understand whatever they read, individuals are able not only to live securely and efficiently, but additionally to continue to develop socially, emotionally and intellectually.

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