ERIC Number: ED225143
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
What Is Reading?: A Social Theory of Comprehension Instruction.
Anang, Arlene J.
Focusing on the social nature of reading instruction provides another direction to research and study that both differs from and adds to cognitive research. H. Mehan's theory of social constructivism emphasizes that the development of cognitive processes occurs within the individual through the internalization of interactions between learners and more capable "teachers." This approach demonstrates that ability and intelligence are not static, but are dynamic, collaborated responses to specific interactions. Success or failure in schools, therefore, may be due to cultural matches or mismatches between teachers and students or schools and homes. This explanation is especially salient since so many school "failures" are members of minority, culturally different groups. Changing patterns of failure among minority group children may indicate a need to modify the social and cultural systems at work within classrooms. Children's conceptions, attitudes, and expectations about reading must be studied to discover how they differ from those imparted within the social settings of reading groups, since reading groups tend to emphasize oral reading and subskill tests rather than comprehension of text. The fact that low reading groups are often composed of minority students who have a harder time understanding this emphasis may exemplify cultural mismatch between students and teachers rather then difference in abiltiy. Studying the sources of mismatches may indicate how to alleviate these problems. (Author/FL)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Cognitive Processes, Cultural Differences, Cultural Influences, Elementary Education, Grouping (Instructional Purposes), Learning Theories, Minority Group Children, Reading Attitudes, Reading Comprehension, Reading Instruction, Social Influences, Social Theories
The Institute for Research on Teaching, 252 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 ($2.50).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.