Findings appear to confirm the concern of many teachers that reading
instruction produces word-accurate readers at the expense of understanding.
Reasons for this may be:
– pressure on teachers to show progress by using the Ready to
Read colour wheel and reading age compared to chronological age
– over-emphasis on word accuracy measures of reading achievement
– teachers’ lack of knowledge of the comprehension process,
its complexity, range of levels and the strategies readers need to
have at their disposal.
• Reading is a skill that goes well beyond literal and inferential
meanings. When interacting with texts, readers require specific and
generalised experience and world knowledge that will enable reasoned
responses to questions, issues and problems that arise and are outside
of anything that is stated or inferred in the text (i.e., are text
Students need considerable ongoing opportunity to engage in reading
as a search for meaning. Identifying when text doesn’t make
sense, wanting to improve it, having the strategies to do this and
then making the self-correction must be taught and practised.
• Oral reading assessment tasks remain common practice, but
they are not a suitable means of determining comprehension performance.
Better ways are needed.
• Comprehension happens mostly during reading, not after the
event. Teachers must ensure readers know the task, establish rapport
with them, capitalise on their interests, establish eye contact, engage
them before giving instructions or asking questions, and be prepared
to do some prompting and to repeat and rephrase questions.