Nature of Reading





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Reading is a mental process. There are many definitions of reading. Reading is when someone looks into a written text and starts to absorb the information from the written linguistic message. In Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistic, reading is said as: (1) Perceiving a written text in order to understand its contents. This can be done silently (silent reading). The understanding that result is called reading comprehension. (2) Saying a written text aloud (oral reading). This can be done with or without understanding of the content.

Other definition by Collins English Learner's Dictionary is that reading is an act of looking at and understanding point. This is very true because reading entails the use of vision to understand several words in a sentence and make them meaningful. Same goes to each sentence in order to understand the entire text. Besides all the definitions from the dictionary there are also definitions made by several people. According to William (1984), he defines reading as a process whereby one looks at and understands what has been written. Rohani Ariffin (1992:1) in her book entitled Anthropology of Poetry for Young People defines reading as a highly personal activity that is mainly done silently, alone. There is a clear understanding that reading is something related to the activity of acquiring information and it is done either silently or aloud. Reading is an interactive process between the reader and the writer. Brunan (1989) for instance defines reading as a two way interaction in which information is exchange between the reader and the author. Smith (1973) also shares the same attitude. This is proved by his line:"Reading is an act of communication in which information is transferred from a transmitter to a receiver". (Smith, 1973:2)

Despite all the definitions given, there is also definition of reading given by teachers as well as by students. According to Stallfter (1969), teachers define reading as a complicated procedure. Readers read to get information from the printed pages. They should be able to pronounce and comprehend the printed words, signs, letters, and symbols by assigning meaning to them. As for students, they define reading which cited from Jensen and Petty (1918) as where words go into your eyes and out of your mouth. They said that books are written with many adventures and time and time again there are spots where they say 'I know it!' it is interesting to them as they open the book, words flow out and float across the mind".

Nature of Reading

In order for a person to be able to read, there is in need of other skill to support the reader while reading. Reading is a mental process as mentioned earlier so it needs other skills to be integrated with such as listening, speaking and writing. According to Chitravelu et. al (1995), reading is not a single skill that we use all the time in the same way but it is multiple skill that used differently with kind of test and fulfilling different purpose. This was earlier being stated by Thomas and Loving (1979) where they alleged reading as a communicative skills along with listening, speaking writing and thinking.

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