The five biggest tasks of reading

(These are points where reading problems can arise!)

(Intended for sighted readers.)

1. Seeing 

a. Can you clearly see the text?  Is it blurry? Does it jump around in your vision? Does the color of the text and background make it visible to you?  Is there enough light to see the text? 

b. Have you ever been diagnosed with vision problems?  Do you often have headaches? Do your eyes get tired when you read?  Do you need to hold the paper too close or far away to clearly see the text? If you are supposed to wear glasses, do you wear them?  Is the prescription for your glasses current?

2. Identifying

a. Is the text written in a "funny" or non-standard font or poorly-written handwriting? Can you easily and correctly identify all the letters?  Do they jump around? Can you identify words and word groups at a glance? 

b. Is it English at all, or some other language (or perhaps an unfamiliar version of English)?  Can you usually tell at a quick glance if a text is in English or not?

3. Decoding

a. Can you easily and correctly decode the written text into words? Do you have to guess at what most of the words are (or have to guess at more than one word in most every sentence)? 

b. Is your grasp of the English language and of the vocabulary used in the text sufficient to allow you to decode the text into words? 

c. Can you easily and quickly sound out unfamiliar words, or do you simply guess, or jump over unfamiliar words, and go on? 

c. Can you read the text fluently out loud, even to yourself? 

4. Comprehending

a. Can you put the written words and sentences together to make thoughts?  Can you follow along with what the author is trying to say? 

b. Can you explain the text to someone else in different words? Could you explain it to a child, or to a person who knows little or nothing about the subject?  

c. Do you have trouble concentrating on long blocks of text, lose your place, or lose focus and start thinking about something else? Do you do the same with long speeches, personal conversations, explanations, or complicated oral or written instructions? What about long musical numbers and long movies or performances, complicated work tasks, long drives, or long dinners?  

5. Contextualizing

a. Can you easily and correctly explain what importance the text has to you and to the rest of the world? Can you explain why the text meets your "who cares?" test? 

b. Can you integrate the content of the text with everything else you know on the subject? 

b. Can you guess as to the intended audience of the text, why it was written, and what the author wanted to accomplish by writing it?  

c. Can you say you agree or disagree with the text, and why you do or why you do not?   

d. Is your "who cares test?" too strict for most text or information to pass? 

For educational purposes only.

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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