WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPREHENSION AND READING SKILL?
The day when I went school for my son’s admission for preparatory class in a very reputed school, I met the principal who was quite experienced and knowledgeable. She explained me that time how important reading and comprehension for a child education. Comprehension is the master key of success in academics, but the next step after reading.
Often, the teaching of reading is treated as though it is so inextricably tied with the teaching of comprehension that the two are almost synonymous. Yet in reality, comprehension and reading are two very different skills, which should not be confused.
Whilst ‘reading’ involves translating text into sounds or spoken words, ‘comprehension’ involves deriving meaning from those words.
Both reading skills and comprehension skills are essential if a child is to be able to understand a text, but the reading must come first. A child cannot understand a text if he or she cannot identify the written words. It is for this reason that we should concentrate on teaching reading first. It is also suggested that we should develop understanding of written words simultaneously.
Thus, reading skills should not be learnt in isolation from comprehension skills. There is little point in being able to read a passage that one cannot understand. For this reason, the children’s comprehension skills should be developed through stories and poems, and through speaking and listening activities at the same time as they are being taught decoding skills. Once a child has fluency in the reading, comprehension becomes the greater focus.