Students’ Level Of Reading Comprehension And Academic Performance In Tertiary Institutions

One way to increase the students’ comprehension is by assisting them to understand text structure. The writer often helps readers recognize important details by arranging them in a certain way like a pattern of organization. It helps the students see not only details but also the main idea and the specific pattern of organization. Text structure has a built-in “map” that can give directions to readers and let them know where they are located midst the developing information and ideas. The text structure is used to refer to how the ideas in a text are interrelated to convey a message to a reader. Some of the ideas in the text are of central importance to the authors’ message, while others are of less importance. Thus, text structure specifies the logical connections among ideas as well as subordination of some ideas to others.


Reading comprehension is the application of a skill that evolved for other purposes (listening or oral comprehension) to a new form of input (text). Unlike listening comprehension, reading comprehension is not something for which our brains have evolved. Whereas oral comprehension seems to develop “naturally” with minimal deliberate intervention, reading comprehension is more challenging and requires deliberate instruction.

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Humans have been accomplished in oral comprehension for 100,000 years or more, and virtually all humans do it; reading comprehension has only been practiced for 5,000 years, and for most of that time the majority of humans did not do it. It should not be surprising that reading comprehension is difficult. The application of comprehension to text amplifies our mental capacities. It is fundamental to full participation in society, now and for the foreseeable future.


It is important to understand that reading occurs at several different levels, and how these levels interact. The lowest level shown there, Words, sits on top of many even lower levels of processing that are beyond the scope of this paper. Successful word recognition (either pronunciation, or, more rarely, recognition of meaning without being able to pronounce) is a prerequisite for the higher levels of comprehension. If some words cannot be recognized, the higher levels can compensate to some extent. Unknown words can be inferred in some cases; however, this is more difficult than it sounds, it can only work for some kinds of words and only for a small number of words in any text, and it is very processing intensive. Once words have been recognized, the question of word meaning arises; it is possible to make sense of text when the meaning of some words is lacking or hazy, but beyond a modest level of uncertainty, comprehension becomes impossible.


Before learning to read children have to learn how to speak, they have to acquire their own mother tongue. There is a strong link between language acquisition and reading skills. There are two main approaches as to how children acquire or learn language. Skinner declares that all languages must be learned by the child even the mother tongue. This approach in psychology known as behaviorism, which points out that language is a behavior formed by conditioned response, therefore it can be learned. The other famous view is the Universal Grammar hypothesis which supposes that although human languages differ on the surface they share some basic similarities, and that there are innate principles unique to language; in other words, there is only one human language under the surface. Humans possess a special, innate ability for acquiring languages and that complex syntactic feature is "built" in the brain. Children acquire a language owning to some innate mechanism, which help humans develop language ability. The "innate" view cannot be scientifically falsified; in other words it can't be tested. There are certain similarities among certain languages. However, in case of linguistically distant languages, the UG does not seem to be useful for example, Most learners of English experience more differences than similarities between the two languages. There are a number of features, which influence how easy or difficult is for children to learn to read. Reading abilities have different components. Phonemic awareness is the knowledge that words are made up of a combination of individual sounds. It also includes the ability to hold on to those sounds, blend them successfully into words and take them apart again. Phonics is the relationship between a specific letter and its sound, only as it relates to the written word. Phonics has a special significance in opaque orthographies like English where children have to learn the spelling of different words. Reading development is influenced by the orthography of the language. Orthographic depth hypothesis can be applied to both teaching reading for L1 and L2 readers. It emphasizes the importance of connections between orthographies of languages and reading process.


Academic performance is an issue that deeply concerns students, parents, teachers and authorities not only in our country, but also in many other Latin American countries and continents. The complexity of the academic performance starts from its conceptualization. Sometimes it is known as school readiness, academic achievement and school performance, but generally the difference in concepts is only explained by semantics as they are used as synonyms. Conventionally, it has been agreed that academic performance should be used in university populations and school performance in regular and alternative basic education populations. We will point out just a few because there is a diversity of definitions. Several authors agree that academic performance is the result of learning, prompted by the teaching activity by the teacher and produced by the student. Academic performance is “the product given by the students and it is usually expressed through school grades”. Academic performance as a measure of the indicative and responsive abilities that express, in an estimated way, what a person has learned as a result of a process of education or training. Academic performance involves meeting goals, achievements and objectives set in the program or course that a student attends. These are expressed through grades which are the result of an assessment that involves passing or not certain tests, subjects or courses. Academic performance also can be seen as the level of knowledge shown in an area or subject compared to the norm, and it is generally measured using the grade point average.


Reading forms part of entertainment that plays a crucial role in human development and life skills. Students with poor reading comprehension get terrible scores in their examinations, get effortlessly distracted and eventually drop out from school. Students with poor reading comprehension have a higher opportunity of taking part in hostile social practices, such as delinquency, truancy, school violence, tormenting, hacking of computers and examination malpractices. While poor reading comprehension can be instrumental in the destruction of any individual who is tormented with it, good reading comprehension grows consistently and brings together a valuable personality. The acquisition of reading abilities does not just affect or enhance confidence in language expressions, but in different subjects such as: social studies, science, arithmetic etc. A student who lacks reading ability does not do well in class activities and this deficiency is extended throughout his/her academic lifetime. “Reading plays an invaluable role in promoting ideas and ideals, which enhance both individual development and the socio-economic development of the nation. Reading is a lifelong habit, the real wellspring of access to the information. It is taken as an understood practice that backs a person to accomplish unique power and builds up one's critical thinking capability. Reading comprehension, along these lines, is considered as a fundamental means for the advancement of individual characteristics, mental capacities, getting learning, information, and comprehension of a person.


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