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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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From Phonics To Fluent


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Literal: Literal comprehension is what is actually stated such as facts and details and rote memorization. Common questions that illicit this type of thinking are who, what, when, and where.

Interpretive: Interpretive comprehension is what is implied rather than explicitly stated – drawing inferences, tapping into prior knowledge, making educated guesses, and reading between the lines. Common questions that illicit interpretive comprehension are open-ended, thought-provoking questions. For example, why, what if, and how.

Applied: Applied comprehension includes taking what is said (literal) and what is meant (interpretive) and applying it to concepts or ideas beyond the situation. Key skills for applied comprehension include analyzing, synthesizing, and applying to new situations.

Scholastic, a leading educational resource, explains that reading research has demonstrated that readers do not simply “perceive” the meaning that is IN a text. In fact, expert readers co-construct meaning WITH a text. The research base shows that reading is a “transaction” in which the reader brings purposes and life experiences to bear to converse with the text. This meeting of the reader and the text results in the meaning that is comprehension. Comprehension always attends to what is coded or written in the text, but it also depends upon the reader’s background experiences, purposes, feelings, and needs of the moment. That’s why we can read the same book or story twice and it will have very different meanings for us. At various stages in our lives we will interpret the text in a different way.

So, you start with phonics and you build a foundation for fluency and comprehension. Successful reading can come one step at a time.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


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