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Tuesday, April 23, 2024


    The Simple View of Reading

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    Ridwan Yusuf

    In spite of its importance in the world of reading research, many practicing educators do not know about the Simple View of Reading. It is a formula demonstrating the widely accepted view that reading has two basic components: word recognition (decoding) and language comprehension. The Simple View formula has been supported and validated by a number of research studies. Understanding the formula will help educators with assessing reading weaknesses and providing appropriate instruction.

    The Simple View formula presented by Gough and Tunmer in 1986 is:

    Decoding (D) x Language Comprehension (LC) = Reading Comprehension (RC)

    The Simple View formula and supporting studies show that a student’s reading comprehension (RC) score can be predicted if decoding (D) skills and language comprehension (LC) abilities are known. Notice that D and LC are not added together to predict RC. They are multiplied. In the Simple View formula, the values of D and LC must be between 0 and 1 (or 0% and 100%). A score of 0 means no skill or ability at all and 1 indicates perfection. (Examples of how the formula works are presented later in this article.)

    Gough and Tunmer (1986) proposed the Simple View of Reading to clarify the role of decoding in reading. Many educators did and still do believe that strong decoding skills are not necessary to achieve reading comprehension if language abilities are strong. Beginning and struggling readers are often taught to compensate for weak decoding by guessing an unfamiliar word based on the first letter or the picture, then asking themselves if the word makes sense after reading the sentence. In contrast, when decoding is the focus of instruction students are taught to sound out unfamiliar words using all the letters and to practice reading accurately until an adequate reading rate is achieved, along with accurate decoding.

    This article discusses the following so that educators can take advantage of the Simple View of Reading to help all students achieve their maximum reading potential.

    Author : Ridwan Yusuf Mohamud
    The Founder and Editor in Chief of Somali Magazine

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