Reading is something many, who are literate, take for granted. But if one thinks about it and tries to define it, one may have difficulty verbalizing his/her thoughts. Reading is a process of communication through which most formal learning takes place. It involves understanding written language and respond to the author’s message. Therefore, this means that when one is reading one has to be thinking, predicting, questioning, evaluating and defining and redefining. Reading simply is unlocking and constructing literal interpretive and applied meanings from coded message. It is the act of simultaneously reading the lines reading between the lines, and reading beyond the lines.
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The first part of the definition: ‘reading the Lines’ refers to the act of decoding the words in order to construct the author’s basic message. The next part ‘reading between the lines’ refers to the act of making inferences and understanding the authors implied message and finally ‘reading beyond the lines’ involves the judging of the significance of the authors message and applying it to other areas of background and knowledge. In this regard, reading can be described as an active process, which involves the cognitive processing of information in written form. It is the process of constructing meaning from written text.
Reading is the route to learning, research and community service, the key focus of any university. Reading connotes movement; movement from a lower level of understanding to a higher one. Students of the university who read are therefore most likely to move from one level of understanding to another, because “a reading individual is an educated individual, an innovative individual and a wise individual”. Students who read are most likely to face challenges of life rather than run away from them. They are most likely to find creative solutions for every problem of life, including their academic, social, and economic conditions. Students who read will usually end up as successful because they have been able to extend their knowledge latitude and longitude, and make decisions that improve their situations and the situations of their world. They are people who affect generations. They are the inventors, the creators, and innovators. Students who read bring about scientific breakthroughs, because they are never satisfied with the status-quo. They are always a delight to have around. They are never lacking in employment. They set the pace for their peers in every aspect of human endeavors. They are main actors and not spectators or cheer-leaders. They are the true products of university education because they bring about transformation of their environment.
Reading culture is a lifelong non-stop and steady routine. It denotes the student’s behavior which articulates the likeness for reading and clarifies the essence and fondness for reading as well as rate of reading. Consequently, students’ reading cultures hinge on the essence of reading which must not necessarily be for passing examinations alone but for acquisition of information, self-development, improvement of general knowledge, leisure, aesthetic need and entertainment. Positive reading culture is a requirement for a vigorous intellectual development that plays a very critical role in facilitating student’s accomplishment of practical competence.
The importance and impact of group reading among students cannot be overemphasized as it is established that students learn best when they are actively involved in the process. “Students who participate in collaborative learning and educational activities outside the classroom and who interact more with faculty members get better grades, are more satisfied with their education, and are more likely to remain in college” A collaborative learning environment, as opposed to a passive learning environment, helps students learn more actively and effectively.
Reading is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. Reading is a mental process in which someone looks into a written text and starts to absorb the information from the written linguistic message. Reading entails the use of vision to understand several words in a sentence and make them meaningful. Reading culture defines a consistent commitment in the act of reading incessantly. It is an obsession to read with attestable, beneficial outcomes on addicts. It encompasses the gaining of positive attitude among students and this is vital to students’ academic achievement.
Reading culture is the use of reading as a regular activity, and thus the cultivation of an attitude and the possession of skills that make reading a pleasurable, regular and constant activity. Reading culture is having the habit of reading in every life and not just for school purpose. However, over time reading ceases to become the uphill task of reading to pass examination, rather it takes on an intrinsic value, reading for the sake of reading until an inclination to further reading is developed. The essence of reading culture is to encourage students to read as part of daily life and to establish the reading of books as a habit that would always be needed and enjoyed throughout one’s life.
STYLES OF READING
There are three different styles of reading and these styles of reading are used for specific purpose. They include skimming, scanning and in-depth reading.
Skimming: skimming reading style is the process of reading the headlines, headings or first sentences of the page in each section or paragraph. ‘Skip reading’ is done here.
Scanning: scanning reading style has it that all the contents are not dealt with. Scanning could be used specifically for the purpose of referencing like to find words in a dictionary, locate names in a directory etc.
In-depth reading: this is done after the text has been skimmed. Reading is done in detail to understand what the text is about. In-depth reading has four (4) different strategies, among which includes the ‘RAP strategy’ where the reader Reads, Ask and Put the answer into his/her own words, it helps the reader to develop the ability to recall and retell about information that are relevant to them and be able to apply it where necessary.
Group work is used as a means for learning at all levels in educational systems. There is strong scientific support for the benefits of having students learning and working in groups. Group work is used as a means for learning at all levels in most educational systems, from compulsory education to higher education. The overarching purpose of group work in educational practice is to serve as an incentive for learning. For example, it is believed that the students involved in the group activity should “learn something. Collaborative work promotes both academic achievement and collaborative abilities. When working interactively with others, students learns to inquire, share ideas, clarify differences, problem-solve, and construct new understandings. Students working together are more motivated to achieve than they would be when working individually. Thus, group work might serve as an incentive for learning, in terms of both academic knowledge and interpersonal skills.
Working as a group, on the other hand, causes learning benefits from collaboration with other group members. Working as a group is often referred to as “real group work” or “meaningful group work,” and denotes group work in which students utilizes the group members’ skills and work together to achieve a common goal. Moreover, working as a group presupposes collaboration, and that all group members will be involved in and working on a common task to produce a joint outcome. Working as a group is characterized by common effort, the utilization of the group’s competence, and the presence of problem solving and reflection.
IMPROVING READING CULTURE THROUGH GROUP STUDIES
Teaching and learning in higher education are changing. Active learning has become an important focus in this time of pedagogical change. While the term encompasses a broad array of practices, collaborative learning, or small group work, remains an important element of active learning theory and practice. It is an established fact that students learn best when they are actively involved in the process. “Students who participate in collaborative learning and educational activities outside the classroom and who interact more with faculty members get better grades, are more satisfied with their education, and are more likely to remain in college” A collaborative learning environment, as opposed to a passive learning environment, helps students learn more actively and effectively.
Groups have more information than a single individual. Groups have a greater well of resources to tap and more information available because of the variety of backgrounds and experiences. They also stimulate creativity. In regard to problem solving, the old adage can be applied that “two heads are better than one.” People remember group discussions better. It also fosters learning and comprehension. Students working in small groups have a tendency to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same material is presented in other instructional formats. Decisions that students help make yield greater satisfaction. Students who are engaged in group problem solving are more committed to the solution and are better satisfied with their participation in the group than those who were not involved. Overall, effective student participation in group work is an important learning outcome for higher education courses. Although many students feel as though they can accomplish assignments better by themselves rather than in a group, instructors find that group work helps the students apply knowledge. However, merely assigning a group does not itself create critical thinking outcomes. Therefore, the instructor must be cognizant of how best to facilitate effective collaborative learning environments.
However, Students gain a better understanding of themselves. Group work allows people to gain a more accurate picture of how others see them. The feedback that they receive may help them better evaluate their interpersonal behavior. More so, Team work is highly valued by employers.
People read for many reasons apart from education. Other reasons why people read includes self – improvement, pleasure, and for relaxation. A reading nation in all ramifications is stable in their developmental strives. Therefore, reading is an art not to be taken for granted rather reading should be a day-to-day activity. Reading culture remains the way through which people both old and young can achieve success through reading, which implies reading regularly for achievable goals. It is important to put this culture of reading up through the library collections, readership promotion campaigns, reading clubs and World Book Day activities