Society of African Journal Editors

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Comprehension or comprehending? Using Critical Language Awareness and interactive reading theory to teach learners to interact with texts

Authors: Stella Granville

Journal: Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

This paper presents a critique of current approaches to the teaching of reading comprehension in South African classrooms. It is argued that the genre of the school reading comprehension exercise is a prime inculcator of thoughtless and non-interactive reading practices. Doing 'a comprehension' (the word is often nominalised in this manner) and answering the comprehension questions often 'counts as' reading and substitutes for other types of reading activity, thus obscuring the active process of comprehending. A number of alternative approaches, drawing on interactive and critical reading theories, will be described. (S/ern Af Linguistics & Applied Language Stud: 2001 19(1&2): 13-21)