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The Reading Apprenticeship Framework (excerpt from Reading for Understanding, 2nd edition)

The Reading Apprenticeship Framework (excerpt from Reading for Understanding, 2nd edition)

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An excerpt from chapter 2 of Ruch Schoenbach's book Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms, 2nd Edition. To learn more or purchase the book, visit http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470608315,descCd-buy.html
An excerpt from chapter 2 of Ruch Schoenbach's book Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms, 2nd Edition. To learn more or purchase the book, visit http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470608315,descCd-buy.html

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Published by: Jossey-Bass Education on Aug 05, 2013
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10/29/2013

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17
CHAPTER TWO
 
Te Reading ApprenticeshipFramework 
 At the beginning of the year, a lot of students didn’t understand. “Why are we doing all this reading stuff in science? I don’t get it. It’s science. It’s not reading.” And I triedto explain to them, “Well, reading is the most important thing you can do, no matter what subject area it is. If you can’t read and understand, you’re going to struggle.”—Heather Howlett, grade 8 science teacher
THE CONCEPTIONS
educators hold about the nature o reading naturally shapetheir approaches to helping students improve their reading abilities. As wenoted in Chapter One, some current approaches to supporting students’ readingimprovement address word-level reading problems as a precondition or work-ing on advanced literacy profciencies. The Reading Apprenticeship approachtakes a dierent route toward building high-level literacy because our under-standing o the nature o reading and the capacity o adolescent and adult learn-ers is dierent. For example, the students in Heather Howlett’s science classeswill learn academic reading along with science precisely because that is the mostpowerul way to learn.We frst present a brie summary o what we have learned about readingrom existing research and our own observations and studies.
 What Is Reading?
Reading is not just a basic skill. Many people think o reading as a skill thatis taught once and or all in the frst ew years o school. In this view o read-ing, the credit (or blame) or students’ reading ability goes to primary gradeteachers, and subsequent teachers or college instructors need teach only newvocabulary and concepts relevant to new content. Seen this way, reading isa simple process: readers decode (fgure out how to pronounce) each word in atext and then automatically comprehend the meaning o the words, as they dowith their everyday spoken language.This is not our understanding o reading.
 
18
Reading for Understanding
 About Reading 
The need to continue to teach reading as students move up the grade levelsand encounter increasingly complex academic material and tasks is now widelyrecognized. Box 2.1 lists important understandings
about
reading that aredescribed in the sections that ollow.
Students often confuse reading with saying the words on a page. Reading is actually a complexproblem-solving process that readers can learn. The following characteristics of reading are describedin this section:Reading is a complex process.Reading is problem solving.Fluent reading is not the same as decoding.Reading proficiency varies with situation and experience.Proficient readers share some key characteristics.
BOX 2.1
 About Reading 
Reading Is a Complex Process
Think or a moment about the last thing you read. A student essay? A school bulletin? A newspaper analysis o rising conict in another part o the world?A report on water quality in your community? A novel? I you could recap-ture your mental processing, you would notice that you read with reerenceto a particular world o knowledge and experience related to the text. Thetext evoked voices, memories, knowledge, and experiences rom other timesand places—some long dormant, some more immediate. I you were read-ing complex text about complex ideas or an unamiliar type o text, you wereworking to understand it. Your reading was most likely characterized by manyalse starts and much backtracking. You were probably trying to relate it toyour existing knowledge and understanding. You might have stumbled overunamiliar words and ound yoursel trying to interpret them rom the context.And you might have ound yoursel having an internal conversation with theauthor, silently agreeing or disagreeing with what you read.As experienced readers read, they begin to generate a mental representa-tion, or gist, o the text, which serves as an evolving ramework or understand-ing subsequent parts o the text. As they read urther, they test this evolving
 
19
 The Reading Apprenticeship Framewor
meaning and monitor their understanding, paying attention to inconsistenciesthat arise as they interact with the text. I they notice that they are losing themeaning as they read, they draw on a variety o strategies to readjust theirunderstandings. They come to texts with purposes that guide their reading,taking a stance toward the text and responding to the ideas that take shape inthe conversation between the text and the sel.
1
While reading a newspaper analysis o global hostilities, or example, youmay silently argue with its presentation o “acts,” question the assertions o thewriter, and fnd yoursel revisiting heated debates with riends over U.S. or-eign policy. You may picture events televised during earlier wars. Lost in yourrecollections, you may fnd that even though your eyes have scanned severalparagraphs, you have taken nothing in, so you reread these passages, this timeocusing on analysis.
Reading Is Problem Solving 
Reading is not a straightorward process o liting the words o the page. Itis a complex process o problem solving in which the reader works to makesense o a text not just rom the words and sentences on the page but also romthe ideas, memories, and knowledge evoked by those words and sentences.Although at frst glance reading may seem to be passive, solitary, and simple,it is in truth active, populated by a rich mix o voices and views—those o theauthor, o the reader, and o others the reader has heard, read about, and oth-erwise encountered throughout lie.
Fluent Reading Is Not the Same as Decoding 
Skillul reading does require readers to carry out certain tasks in a airly auto-matic manner. Decoding skills—quick word recognition and ready knowledgeo relevant vocabulary, or example—are important to successul reading.However, they are by no means sufcient, especially when texts are complex orotherwise challenging.Yet many discussions about struggling readers conuse decoding with u-ency. Fluency derives rom the reader’s ability not just to decode or identiyindividual words but also to quickly process larger language units.
2
In ourinquiries into reading—our own and that o our students—we have seen thatuency, like other dimensions o reading, varies according to the text at hand.When readers are unamiliar with the particular language structures and ea-tures o a text, their language-processing ability breaks down. This means, orexample, that teachers cannot assume that students who uently read narra-tive or literary texts will be equally uent with inormational texts or primarysource documents.

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