A brief theoretical review Teaching reading skills in English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
Basic questions (for discussion) • What is reading? • Should reading be taught in the EFL classroom? Why? • How much attention should be devoted to the teaching of reading in EFL? • Is it possible to teach reading skills communicatively?
Purpose of reading Fluent reading It is… • Rapid • Efficient • Interactive • Strategic • Flexible • Evaluating • Purposeful • Comprehending • Linguistic To search for meaning To skim quickly To learn from texts To integrate information To write To critique texts To comprehend
Models of reading Metaphorical • Bottom-up (field dependent) • Top-down (field independent) • interactive Specific • Psychological guessing game • Interactive compensatory • Word recognition • Single view
The object of enquiry: reading Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension. The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader uses knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine what that meaning is.
The knowledge of the reader includes… Linguistic (grammatical) competence Discourse competence Sociolinguistic competence Strategic competence Canale and Swain (1980)
Integrating reading strategies Teaching reading strategies should not an add-on, but rather an integral part of the use of reading activities in the language classroom. Teachers should help their students become effective readers by teaching them how to use strategies before, during, and after reading.
Before reading: • Plan for the reading task. • Set a purpose or decide in advance what to read for. • Decide if more linguistic or background knowledge is needed. • Determine whether to enter the text from the top down (attend to the overall. meaning) or from the bottom up (focus on the words and phrases). After reading: • Evaluate comprehension and strategy use. • Evaluate comprehension in a particular task or area. • Evaluate overall progress in reading and in particular types of reading tasks. • Decide if the strategies used were appropriate for the purpose and for the task. • Modify strategies if necessary. • During and after reading: • Monitor comprehension. • Verify predictions and check for inaccurate guesses. • Decide what is and is not important to understand. • Reread to check comprehension. • Ask for help.
Teachers want to produce students who, even if they do not have complete control of the grammar or an extensive lexicon, can fend for themselves in communication situations. In the case of reading, this means producing students who can use reading strategies to maximize their comprehension of texts, identify relevant and non-relevant information, and go beyond than word-by-word comprehension. Role of the teacher in the learning of reading skills
Role of the teacher in the learning of reading skills • Teachers… • develop students' awareness of the reading process and reading strategies by asking students to think and talk about how they read in their native language. • allow students to practice the full repertoire of reading strategies by using authentic reading tasks. They encourage students to read to learn (and have an authentic purpose for reading) by giving students some choice of reading material. • when working with reading tasks in class, show students the strategies that will work best for the reading purpose and the type of text. They explain how and why students should use the strategies. • develop students' awareness of the reading process and reading strategies by asking students to think and talk about how they read even, possibly, in their native language.
Role of the teacher in the learning of reading skills • Teachers also… • have students practice reading strategies in class and ask them to practice outside of class in their reading assignments. They encourage students to be conscious of what they're doing while they complete reading assignments. • encourage students to evaluate their comprehension and self-report their use of strategies. They build comprehension checks into in-class and out-of-class reading assignments, and periodically review how and when to use particular strategies. • encourage the development of reading skills and the use of reading strategies by using the target language to convey instructions and course-related information in written form: office hours, homework assignments, test contents. • do not assume that students will transfer strategy use from one task to another. They explicitly mention how a particular strategy can be used in a different type of reading task or with another skill.
Role of the teacher in the learning of reading skills By raising students' awareness of reading as a skill that requires active engagement, and by explicitly teaching reading strategies, teachers help their students develop both the ability and the confidence to handle communication situations they may encounter beyond the classroom. In this way they give their students the foundation for communicative competence in the new language.
Some reading strategies • Previewing: reviewing titles, section headings, and photo captions to get a sense of the structure and content of a reading selection. • Predicting: using knowledge of the subject matter to make predictions about content and vocabulary and check comprehension; using knowledge of the text type and purpose to make predictions about discourse structure; using knowledge about the author to make predictions about writing style, vocabulary, and content. • Skimming and scanning: using a quick survey of the text to get the main idea, identify text structure, confirm or question predictions. • Guessing meaning from context: using prior knowledge and the ideas in the text as clues to the meanings of unknown words, instead of stopping to look them up • Paraphrasing: stopping at the end of a section to check comprehension by restating the information and ideas in the text.
Some more reading strategies • Using vocabulary • Guessing unknown or nonsense words • Awareness of context • Cognates • Inflections and derivations (morphology) • Synonyms, antonyms, etc. • Skipping unknown words • Making inferences • Finding topics • Understanding main ideas • Identifying patterns of organization • Summarizing
Reading as part of the EFL learning process Reading to learn the language: reading material is language input. By giving students a variety of materials to read, teachers provide multiple opportunities for students to absorb vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and discourse structure as they occur in authentic contexts. Students thus gain a more complete picture of the ways in which the elements of the language work together to convey meaning. Reading for content information: students' purpose for reading in their native language is often to obtain information about a subject they are studying, and this purpose can be useful in the language learning classroom as well. Reading for content information in the language classroom gives students both authentic reading material and an authentic purpose for reading.
Reading as part of the EFL learning process Reading for cultural knowledge and awareness: reading everyday materials that are designed for native speakers (or for a wider audience) can give students insight into the lifestyles and worldviews of the people whose language they are studying. When students have access to newspapers, magazines, and Web sites, they are exposed to culture in all its variety, and monolithic cultural stereotypes begin to break down.
Activity 1 The procedure is quite simple. First, you arrange the items in separate piles. Of course, one pile is may be sufficient/ depending on how much there is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack of facilities, that is the next step: otherwise, you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo things. That is, it is better to do too few things at once than too many. In the short run, this may not seem important, but complications can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well. At first, the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just another facet of life. It is difficult to foresee any end to the necessity of this task in the immediate future, but, then, one never can tell. After the procedure is completed, one arranges the materials into different groups again. Then they can be put into their appropriate places. Eventually, they will be used once more, and the whole cycle will then have to be repeated. However, that is part of life.
Activity 2 Some students of English as a Second Language do not want to read novels. Novels are not true, so these students think that they cannot learn from them. But students can learn a lot from reading novels. They can learn how to use English in everyday life. Reading novels and stories is very important for ESL students. The topic is…
Activity 3 The quirty charns knagged the forik fobes chirpily. Therefore, the fobes tored the charns. They also renked the birry boke. Use full sentences to answer the following questions. 1 What knagged chirpily? 2. What did the quirty charns do? 3. How did they do it? 4. How did the forik fobes react? 5. Did the forik fobes do anything else? 6. What did they do? 7. Who renked the birry boke? 8. In your Opinion, did the birry boke deserve it? Why? 9. Why did the fobes tore the charns? 10. Discuss the reason for the fobes' behavior.
References Day, R. R. and Bamford, J. (1998). Extensive reading in the second language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Grabe, W. (2009) Reading in a second language. Moving from theory to practice. New York: Cambridge University Press. Grabe, W. and Stoller, F. (2002) Teaching and researching reading. London: Longman. Farstrup, A., and Samuels, J. (2002). Effective Practices for Developing Reading Comprehension.What research has to say about Reading Instruction. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Halliday, M.A.K. (1979). On the meaning potential. Language, vol. 72, No. 210. Washington: Linguistic Society of America. Nuttal, C. (1982). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. London: Heinemann Educational Books. National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). (n.d.). The essentials of language teaching. Retrieved: April 23, 2007 from http://nclrc.org/essentials. Wilkinson, L. (1999). An introduction to the explicit teaching of reading’. In J. Hancock (Ed.) The explicit teaching of reading (p. 112). New York: Columbia University Press.