In the United States, the majority of people know how to read and write. Unfortunately, there is a great disparity in how well each person is able to do so, especially in light of studies that state the average reading level is between the 8th and 9th grade. The level of understanding what is written is probably the most important key part of comprehension. While individuals may be able to read a word, there is ample evidence to prove that same individual may not understand what the word means, no do they fully comprehend what actually is being explained or what the main focus is being presented.
By not understanding or demonstrating an understanding of the relationship of complex concepts, they are unable to identify specific problem(s) or integrate complex ideas. The inaccurately due to poor comprehension results in insufficient or irrelevant information, causes misinterpretations, and incorrectly evaluates that information, thus leaving them with an inaccurate perspective that is then passed on to others. This inconsistency leads to ideas that are presented in a fragmented manner with no clear or coherent order and makes any conclusion is inaccurate, incomplete, illogical, and inconsistent with evidence presented.
Perception also has a great deal of importance when it comes to reading or even looking at a photograph. Although it is said that a photograph is worth a thousand words, depending on the perception of the person looking at it and understanding the context in which the photograph was taken can result in several different explanations – each of which may be worth a thousand words each. In actuality, photographs can be the most deceiving of any media used and are often used by individuals and groups to promote a certain personally held agenda.
Every day comments are made by those who have no idea what they are talking about and apparently do so in an attempt to make others believe they are smart and intelligent. For example, the illiterate and inerrant worker is far less able to understand and comprehend said rocket science and would be a fool to try to explain that to the people who are sending rockets into space every day. Unfortunately, there are those individuals who will indeed attempt, albeit foolishly, to do so.
People who raise and train animals are often castigated by members of the general public who have never physically seen or touched a single farm or show animal in person, except on the Internet, television, and videos or in a newspaper, book or magazine. Although they may have deeply held beliefs on how a particular animal is treated or what the purpose of the animal is, not a single one of them has ever done had the opportunity to actually have “hands on” experience. Hence, they speak with idiocy and thoughtlessness in their minds and with not a wit of wisdom or an ounce of common sense to be found.
Overall comprehension is ruled by vocabulary, perception, and context. It is also governed by personally held knowledge or expertise by the individual. Word knowledge is the foundation of understanding and comprehending something written. The ability to understand only isolated sections or a few phrases is not comprehension and can totally change the meaning that is being imparted to the reader, often with – if not disastrous results – certainly an incomplete or false understanding that obscures or hides the actual meaning of the written words.
Reading articles that deal with complex concepts or theoretical perceptions does not necessary mean one has to be a rocket scientist; however, a large working vocabulary where one understands what a word means or its several meanings will raise the level of comprehension. Comprehension is not the ability to memorize and “parrot” to others what has been written, but the ability to understand and learn from what you read. There is a lot of truth and much to be gained by increasing your “word power” through reading, using dictionaries, and understanding the concept being described whether it is how to plant a garden or how microbiology may be beneficial for health related topics.
Reading comprehension, Wikipedia.com, November 26, 2009
Understanding Reading Comprehension, The Literacy Company
Vocabulary Instruction and Reading Comprehension. ERIC Digest, by Carl B. Smith, 1997