To understand comprehension as a strategic process, clarification between the fine, but often confused distinction between teaching skills and teaching strategies is necessary.
There is a demand for more people who are skilled readers. The workplace is in need of workers who are able to:
Analyze and monitor their understanding
Communicate what they understand
Ask appropriate questions to clarify and understand a situation
Identify and solve problems
Formulate and test solutions
Locate resources and information when they need it
Work on teams cooperatively
Be reflective and think critically
There is a need for more people who are strategic readers. The work place needs readers who can analyze, plan, monitor, regulate, and reflect on the reading process so that they comprehend at a higher level of thinking.Teaching for strategic readers does not mean that skills are not taught.
It does mean that skills need to be brought to the strategic level, which is a much higher level of thinking /understanding. This type of understanding is needed in the rapidly changing world of business, technology, and most importantly in the daily lives of all citizens.
Rarely do children struggle as readers for a single reason. More often, it is a combination of reasons. There is no one cause and no one teaching method or one commercial program that will work for all struggling readers. Struggling readers have individual needs and are entitled to interventions specific to those needs. Readers struggle for different reasons: decoding, comprehension, speed, fluency, and reader experiences/prior knowledge. No matter what program may be used for teaching reading, there will be some children who still struggle.
Factors that may hinder reading acquisition:
Hearing or vision problems
Lack of experience with reading and books
Lack of background knowledge about the text being read
Highly mobile families who move from school to school in the early years
Trauma or lack of basic requirements such as hunger or safe environment
Overemphasis of phonics
Not enough emphasis on phonics
Limited access to books
Decoding by Analogy
Decoding by analogy means to compare the unknown word to familiar words. For example, a child might encounter the word shame and use the known word came to read shame. An older child might use history to read historian.
Beginning readers do not begin with words that are difficult. The words they read are usually short, often only one syllable.
For decoding by analogy to be successful, the reader must have a bank of known words in his head, to use in decoding an unknown word.
Teachers draw attention to and help children learn words with high-utility spelling word families. These words will help when decoding by analogy. For more information see High Utility Word Families
Older children expand their ability to decode by analogy with multi-syllabic words, such as in reading compass by dividing the word into two parts. The reader uses come to read com– and uses pass for –pass.
They continue to learn ways to decode by analogy when they receive instruction in prefixes, suffixes, and meanings of base words to infer an unknown meaning of a word. For more information see Phonics with Intermediate Readers.