It was a challenge for me to read a book about how to read a book. The author shared his points on the levels of reading, types of books, and the ways to approach reading. He stated that there were four levels of reading: elementary, inspectional, analytical, and syntopical. He dissected each level to provide an approach to reading at these various levels.
The elementary level of reading intrigued me because I have a reading tutorial program for students in Grades one through twelve. His points of interest were the four stages: reading readiness, word mastery, vocabulary growth and the utilization of context, and the mature reader. (23-25) I spent time reading and massaging this chapter. Our organization work with children struggling in reading and his helped me in understanding the type of reader the student identifies with. A significant challenge in teaching reading is developing a program that will hold the student’s interest and encourage the mastering of the skills of reading.
The first stage of reading encompasses several different kinds of preparation for learning to read: good vison, hearing, visual perception, language, and ability to work with other children. (24) The second stage of learning to read: sight words, sounds of words, and able to identify the meaning. (25) The third stage of learning to read: vocabulary building and reading text with different content. (25) The fourth stage of learning to read: able to assimilate their reading experiences. (25) The author specially points to the fact that at the college level we should all be at stage four.
The inspectional level of reading discusses systemic skimming and superficial reading through the book the first time. (42, 43) The author shares that speed reading is one that does not equal comprehension. The analytical level of reading addresses pigeon holding and x-raying a book, interpretive reading, and the aids to assist in reading a book. The author spent so much detail on the type of books and how the analytical read approached each type.
The syntopical level of reading discusses five steps: find relevant passages, identify key words and sentences, understanding the author’s proposition, and defining the issue. (308-313) The author dissects these steps to summarize it as two main stages: preparatory and syntopical reading proper. (226) He directs you to reviewing the bibliography which may assist you in understanding the author’s direction of thought. At this level you may identify multiple views of a passage.
Overall, the author shares an analogy on how one matures in reading. Taking the reader from how they learned to read as a child to the progressive stage of where they are now and how to adapt to a method of reading style that effectively works for the reader. This book would be good for teachers to help them understand and develop a lesson plan for their assigned students learning development. I must admit I skipped through this book and had to reread some parts. Some I just skimmed through to move forward in the book.
Lynda Wright Gittens