Some internal and external factors which affect pupils’ reading can bring some problems and difficulties in reading:
- Physical-vision, hearing, lateral dominance, one’s sex and health.
- Mental-intelligence, conceptualization, language, mental immaturity
- Emotional-self-concept, subject matter, and teacher effect.
- Socioeconomic-low socioeconomic status, family mobility and stability.
There is much dispute about whether these are direct causes of reading difficulties. On the other hand, there is little doubt that their influences will have some bearing upon other conditions such as interest in learning and expectations of success, which can affect one’s progress in reading.
- Poor teacher strategy, overemphasis on one reading skill, indiscriminate use of reading materials, inadequate and unsuitable instructional material, teacher bias, poor or insensitive administration.
- Lack of motivation — on the part of the student and the teacher. It is my firm belief that this is one of the important factors underlying the low performance in reading.
A pupil with a reading problem shows difficulties in reading skills which are unexpected according to age, cognitive ability, intervention and quality and quantity of instruction.
It is significant for these pupils to identify their areas of interests which they can excel in. This may make them feel they have something important to say and an area they can succeed in and see themselves as ‘winners’. It is also helpful for teachers to make the pupils aware of their learning difficulty and ability so that the pupil can have a positive self-image which help in building a successful and competent person. Teachers should give the parents and pupils examples of successful people who had reading and writing problem in school.
For fluent reading and understanding, it is needful that the interpretation becomes natural. Well organized, relevant and interesting information may be stored in the long-term memory permanently. The procedures utilized to relate and organize new information on to the previous understanding and to keep it in a good way, have implications for how easily the pupil will be in a position to retrieve the information in future.
Teachers have always said that learners with reading problem may know information at one time but fail to recall it the next time. The problem may not be with the memory but how the information was processed. Working memory enables people to exploit their memory systems extensively. It allows people to remember information through rehearsals in the minds, to relate this information to the previous knowledge and to plan the future operation.
There are several ways of becoming linguistically aware, but the capability of one to focus on speech sound of his/her language may help in developing reading ability. This awareness may be perceived as an expression of language. This shows that phonological processing is the application of information on the structure of sound in interpreting the written words.
Children who do not have this awareness are likely to have reading and writing problem. According to many researchers, reading can be achieved in early grades of primary school by measuring phonological awareness. Therefore, without this awareness the relationship between sounds and letters may be difficult to understand. Lack of it can also be recognized when the child has problem in breaking the reading code, it affects his/her word recognition and spelling strategies. To curb this problem, speech sound and the skill be introduced in early years of learning in order to enhance the skill of reading.
Learners with reading problem may have difficulties with receptive and expressive language skills, visual-motor, auditory and visual processing. They may also have shortfalls in the areas of memory, study and organizational skills, attention span and social skills.
Teachers should therefore be aware of the fact that pupils with reading and writing problem may have their own unique learning profile and that the degree of their difficulties also differ. It is important to resolve and offer support to every pupil depending on his/her strengths and needs.
All parents may react differently when they are told that their child has a problem/difficulty. It may be quite challenging for the parents to have a child with reading and writing problem and they may take time to accept the problem hence their reaction may be unique. Information and facilitation by teachers to parents on the problem may be of great help for the parents. The home-school communication should continue to be encouraged in order for both parties to gain understanding of the educational needs and strengths of the pupils.
In conclusion we can say that teachers should know that pupils learn in different ways hence have different strengths and needs. For instance, a pupil who is not good at reading may be talented in other areas like drama, mathematics or even physical education. Every pupil with a learning difficulty has his/her own learning style, interests, needs and strengths. Nonetheless, teachers and parents should be able to help the pupil to identify their strengths and interests.
- Day R. R., Bamford J. Top Ten Principles for Teaching Extensive Reading / Richard Day, Julian Bamford // Reading in a Foreign Language. — 2002. — Vol.14
- Ellis R. Task-based Language Learning and Teaching / Rod Ellis. — Oxford: OUP, 2003. — 387 p.
- Macalister J. Teaching Reading: Research into Practice / John Macalister //Language Teaching. — 2014. — Vol. 47, Issue 3.