at different products. The product of reading will vary according to the readers. Different readers will arrive at different products because they start off different positions (Steinberg, 1982).
2.3. Good vs. Poor Readers
According to Pang (2008) a variety of terms have been used to delineate different types of readers. These terms are dichotomous modifiers such as proficient versus less-proficient, successful versus unsuccessful, fluent versus non-fluent, skilled versus unskilled, and fast versus slow, but good versus poor dichotomous is more holistic than the others.
Different researchers have focused on good and poor readers from different perspectives. For example, Commander and Stanwyck (1997) suggest that good readers have a good knowledge of structural element of text and therefore have more accurate recall of the main ideas in the text. Poor readers, on the other hand, focus on details at the expense of missing main ideas (cf. Pang, 2008).
Hopkins and Mackay, (1997, cited in Pang, 2008) argue that good readers often have more ready access to a variety of purposeful reading strategies to undertake reading tasks successfully and that they use them with greater frequency and flexibility than poor readers.
Treiman (2001) holds that, “Good readers are highly sensitive to context and use it to guide their uptake of print, whereas poor readers have trouble predicting the upcoming words in a sentence” (p.665).
Regarding the differences in spelling ability, Kamhi and Hinton (2000) believe that ”in general, good readers are good spellers and poor readers are poor spellers. They mention that, “Individual differences in spelling ability are the result of differences in the knowledge and use of sound-spelling information rather than differences in visual memory abilities. Poor spellers may rely more on visual strategies than good spellers, but this is only because on their limited phonological knowledge” (p.37).
Douglas (2005) asserts that “Good readers are on automatic pilot as they move through text; they have internalized important thinking strategies and use them automatically. Proficient readers use fundamental thinking strategies to understand text. They activate prior knowledge, analyze formats, visualize, form predictions, make inferences, generate questions, monitor understanding, fix confusion, and synthesize content.Poor readers often lack the automatic thinking strategies that lead to text comprehension” (p.4).
Similarly, Smith (1999) mentions five thinking strategies used by good readers. Good readers: 1-predict: make educated guesses, 2-picture: form images, 3-relate: draw comparisons, 4-monitor: check understanding, and 5-correct gaps in understanding (p. 29). Konza (2011) proposes some other strategies used by good readers. Typically, good readers: 1-understand the purpose of their reading; whether they need to skim the text to get a general idea of the context, scan for specific information, or read closely to obtain detail, 2-understand the purpose of the text; whether the text is written to entertain, inform, advertise or persuade, 3-monitor their comprehension, and 4-adjust their reading strategies based on the monitoring.
Duke and Pearson (2002) believe that much work on the process of reading comprehension has been grounded in studies of good readers. We know a great deal about what good readers do when they read:
* Good readers are active readers.
* From the outset they have clear goals in mind for their reading.
* Good readers typically look over the text before they read, noting such things as the structure of the text and text sections that might be most relevant to their reading goals.
* As they read, good readers frequently make predictions about what is to come.
* Good readers construct, revise, and question the meanings they make as they read.
* They draw from, compare, and integrate their prior knowledge with material in the text.
* They think about the authors of the text, their style, beliefs, intentions, historical milieu, and so on.
* They monitor their understanding of the text, making adjustments in their reading as necessary.
* Good readers read different kinds of text differently.
* When reading narrative, good readers attend closely to the setting and characters.
* Comprehension is a consuming, continuous, and complex activity, but one that, for good readers, is both satisfying and productive (p.205).
2.4. Schema Theory
Nunan (1999) says that “The term schemata was first used by the psychologist Bartlett (1932), and has had an important influence on researchers in the areas of speech processing and language comprehension ever since” (p.201). Bartlett argued that the knowledge we have in our heads is organized into interrelated patterns. They are like stereotypical mental scripts or scenarios of situations and events which are built up from many experiences of similar events. During our lives we built up hundreds of schemas which help us understand different situations from catching the train to work to having a meal (Nunan, 1999).
One of the basic tenets of this theory, according to Hadley (2003), is that “any given text does not carry meaning in and of itself. Rather, it provides direction for listeners or readers so that they can construct meaning from their own cognitive structure (previously acquired or background knowledge). The previously acquired knowledge structures accessed in the comprehension process are called schemata (the plural of schema)” (p.134).
Similarly, Nunan (1999) holds that “The basic principle behind schema theory is that texts themselves, whether spoken or written, do not carry meaning. Rather, they provide signposts, or clue, to be utilized by listeners or readers in reconstructing the original meanings of speakers or writers. Reading comprehension is thus an interactive process between the reader and the text, in that the reader is required to fit the clues provided in the text to his or her own background knowledge” (p.257).
According to Stott (2001) “Schema theory describes the process by which readers combine their own background knowledge with the information in a text to comprehend the text. All readers carry different schemata (background information) and these are also often culture-specific” (p.1). So this theory is vital to developing comprehension in reading.”When students access prior knowledge, their comprehension ability is so much greater than it would be without any prior information or motivation to read” (Hatten, Redish, & Garcia, 2010, p.1).
Mc. Koon and Ratcliff (2006) believe that inferences are fundamental to successful reading comprehension. According to Kurland (2000) “Inference is a mental process by which we reach a conclusion based on specific evidence” (p.1). The more evidence we have before us, and the more carefully we reason, the more valid our inferences. This principle plays an important role with reading: the more evidence within a text, the more likely we have not gone astray from any intended meaning (Kurland, 2000).
2.5.1. The Difference between Reasoning and Inferencing
In Mc. Koon and Ratcliff’s (2006) view “There are some differences between reasoning and inferencing but the distinction is not clear-cut” (p.11). They believe that reasoning is a clear task that requires thinking one’s way through a problem to come to a logical conclusion. So, it needs conscious effort and strategic processing. Generating inferences, on the other hand, are not so. Certain types of inferences are made automatically during reading. It means that readers are not necessarily conscious that they are making inferences.
2.5.2. Types of Inferences
McKoon and Ratcliff (2006) assert that broadly there are two categories of inferences:
1-coherence inferences, and
2-elaborative or extending inferences.
Coherence inferences are necessary to form a consiste
nt and intelligible mental picture of a text. They can be classified in two ways: those that use cohesive devices which are used to maintain textual integrity and can be used to resolve ambiguities in a text and aid in the construction of a coherent representation or those that are knowledge-based.
Knowledge-based inferences, also called bridging inferences, are used to bridge a gap in the text by applying real-world knowledge to the explicit information that is given. The most common bridging inference is causal inferences. Other types of bridging inferences include: temporal inferences, emotional inferences, and spatial inferences.
Elaborative or extending inferences include inferences about the consequences of an action, predictions about forthcoming events, speculations regarding the instrument used to perform an action and suppositions about the physical properties of characters and objects.
2.6. Scaffolding and Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): History of the Concept
According to Verenikina (2003) “Vygotskian socio-cultural psychology, and the zone of proximal development (ZPD) in particular, is commonly referred to as the theoretical underpinnings of scaffolding however, the interpretation of the term and its implementation varies significantly from study to study” (p.1).
Vygotsky stated that consciousness is constructed through a subject’s interactions with the world. Development cannot be separated from its social and cultural context. This led to the idea that we can only understand mental processes if we understand the social interaction and tools and signs that mediate them (Verenikina, 2003).
Similarly, Wilson (2009) says that the socio-cultural theory states that “The child learns through social interactions and their environment. Throughout social interaction we learn about our cultures. Vygotsky added, human activities take place in a cultural setting and cannot be a part of these settings; as a result, our culture helps shape our cognition” (p.1).
Scaffolding has become one of the major issues with the work of Lev Vygotsky, with modern educators and researchers interested in continuing its development and application. “The concept of scaffolding was related to, but not directly taken from the writings of Vygotsky. Vygotsky, however, did not use the metaphor for scaffolding” (Rahimi & Ghanbari, 2011, p.1072).
Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976, cited in Rahimi and Ghanbari, 2011, p.1072) were the first to use the term scaffolding in elaboration of the role of tutoring on problem-solving behavior. Lipscomb, Swanson, and West (2004) also believe that “The term ‘scaffolding’ comes from the works of Wood, Bruner, and Ross” (p.3). Wood, et al.(1976) defined scaffolding as “a process that enables a child or a novice to solve a problem, carry out a task, or achieve a goal which would be beyond his unassisted efforts” (p.90).
Maybin et. al (1992) on the other hand, believe that “The term ‘scaffolding’ was originally used by Bruner as a metaphor for depicting the form and quality of the effective intervention by a ‘learned’ person in the learning of another person” (p.187).
The term scaffolding is increasingly used to describe certain kinds of support which learners receive in their interaction with parents, teachers and other mentors as they move towards new skills, concepts, or levels of understanding. It is a term which helps to portray the temporary, but essential nature of the mentor’s assistance as the learner advances in knowledge and understanding (Maybin, et.,al 1992).
Lipscomb et al., (2004) also say that the term scaffolding was developed as a metaphor to describe the type of assistance offered by a teacher or peer to support learning. In the process of scaffolding, the teacher helps the student master a task or concept that the student is initially unable to grasp independently. The teacher offers assistance with only those