A new policy brief from the NCTE outlines the importance of reading instruction at every level of students’ education. The following passage, on approaches to reading that aid in the comprehension of challenging texts, may be of partticular interest to college faculty:
research shows that reading comprehension depends on a more complex approach [than “close reading”]. Specifically, reading comprehension results from the integration of two models, text-based and situation-based. The text-based model focuses on the way words are organized into sentences, paragraphs, and whole texts. The situation model refers to the meaning that results from integration of the text-based approach with the reader’s prior knowledge and goals. Close reading is aligned with the text-based approach, and it encourages students to see meaning as one right answer to be extracted from the text. Close reading is often conflated with providing textual evidence for making a claim about a text, but any approach to reading can insist on warrants for interpretations of texts. By itself, then, close reading cannot ensure that students will develop deep understandings of what they read.
In addition, the brief includes a nice list of “Implications for Instructional Policy” that offers practical suggestions and proven strategies that “support students’ learning to read complex texts across grade levels and disciplines” (16).
A free PDF of the entire policy brief can be downloaded at: www.NCTE.org