It is an established fact that our beliefs about what we teach influence the way we teach. That is why it is important that we, as reading educators, have a good understanding of what reading is. Our idea of reading will influence the methods we use to teach it; and this will, in turn, affect the attitude children have toward reading and the extent to which they become good readers. From our work with parents, teachers and educators in Nigeria, we have come to realize that there are misconceptions about what
the reading process is and about what should be the purpose of reading instruction. For example, one popular notion of reading is that reading is pronunciation. Many teachers have the mistaken idea that once they can get their children to pronounce the words in their class texts and recite them fluently, the pupils know how to read. To many teachers the English lesson and the reading lesson are one and the same thing. As a result, many children learn to call words without understanding. Teachers and parents
are surprised that, although their children can pronounce words in a passage fluently, they have difficulty making sense of the passage. This has, perhaps, led to the unfortunate attempt to separate reading from comprehension. That is, there is the misconception that reading does not necessarily involve understanding although comprehension does. But the truth is that reading and comprehension mean the same thing. We are not reading unless we are comprehending. Reading’ that does not involve
understanding is simply ‘barking at print’.