Recently I sat listening to a new client read, and after he read I asked him to summarize the information. I was not surprised to hear, “I can’t.” He read the words with little expression, and his primary emphasis when reading was on trying to pronounce complex vocabulary. Little effort was put into phrasing, visualizing or comprehension. What is the difference between simply reading words and reading the whole? Reading requires interacting with the text.

Many problems that impact comprehension, are a result of students thinking that reading is just about getting through the words. They think it is a waste of time to stop after reading a sentence to check for comprehension. They may be unable to define words from context and not bother to define unfamiliar vocabulary. In addition, reading is pleasurable for good readers because they are able to create a mental image in their mind. Reading comprehension takes work, and so many students with poor reading comprehension focus all their attention and energy on reading the words, but never interact with the text by defining vocabulary, visualizing the text and checking for understanding.