Reading is an activity that involves the cognitive interpretation of written or tactile (in the case of Braille) symbols to extract meaning and thus facilitate the communication of ideas and information. Though commonly regarded as a form of language-processing that requires the comprehension of speech based writing systems, reading can also include the interpretation of music notation, pictograms, and number codes.
Reading is a learned skill that is formally taught to children beginning in early elementary school years and is typically required all the way through to the highest degrees of education. Typically an introspective practice, reading may also be done for recreational purposes, religious purposes, instructional purposes, and so on, with examples ranging from reading poetry, newspapers, novels, fairytales, maps, and music scores.
Reading is a skill that has profoundly shaped human civilization. Initially, reading was accessible only to elite groups in ancient societies, crucial for maintaining records and transmitting knowledge. Early writing systems like hieroglyphics and cuneiform evolved into more complex alphabets, expanding literacy. In the Middle Ages, monasteries preserved reading as a sacred skill, with monks meticulously copying manuscripts. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century was a turning point, democratizing access to books and information.
Reading styles have varied, from intensive study of religious texts to leisurely perusal of novels. Across eras, reading has been a gateway to knowledge, culture, and personal growth, playing a key role in education, communication, and the development of critical thinking.
In the years ahead, reading styles and types may evolve with digital advancements. E-books and online articles might become even more prevalent, offering interactive and multimedia features to enhance the reading experience. Augmented reality could bring texts to life, adding visual and auditory layers to traditional reading. Audiobooks and text-to-speech technology might gain popularity for their convenience, especially for multitaskers or those with visual impairments.
Despite the digital shift, traditional paper books are likely to retain their charm for many, symbolizing a tactile and nostalgic reading experience. This blend of tradition and innovation caters to diverse preferences, making literature more accessible and engaging for all audiences.
Some exercises to increase reading speed and comprehension are to first skim the text and look for the important points. Decreasing sub vocalization, reading words in groups, and using a pointer as you read, will further help to increase speed and allow for the material to be more quickly comprehended.
The ultimate goal of guided reading is to foster independent readers. An instructor works with a small group of students who read at similar levels and demonstrate similar reading behaviors. Through guided reading, students are given the chance to apply learned strategies to new text.
Active reading is done by critically engaging with the content as you read; it is reading something with the intent to understand and evaluate it for its relevance to your individual needs. Strategies to be a more active reader are to read with a specific focus, break the text into portions, question the text as you read, and take notes as you read.