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The Bottom Up Theory of Reading

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 996
  • Category: Reading

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Reading is a dynamic, complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning. It involves the bringing of meaning to and the getting of meaning from the printed page. It is developed based on the background, the experiences and as well as the emotions each child possesses. The process of reading looks at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols such as; letters, punctuation marks and spaces while we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraph that communicate something to us.

It is no doubt, that reading can be silent or aloud. It is a receptive skill through it we receive information. In fact, it also requires the skill of speaking, that we can pronounce the words that we read. Thus, it is referred to as the third language skill that we learn. It is a productive skill which allows us to both receive information and transmit it.

Reading entails different theories that help to encourage and promote reading in schools. Just like teaching methodology, reading theory has their shifts and transitions. It is based on the control of the manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending a text.

The theories of reading is ‘inclusive of the tradition view’, according to date etc. al. (1991), reading in the traditional view allows novice readers to acquire a set of hierarchically ordered sub-skills that sequentially build toward comprehension ability. Having mastered these skills readers are viewed as experts who comprehend what they read. Readers are passive recipients of information in the text. Meaning resides in the text and the reader has to reproduce meaning.

According to Nunan (1991), reading in this view is basically a matter of decoding a series of written symbols into their aural equivalents in the guest for making sense of the text. He referred to this process as the ‘Bottom-up ‘view of reading. While mc Carty (1999) has called this view the ‘outside -in’ processing, referring to the idea that meaning exist in the printed page and is interpreted by the reader then taken in. This model of reading has almost always been under attack as being insufficient and defective for the main reason that it relies on the formal features of the language, mainly words and structure bottom- up theory hypothesize that learning the parts of language (letters) to understanding whole text (meaning). Much like solving a jigsaw puzzle, bottom-up models of the reading process say that the reading is solved by beginning with an examination of each piece of the puzzle and then putting pieces together to make a picture.

Gough (1972) has described this model of reading as a sequential or serial mental process. sound, then piece the sounds together to form individual words, then piece the word together to arrive at an understanding of the author’s written message. The Bottom up theory enables the reader to move from Readers according to Gough, begin by translating the parts of written language (letters) into speech the level of the unknown to the known. This theory starts at the bottom which takes the reader through stages, beginning with the letter and sound and going up until the readers to decode the meaning of a text

The Bottom up Theory

Letters and sounds
As a teacher, obtaining such knowledge of how to use the” bottom up” theory by beginning with the teaching of the sub-skills first. This allows me, the teacher to begin the instruction by introducing the letter names and letter sounds. Then I would use pictures or real objects that begin with the particular letter to progress and allow children to name them then begin to associate words to image. On pronouncing whole words, children will then be engaged in constructing simple sentences inclusive of the learnt words built from the previous given letters. On learning to construct simple sentences, children will then be able to read a paragraph. Reading a simple paragraph allows children to be more verse in reading. Therefore I as the teacher will engage children in getting use to prints that are excited, interesting and at their reading level.

On learning to read text, children will now reach the level of understanding the meaning of the text read. so as a teacher I will allow children to see how reading is of great importance and how positive my reading attitudes are.

Based on what is displayed on the ‘bottom up’ theory it is understood that children with good language skills, a wide vocabulary and a well-developed store of background knowledge are essential for a child to become a good successful reader. So therefore it would be wise to assist children with interesting words, sentences, and paragraphs ad texts. Ensure that all story lines or books are appealing to the children’s interests and level of understanding. Even though the bottom-up theories of the reading process explain the decoding part of the reading process rather well, there is certainly more to reading than decoding.

To become readers, students must compare their knowledge and back ground experiences to the text in order to understand the author’s message. Truly, the whole purpose of reading is comprehension. However, it must be confessed that the knowledge of linguistic feature is also necessary for comprehension to take place. Therefore it is necessary that teachers prepare and provide an ideal environment that is conducive for children to learn about literacy. In order to help all children to become readers, teachers must encourage the “language of learning” during conversations and book reading selecting the variety of excellent books. So it is very important that the classroom should have a book center encouraging children to write and read using different prints as a part of their daily activities, children will use reading and writing skills to become excellent readers in society.

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