Reading Outside The Box: An Exploration of Alternative Reading Methods: A Capstone Project

by Madden, Kris, M.A., NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, 2011, 90 pages; 1492959

Abstract:

My project is an exploration of alternative reading methods put forth by various researchers in the fields of education, science, and the humanities. Its focus is specific to the role of the sight in the reading process the ways this element can be strengthened through practice exercises that correlate with research on the right hemisphere of the brain. This exploration is important because it expands the opportunities for cultivating new methods of acquiring English literacy as well as increasing the reading speed and comprehension of average readers.

In Chapter 1 I introduce my research on alternative reading methods, exemplified by researchers such as W. B. Secor and E. B. Huey and how their combination with the work of Dr. Betty Edwards on right-brain thinking in the arts can lead to increased reading speeds and comprehension. Secor’s research was one of the earliest studies that proved that reading by sight alone was not only possible but should be the primary element in the reading process. Edwards’ research focused on teaching students how to seeing the world the way artists do and organizing elements into pleasing compositions. The work they accomplished in their fields was significant and unique because it required them to go outside of their areas of expertise in order to make progress in the reading methods used in English literacy.

As Chapter 2 shows, Secor’s and Edwards’ work may not be a part of the mainstream literature on literacy, but there is precedent for them in this study because they highlight reading methods outside the realm of phonics based reading systems and their affect on increasing reading speed and comprehension.

My exploration of alternative reading methods uses the conclusions regarding Secor, Huey and Edwards to substantiate my belief that English literacy can be achieved through methods that place the element of sight as a higher priority in the reading process. In Chapter 3 I show that reading by sight works by utilizing exercises that aid in breaking the habit of employing the auditory or articulatory element in the reading process. My methodology is based on models provided by Huey and Edwards who made breakthroughs in literacy by examining the issue from multiple viewpoints and thus developing unorthodox answers and making significant progress in the study of reading process.

In Chapter 4 I show that the opportunity for combining alternative reading methods with studies in right brain thinking has been overlooked, or left out because of misconceptions surrounding alternative reading methods. These include the belief that reading at accelerated rates leads to decreased comprehension, which is unfortunate, because it is the opposite that is true in that there is a direct correlation between reading rate and comprehension; the faster the reading rate, the higher the comprehension.

Finally, I review how my inquiry into developing new reading methods sheds light on the ways in which shifting perception, from left-brain thinking to right-brain thinking, can help cultivate new ways to acquire literacy in English other than through the means of phonics based systems. Utilizing these techniques will increase the rate at which people are able to communicate with one another through text as well as raise the standard for English literacy across the board.

AdviserKaren Schiler
SchoolNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsLanguage arts; Reading instruction; Language
Publication Number1492959

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