The national reading agenda is populated with the issue of reading comprehension for students in K-12. In the recent past, it has been identified as the most pressing issue in literacy debate by stakeholders. A lot of research has been done to promote the reading comprehension with little or no implementation of the numerous recommendations made by experts in the subject. Of particular importance has been the validation of the dramatic improvements in understanding through instructional strategies. In their article, Farstrup & Daniels (2002) note that the fact that the consistent and robust endorsements already passed by players in the K-12 education have not helped to emphasize the reading comprehension approaches is something that is yet to be embraced by schools. This paper is a literature review of the reading comprehension and the effects it has on students in K-12.
Trabasso & Bouchard (2002) and Farstrup & Daniels (2002) in their articles report the results concerning the effects that particular strategies have on the students’ reading comprehension. According to them, it is a result of the increased literacy demands, as well as the changing nature of students in K-12 classrooms that reading instruction has been a far more multifaceted aspect in instructing students in K-12 than it was some years ago. It has presented an imperative in terms of understanding and implementing reading research.
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According to Darling-Hammond (1997), schooling has been attributed with allowing children from different backgrounds and families to amalgamate in a classroom setting and offer an environment where children learn the same subject matter and from each other. Through schooling, children from poor families can get to interact with those from rich families and learn similar subjects. The K-12 system thus offers an opportunity for pupils to read and comprehend various topics that they are expected to learn. As such, Darling-Hammond (1997) observes that school opens a way for people to respect and treasure the diversity that exist among human beings. Being able to read and comprehend is an important element of K-12 learning. As argued by Chen (2010) and Illich (1994), in K-12 education, success begins with de-schooling public education system and society.
The current universal way of educating students in a factory model of moving them grade by grade and believing that every teacher is imparting information in the students for their use and need for the future is a very ancient school of thought (Darling-Hammond, 1997; Illich, 1970). Concerning the development of instructional strategies, the education stakeholders need to rethink what schooling is so that they can appreciate other indicators of success. One of the indicators for success is that students are taught to think critically as a way of creating and nurturing their thinking capacity. Evidently, this will be translated through their comprehension. The students’ ability to think critically will have a positive impact on society (Chen, 2010; Illich, 1994). Moreover, the National Academies Press (2011) pointed out that reading comprehension for K-12 students also reflects the achievement that each student will have as a conveyer belt of education. Furthermore, students should be looked at as precious individuals. Their education will thus be based on their interests, individual needs, and the needs of the society.
Tettegah & Hunter (2006) observe that when a student does not leave the educational system brainwashed, then that can be equated to an individual success. But where the student leaves the system when they not only know that George Washington was the first president of the United States but they also understand that he owned slaves. They also should understand that it is their constitutional right that they do not have to stand for the pledge of allegiance and they are not communist if they do not stand. To put it short schooling is a success if all students leave the system with the freedom to think for themselves and they have the feeling that it is okay to challenge status quo in society. Each individual student should leave public schools with the feeling of being able to yell from any mountain top “It is okay to break away from the norm.” They also would have the understanding that it is okay if others disagree with them and they are able to accept other people for who they are.
Arguably, schooling today is still the factory model from the past. That is, that of pushing kids through in batches (Tettegah & Hunter, 2006). It is in schools that children get to be exposed to polarizing information about civil struggles and slavery that the country was in. To extent, this information plays a role in ensuring that different races continue to co-exist in peace and respect. However, the information also has the tendency to arouse hatred among people of different races. Consider this, that there are still people who loathe people of color and they would prefer not to encounter them even at young stages. As such, Jenkins, Roettger & Roettger (2008) argued that the strategy used in the reading comprehension makes many students in K-12 to have a lopsided view of the historical and factual events in whichever subjects they study in K-12. For instance, some students are molded to have a racial view of their society or nation given the kind of reading and comprehension of whatever they learn in schools. Jenkins, Roettger & Roettger (2008) noted that this might be the case, but argued that there is higher percentage that schooling plays a role in the way people come to see things as adults. The adults therefore need to be de-schooled in the sense that they get to educate their children on the issues that matter most in their lives rather than dwelling on ideologies and propaganda of some elitist groups in education. Jenkins, Roettger & Roettger (2008) suggested that, in such circumstances, some parents and adult learners consider going to college, taking AP courses, and know there is something besides food stamps in just exploring the world.
This study used two articles, Teaching readers how to comprehend text strategically, by Trabusso & Bouchard, and Ross’ paper, The Impact of Clinical Experience on the Reading Comprehension Instruction of K-12 In-service Teachers. The researches which were analyzed used a sample of 50 students in K-12 ranging from grade four to great eight. The schools were selected across the country so as to provide a representative analysis. As a result of the number of respondents, the researchers used email and group analysis as methods of gathering data from the respondents. Mostly, the questionnaires were emailed to the teachers and head teachers of the selected schools and enquired about the strategies that teachers used when teaching students reading comprehension. The collected data were then analyzed in accordance with the existing knowledge on the reading comprehension and tested against the hypothesis.
From the results of the analysis, I propose that teachers and education stakeholders need to adapt the researched and recommended ways of teaching students in K-12 so as to enable them to develop holistically in their learning and also enable them to choose courses in future based on their ability to perform in those courses, but not as a result of biasness, because of the reading strategies that were used by teachers when they were in K-12 level.
As observed by Garland (2012), the culture of reading comprehension and the strategies used by instructors in K-12 introduce significant difficulties to comprehending expository text to students in schools. Additionally, Garland (2012) argued that teachers fail to use research-based strategies designed to improve student ability to comprehend this text type. In relation to these observations, it is evident that students in K-12 are thus affected in their perception and understanding of the text in theory and practice as they transit to the next level of their studies. Moreover, the level of reading comprehension that a student in K-12 attains determines the kind of subjects that the student is likely to prefer in high school and thereafter the courses they are likely to undertake at the college or university level. Evidently, as argued by Farstrup & Daniels (2002), K-12 standards of reading form that basic foundation upon which the student builds on in future studies. Studies done by Trabusso & Bouchard (2002) and Ross (2003) revealed that some reading comprehension strategies work optimally and thus enable the thriving of the reading comprehension for students in K-12. Nevertheless, Farstrup & Daniels (2002) argued that, despite of this, it is not clear how the use of identified and research-based approaches affects the delivery of reading comprehension of teachers to students. In conclusion, the strategies which are used by teachers in reading comprehension to students in K-12 have great influences on the final perception of students of the economic, political, and social matters in their nation. It also forms the basis on which students are likely to choose future careers in their professional life.
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