We have already mentioned various times that when reading it is absolutely necessary to understand the message comprised in the text. But reading is also a type of wordless dialogue, from thought to thought, between the reader and an interlocutor who is present only intellectually, through his own work, through the book.
This is the magical power of reading: it makes it possible for our thought to become intertwined with other ways of thinking, to receive more profound messages, to analyze, evaluate and store them at different levels of comprehension.
Author need to signal the following levels of comprehension for any type of message:
– Level zero: reading means simply transforming written symbols in phonetic ones. Letters and words are perfectly identified, but not the meaning. Comprehension is practically zero.
– Literal level: this is an elementary degree of reading, characterized by a superficial understanding of the message that the author tries to convey. Most primary school students fail to master this literal level of understanding a message, and this represents the main reason behind school failure and dropout. It is difficult for the student to reach, understand and dominate the basic ideas of a text, so that, for him, learning and taking classes are difficult and boring tasks.
The mechanical learning they finally employ, in which they simply memorize the information, makes them hate study and avoid it or give up on school altogether.
– Profound level: this reading involves ideas and contents more than just words, which allows the reader to reach the author’s way of thinking, catch and dominate it completely, and without going beyond it, without transcending it entirely.
– Critical level: this level of comprehension touches the profound and symbolic level, passing from mere facts or ideas to their consequences.
In evaluating the text, the reader clearly identifies the facts, as well as the opinions, comments and main conclusions that different authors can reach based on the given facts. The reader must have some previous knowledge about the topic of study, that will function as a valid reference, a basis on which he can make objective judgments. He must be able to go beyond the text, see further than the written form.
– Literary level. This level of comprehension, characteristic for educated readers, wants to analyze and discover the beauty of the language, the quality of the style, the richness of expression, whether the genre is doctrinal, satirical, humoristic, etc. rather than go deep in the actual contents of the text.
Obviously, a student who wishes to obtain excellent results in study, has to work on a daily basis, taking his reading to levels of profound critical comprehension, and, if possible, to a literary or aesthetic level.