READING MADE EASIER: The explicit instruction of reading comprehension strategies


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My affair with reading started over sixty years ago, when I "graduated" from second grade and taught a neighboring boy, only one year my junior, to read over the summer vacation . Today he would most probably be diagnosed as an LD kid, but in those days if you could not read by the end of Hanukkah you had to be either lazy or stupid, or both . I have always been an avid reader . In high school, however, under the guidance of my English teacher, the late Jack Kimkhi, I decided I was going to read only in English . The books he recommended were unabridged editions of those he considered worth reading ‒ Charles Dickens' Great Expectations , Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, etc . It was not easy at first : I had to translate hundreds of words from each book and memorize them, because he would test me on these, but as he promised, it paid off in the end . As an undergraduate, I never had a problem with the reading load, and as a graduate in the States I found out very quickly that I had a much larger vocabulary than most of the native speakers in my department . It was then that I first heard about Flesch's ( 1955 ) Why Johnny Can't Read ‒ one of the central questions raised about American education . But in those days I was more interested in theoretical linguistics, my major . It took some years before I became interested in reading again . It has become increasingly clear to me as a teacher, teacher educator, and researcher that reading is at the core of all language learning, and that we can teach ALLstudents to read . In addition to teaching courses in linguistics, SLA, research into reading and writing processes, etc . , as well as seminar courses in academic literacy in both English and Hebrew, I have been individually tutoring dyslexic and hard of hearing students . I am indebted to them for teaching me how to teach them and for bringing out the best in me . I am also indebted to all my "regular" undergraduate and graduate students, who shared their inner learning processes with me

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