Definition of Reading

For many years, three basic definitions of reading have driven literacy programs in the United States (Foertsch, 1998). According to the first definition, learning to read means learning to pronounce words. According to the second definition, learning to read means learning to identify words and get their meaning. According to the third definition, learning to read means learning to bring meaning to a text in order to get meaning from it.

Although these definitions reflect long-standing views of reading, current literacy research supports a more comprehensive definition of reading. This new definition includes all of the above definitions and places learning skills in the context of authentic reading and writing activities. It recognizes the importance of skill instruction as one piece of the reading process (Allington & Cunningham, 1996; International Reading Association & National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998; Maryland State Department of Education, n.d.; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). It also supports balanced reading instruction for all students (Allington & Cunningham, 1996; Au, 1993; Foertsch, 1998; International Reading Association & National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).

References


info@ncrel.org

Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and copyright information.