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Theories of Reading

By:   •  June 12, 2012  •  Case Study  •  704 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,892 Views

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What is the Interactive Theory of Reading?

In today’s society the word theory is used rather frequently. It is defined as a set of assumptions or principles designed to explain a phenomena. Theories are based are based on hypotheses and are backed by evidence. They present concepts that are testable. There are various theories of reading:-The Interactive Theory is one such.

In the interactive theoretical model of reading there is an interaction between two models. It suggests parallel processing of information from print and information from the reader’s background. The top-down model (reader-based) and the bottom- up model (text-based) are integrated to achieve the interactive theory. Both processes are used hand-in-hand to achieve recognition and comprehension of printed words or ideas. The top-down model and the bottom-up model occurs simultaneously in order to achieve skilled readers. This is so because the interactive model stressed both what is on the written page and also what the reader brings to the reading process.

The top-down model is a direct opposition to the bottom-up model. According to Nunan (2005) and Dubin and Bycina (2005), the psycholinguistic model of reading and the top-down model are in exact accordance. In this model the act of reading begins with the reader generating their own hypotheses and make predictions. Much focus is on what the reader brings to the process (Goodman 1967). The reader will sample the text for information and compare it with their world of knowledge, helping them to make sense of what is written. The focus here is on the readers as they interact with the text. For example if the reader has just read, “Daylight saving time ends tomorrow, and so people should remember to change their…..” According to the top- down model view, the reader guesses or predicts that the next word in the sentence will be “clocks”. After reading the entire sentence they prove there prediction.

Processing print, obviously, cannot totally be a top-down model (process) because readers must begin by focusing on print (Gove 1983). Therefore the bottom-up model comes into consideration. The bottom-up model outlines that reading is initiated by examining the printed symbols. Gove (1983) outlines that the translation period begins with letter or word identification and proceeds to progressively larger linguistic units, phrases, sentences and all this ends in putting meaning to print. Learning to read is mastered by reducing the skill of reading to its smallest parts to be mastered one at a time. Hence, a reader using the bottom-up model would first sound


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