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Teaching Reading Skills
Reading within the classroom takes many forms, but is usually used as how of introducing grammar or vocabulary items. The ‘teaching’ of reading has found its way into many classes, but often just in terms of teaching (or practicing) techniques like skimming and scanning. In some classes, students are asked to read aloud, turning what's fundamentally a personal receptive activity into a more public and production-orientated activity. this sort of reading is usually decried as not being realistic (i.e. not what we neutralize in real life). However, that isn’t really the case as there are often instances in real-world once we read things bent one another (bedtime reading to children, reading a brief article out at the table, reading a menu at a restaurant – for instance, once we find something interesting or once we want to debate what we'd eat or drink).
Another thing we must remember is that a lot of people claim that they are doing not read much in their own language. In fact, this isn’t really the case. It’s simply that the majority of people equate reading with reading novels and long texts, whereas we spend tons of our time reading in our L1 (first language) – we read instructions, recipes, messages (especially text messages), emails, information about what’s on TV, etc.
So, for whatever reason and in whatever way we ‘do’ reading within the class, reading isn't uncommon. But what exactly is reading?
What is reading?
At the foremost basic level reading is that the recognition of words. From simple recognition of the individual letters and the way these letters form a specific word to what each word means not just on a private level, but as a part of a text. In English, as in many other languages, different combinations of equivalent letters are often wont to form different words with completely different meanings. So, the letters t c a can make a cat (an animal that goes miaow), and act (which features a number of meanings from doing something to behave in certain ways, to perform during a play or film). Recognition of the particular word isn't enough on its own to constitute reading.
Understanding what we are reading is that the key and is certainly the most point of teaching during a class. It’s not much good if our students simply stare at a text and say ‘Well, I don’t know it , but it's nice!’ However, understanding a text is sort of a posh issue.
Why can we read?
There are a variety of reasons why we read and this may often influence what we read and the way we read it. we'd read for pleasure. during this case, it's presumably that we'll be reading a book of some sort, maybe a completely unique, or perhaps a poem. We could even be reading the lyrics to a song and our reasons for reading it's going to be slightly more complex than simply for pleasure. We might be reading it because we've heard the song, but didn’t quite catch the words. Or perhaps our youngsters are taking note of it, but we are worried that a number of the lyrics won't be suitable. Or perhaps we would like to be ready to sing then we’re trying to find out the words (maybe so we will impress our friends).
In other words, there could be multiple reasons why someone might read a text. But understanding the aim may be a key factor when it involves teaching. Why we are reading something will make a difference to how we read it, and in what depth. So, a mother checking whether the lyrics of a song are suitable for her children to listen to will presumably be rummaging through the text for particular words or phrases she thinks are inappropriate. On the opposite hand, someone trying to find out the lyrics by memory will probably read equivalent lines a variety of times (and may even read them aloud to undertake and reinforce the words).
We must also bear in mind the aim of the text from the writer’s point of view. Texts don’t exist during a vacuum; somebody wrote the text and that they had a reason for doing so. It might be that the writer’s and therefore the reader’s reasons are equivalent, or similar. But it's equally possible that the 2 have different purposes. the author features a message they need to convey and that they encode this message within the words and elegance they choose. The reader then tries to decode the message by reading equivalent words. This encoding and decoding don’t simply exist on the extent of meaning, but also on the extent of why the text was written.
Does reading in English differ from L1 reading?
At first glance, the question seems rather silly. Of course, reading isn’t different, whatever language you're reading in. The text could be written employing a different alphabet or character, it'd be written from right to left, or bottom to top, but fundamentally equivalent processes are happening. Well, at one level this is often certainly true, but it's going to rather be that we aren't really conscious or conscious of how we are reading in our own language. Reading was a skill we developed as we grew up and as we became familiar with different types of text. Once we start seeing these texts in a foreign language we are unable to decode the message. the matter is perhaps not that we aren't using the right techniques, but that we are unable to recognize the words and meaning. This causes us an enormous problem.
The problem is that we start to panic. We start to undertake and use different techniques and methods to know the text. We start to read every word in a way that we wouldn’t if the text was in our L1. We start to specialize in aspects of the text, like construction, something we probably wouldn’t do if it had been in our L1. By doing this we discover reading difficult and that we become frustrated. So, it'd not be that reading is inherently different between L1 and L2, but that doesn’t negate the very fact that we probably need to teach (and relearn) all the strategies we already employ when reading a text in L1.
How does this impact our classroom teaching?
When we are teaching in school we've to start by asking ourselves a series of questions so as to form the lesson as effectively as possible. it's not ok to only hand the scholars a text with a group of questions, ask them to read the text and answer the questions and think that we are literally teaching them something. Any learning that takes place in such a lesson is going to be incidental and not due to the teaching.
So, planning our reading a lesson is important, which we got to confirm that our aims are clear and that the text and tasks are appropriate. In many cases, we will relate our inquiries to what we neutralize real world with the sort of text we elect. In other words, what can we read in real-life situations? Why can we read these texts? what's the aim of the author and of the reader (us during this case)? How can we read the text so as to urge what we'd like from it?
Let’s have a glance at a few examples.
Who wrote the text? Someone who had the knowledge and needs us to understand certain information, like time, so as to permit us to travel.
What is the aim of the text? to offer (travel) information, e.g. time, places, etc.
How can we read the text? We probably scan through it trying to find specific information that's predetermined, i.e. I’m in X. I would like to travel to Y. I would like to go away at W and/or I would like to reach Z.
So once we teach the way to read the text in school we would like to undertake and replicate the maximum amount of the important situation as possible. Firstly we'd like to offer the scholars information on where they're, what their destination is, etc. We can also want to focus their attention on the context and that we could use a brief listening test where someone is doing exactly what they're going to do – trying to seek out their train. Finally, we will give them a replica of the timetable and a brief deadline during which to seek out the relevant information.
A postcard from a friend:
Who wrote the text? a lover.
Why did they write it? to mention where they were and tell us a touch bit about their holiday.
Why are we reading it? Because we would like to understand how they're.
How can we read it? Quickly initially. We almost certainly predict words before we read them, especially as there are some conventions to a postcard. for instance, We’re having a … As we read the stem sentence we start to predict the top and we’re likely to settle on an exquisite time or lovely time or something similar. If our friend has written a terrible time then we almost certainly reread it because it doesn’t conform to our expectations.
The way we read the texts is different because the aim is different. The strategies we employ are designed to urge the knowledge we would like from the text in the best way. it's not simply a matter of skimming or scanning, but a group of much more complex things. For the timetable, we are using some top-down strategies. we all know where we are, where we would like to travel, and when. We’re not really trying to seek out out any new information, but simply trying to verify whether what we would like to try to do is feasible. On the opposite hand, within the second text, we may know our friend has gone on holiday and that we may even know where, but hopefully, the remainder of the knowledge is new to us – although not too filled with surprises (and fitting the conventions expected).
Therefore, within the classroom, we'd like to mirror these real-life texts and methods. we'd like to assist our students to use the proper approaches to reading albeit the language is new or difficult. to try to do this we'd like to ask questions and promote awareness, and not simply employ basic comprehension questions that always specialize in language instead of on the skill of reading.
Some practical ideas:
1. What’s the word?
Choose a text (it doesn’t need to be long) and replica it out onto the blackboard. Either blank out the words you would like students to predict by covering them with pieces of paper or type it out therefore the words you would like your students to guess always begin a line, so you'll reveal the text line by line. Display the text and have students read it and predict the words. they will do that either by writing the words down, whispering them to a partner, or shouting out their guesses. After each guess, reveal the right word. there's no got to check what percentage of students got it right as you'll be ready to see by their reactions.
Rationale: As we saw within the example of the postcard, predicting subsequent words or phrases may be a typical strategy employed once we read certain texts. In many cases, when students are reading a far-off language, they stop predicting and begin reading every word and this slows them down. Developing predicting skills enables students to become more confident in their ability to read.
2. What does it mean?
Choose a text (this might be one from the coursebook). Type it out but change a number of the words into nonsense words. Ask students to read the text and compute the meaning of the nonsense words. they could want to start out by understanding what a part of speech the words are – noun, verb, adjective, preposition, etc. Then, rereading the road round the word, they struggle and compute the context.
You can do that sort of exercise with an entire nonsense text, for instance, a poem like Jabberwocky by Carroll. Give students the primary verse of the poem and ask them to read it. Then ask them the subsequent questions:
What were the toves like? (Answer: slithy)
What did they do? (Answer: gyre and gimble)
Where? (Answer: within the wabe)
Who or what were mimsy? (Answer: the borogoves)
What did the mome raths do? (Answer: outgrabe)
Rationale: At an initial glance, students will say ‘I can’t do this!’ but after focusing a touch they're going to realize that they will. The lesson is that it's possible to decode things and make some sense out of them through our knowledge of the structure of language. Students will learn that they are doing not got to understand every word, which if they actually need to know a word they have to seem at it in context.
3. What’s the purpose? – One
Choose a variety of short texts; they might be just a few words long. Put students in pairs and provides them a replica of the texts. Ask them to read all and answer the subsequent questions:
Where would you read/see such a text?
What quite a text is it?
What does it mean?
What are the keywords or phrases?
Texts might be things like:
Wash with similar colors at 40ºC.
Gone to lunch. Back in 20!
Dear Sir / Madam, I’m writing to you to complain about…
Add the 2 eggs and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Rationale: Identifying the sort of text and where you would possibly read it supplies the reader with some context. From this context the reader can guess what a number of the text are going to be about – top-down – then looking more closely at the words can fine-tune the meaning – bottom-up. This mirrors what we neutralize real world once we read such texts.
4. What’s the purpose? – Two
Choose three different text types like a timetable, a group of instructions for an electrical appliance like an iron, hairdryer, DVD recorder, and a letter. Give the scholars the three texts and ask them to figure in pairs and answer the subsequent questions:
What quite a text is it?
Who wrote it and why (purpose)?
How are you able to tell what quiet text it is?
How would you read each text?
Rationale: this is often an extended version of the previous activity. additionally, to the aims from the last activity, there's also the added angle of brooding about how they (the student) would read the text. brooding about reading, instead of just answering comprehension questions, enables our students to become better readers and, ultimately, to settle on the simplest strategies for reading different types of text.