Monday, March 7, 2011

Complex Cognitive Process of Decoding Symbols A.K.A. Reading


Complex Cognitive Process of Decoding Symbols
A.K.A. Reading

            I love books. I especially love my books. I love books so much that through the years I have amassed an extensive personal home library. My library fills two bookcases in my bedroom, two bookcases in my office, a huge bookcase in a spare bedroom and two very tall bookcases in the basement. My books overflow onto the floor where they are neatly lined up all along the walls of my office then across to the open shelves where books are two to three deep and two high. I have books under my bed, in my nightstand, under my dresser, in my car and in my clothes closet. Many of my books provided me with hours of escape into their pages and many of my books have yet to be explored … I have a lot of books I have not read … yet.
            Each time I buy a book it is with good intention of consuming the words within it and absorbing knowledge or receiving affirmations of my own beliefs or escaping into someone else’s world.  I buy books that are recommended to me. I buy books that look interesting. I buy books that are required for my continuing education course work. I buy books because a friend or a friend of a friend is the author. And, I can say I buy books because the act of buying a book brings me joy. I feel good when I receive a new book in the mail. I get excited when I am standing in a bookstore looking around at all the possibilities waiting for me. I buy books because it is one of my ways of feeling good in a world that at times does not feel so good. The written word conveys stories that otherwise would be lost and the written word transmits through symbols knowledge that I otherwise would not receive. It would be an under statement to suggest that I love to read, I love to read and re-read my books.  Books are just plain cool. 
            As I dusted my books in preparation for a gathering at our home I became overwhelmed with awareness of books I have yet to explore. As I carefully dusted the bindings and top edges of my books pages I thought about the definition of the word reading. I never looked up the meaning of the word read before because I know how to read! But, if I were to tell someone what reading was I found that I fell short in how to describe this beautiful gift we can be taught to possess.
So, I went straight to my favorite source. Using my computer I pulled up Wikipedia and typed in reading; this is what I discovered.

          

'Reading' is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols for the intention of constructing or deriving meaning (reading comprehension). It is the mastery of basic cognitive processes to the point where they are automatic so that attention is freed for the analysis of meaning.
Reading is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. Like all language, it is a complex interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge, experiences, attitude, and language community which is culturally and socially situated. The reading process requires continuous practices, development, and refinement.
Readers use a variety of reading strategies to assist with decoding (to translate symbols into sounds or visual representations of speech) and comprehension. Readers may use morpheme, semantics, syntax and context clues to identify the meaning of unknown words. Readers integrate the words they have read into their existing framework of knowledge or schema (schemata theory).
Other types of reading are not speech based writing systems, such as music notation or pictograms. The common link is the interpretation of symbols to extract the meaning from the visual notations.(1)




                  Well, now I can say I not only know how to read English I now truly know the meaning of the word read. And reading revealed this beautiful piece of information to me. I am in awe. Now, back to my books. As I stated I own many books that I have not even cracked open yet. I feel like I need to be on one of those crazy reality shows and my show could be all about buying books with intentions of reading them but never doing so. I have unread books because I let life and all its dramas distract me. I have let apathy replace my passion and I am so done with apathy that I am striking out that word apathy in my personal vocabulary. I decided to challenge myself. I resolved to put some fuel on my reading embers. I am choosing to fan my flames of desire and love of reading. I am making a list of every book I own that I have not read and I will blog about this adventure of mine. My book list will have no special priority or agenda. I am going to start in my bedroom and then work my way through my house (and car!) and list every title of every book I own that is in waiting. I will blog about each book I read and share with everyone my thoughts and my excitement of accomplishing what I have wanted to do for so long. Most of my books are about spirituality and there are some books that I know I bought years ago but have forgotten so I really don’t know in this moment what titles are going to be on my list. I am excited.
            Maybe, if you follow this blog you will catch the bug of inspiration and tackle something you have a passion for but have let life and its adventures distract you from doing what you love. That’s my story and I am changing it.

I also discovered that books can be more than a conveyor or thoughts. Books can be turned into works of art. 

Treat yourself and follow this link:
Hugs,
Maryanne 





1I often use Wikipedia to look up information. I find the experience very enjoyable and much preferred to on-line dictionaries that are laden with ads.  Here is the link to the Wiki page I quoted from. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_%28process%29