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Опубликован: 18.11.2015 | Уровень: для всех | Доступ: платный
Лекция 6:

Listening and Reading

PART 2 READING SKILLS

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE READ IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE?

It does not necessarily follow that because students can read in their own language that they will be efficient readers in English. Training in the skills involved in reading must be given, as reading is not an inbuilt skill. It is also not a passive process, contrary to traditional belief. Reading is an active process in which practice in all the sub-skills is vital as no improvement can be effected without guided practice.

When we listen to someone and try to make sense of what they say we use all sorts of clues. When we read, if we read well, we also use clues. We look at the layout and pictures. We go quickly through the text to see how long it is and what it is about. We use the words we know to help us decide the meaning of the words we don’t know. We try to understand the overall meaning. We do this from the time we first begin to read in our own language.

But sometimes, something happens when we start to read in another language. We start to read word by word and we reach for the dictionary all the time. We get stuck on trying to read details instead of trying to find out the overall meaning. In short, we stop using our reading skills.

THE WRITER AND READER

The writer is someone who has something to say through written text to the reader. However, it is important to remember that the writer and reader are not identical and the message intended by the writer may not be the message the reader extracts from the text. Readers bring both knowledge and opinion to what they read. For example, a text may include the following sentence:

He lived his life like a typical bank manager.

Now answer the following questions:

  1. How do bank managers travel to work?
  2. What do they wear to work?
  3. What do they do in the bank?
  4. What time do they finish everyday?

None of the answers to those questions were in that sentence.

The writer’s message comes to us and we interpret it. If we answer the questions in a certain way then we are sharing experience with the writer. We may think we know about bank managers and how they are bywords for respectability and regularity.

But if we think bank managers are crooks who take bribes as a matter of course and have henchmen to kill their enemies then the sentence will mean something very different to us and the answers will be very different.

SELF-CHECK 3:2 3

Read the following paragraph and think about the answers to the questions. Do not use a dictionary.

You are very unlikely to nulp a grizza, because they fozzle at night and not with other grizzas. If you want to see one fozzling for gawls among the loobs, you have to spult nabbly for many hours without making a gank.

  1. What do you think a grizza is?
  2. What do you know about its habits?
  3. What do you think ‘fozzle’ means? And ‘gank?

ANSWERS LATER IN THE MODULE

Don’t let students use the dictionary every time. Make them guess meanings of words from context, as you did in the exercise above. Only after they have guessed can they look up the word. Give them time limits for reading and an easy task so that they do not have time to find every word on the page. Teach them to discuss their reading with their classmates by putting them into reading groups. Teach prediction skills by using texts with pictures and headlines. If students see an article headed: RABBIT SAVES FAMILY IN HOUSE FIRE they should be encouraged to predict / guess the story. Help your students to use the Internet. Do not accept downloaded material in your lessons as ’research’, but only material that has been edited. If a student brings in unedited material, show them how to pick out the information they need.

Good readers:

  • Guess from context
  • Practise at home
  • Get the whole meaning of a text.
  • Read anything (signs, adverts, packets)
  • Enjoy reading and try out new things

TYPES OF READING

A student needs to be able to read on different levels, both extensive, and intensive. Think back to the listening section. The purpose for which the student requires the language determines the particular sub-skills of these types of reading which will be needed. As with listening,

extensive reading is for gist, or general understanding of the passage as a whole. Intensive reading is to find specific details within the text, disregarding the rest.

There are various ways of reading texts; some involve a greater depth of understanding than others. One theory concerns four stages of reading.

The first involves superficial understanding and is used in reading a newspaper or detective story in order to pick out the main points of a story, look for clues etc. The second can be described as 'imaginative understanding' and is used in the study of literature.

If Seamus Heaney says: ‘I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing’ - what is he trying to tell us about his attitude to poetry?

The third can be referred to as 'precise understanding' and is used in all but the most superficial reading - it involves the exact meanings of descriptive words and sentences, and accurate understanding of a text of any type - for example when we read about TEFL theory and try to understand a concept such as ‘schema theory’ in a book or article.

The final stage involves practical understanding in which a student acts upon what he reads. This is something we do with packets and instructions - which button to press to make the TV work or how many pills to take and how often!

In addition to this theory comes 'skimming' - this involves quickly running the eyes over a piece of text in order to ascertain if it is relevant to your needs. A leaflet may come through the letter box for reductions on golf equipment at a local store - you only need about 3 seconds to read ‘golf’ and ‘equipment’ before you bin it as you have never played the game in your life.

Before setting reading tasks for your students, you need to decide what your aim is.

Do you want to train your students to answer questions precisely?

Do you want to increase vocabulary?

Do you want your students to decide if the text is relevant to their needs?

Are you looking at the grammar of certain types of texts?

Do you want the students to act on the information?

Much of this will depend on the nature of the class - are they general English students, University students or Business English students? Where are they now? In their own country or in an English speaking environment?

SELF-CHECK 3:2 4

Look at these three descriptions. Why are they not ‘reading lessons’?

a. In a reading lesson I first ask learners to identify all the unknown words or I identify them before I go into class. I then give them explanations for all the words. I finally ask them to do the reading at home and answer the comprehension questions set in the course book.

b. I believe it is important for learners to be able to read aloud. So I ask each of the students to read a paragraph of the text aloud in the class. While they do this I correct their pronunciation errors. They repeat after each correction. Then I give them a few minutes to answer the comprehension questions. After that, I get the correct answers and we go on to another activity.

c. Well, in a reading lesson I basically start by teaching all the unknown vocabulary. The learners then answer the comprehension questions. Then we check the answers. Finally we do some grammar exercises on an area of grammar that has featured in the written text. I think that texts are a useful way to introduce new language and vocabulary.

COMMENT

a. In this lesson, the teacher is teaching vocabulary and developing the learners’ vocabulary. That is of course if s/he is using good vocabulary techniques that make the new words memorable. However, this teacher is not helping learners to ’unlock’ the text.

b. This lesson is one on pronunciation and perhaps stress. Asking learners to read aloud in this manner can be called ‘barking.’ For example, read the following words aloud: Dak kelp. Do you understand what you have just read? You can read the words and I am almost certain that you have pronounced them correctly but you probably don’t understand what you have read! In reading, being able to say the words is not an essential requirement and it does not imply understanding of the text.

c. This teacher considers a reading lesson to be the same as a vocabulary lesson and especially an opportunity to teach grammar. The teacher has decided to focus on a grammar point after the learners have completed the comprehension questions. Once more the teacher is not treating this as a reading lesson.

All three of the teachers have failed to consider:

1. the features of the text (what makes an advert different from a newspaper article for example),

the form of the text (its paragraphs, how each part links to the next) and

3.how people read texts.

SELF-CHECK 3:2 5

Here is an article from a newspaper.

There follow three lesson transcripts showing teachers using it with a teenage class. Make notes on the focus questions that follow each lesson.

ARTICLE SMOKEY SAVES 10 IN FIRE

A pet rabbit called Smokey saved ten people from a terrible house fire yesterday and is fit and well at the local fire station.

The seven-week-old baby bunny began pounding his feet on the door of his rabbit hutch when he smelt the smoke that was coming from the kitchen of the house at about 4am yesterday.

His owner, Tanya Birch was woken by the noise and was able to escape with her two year old daughter, Heather, picking up the rabbit on the way out of the door. They all got out safely.

Tanya then screamed a warning to other people on the second and third floors. One mother jumped from a second floor window with her son. Firemen were able to rescue a family of five who were trapped on the third floor.

Tanya said: ‘We owe our lives to Smokey. If he hadn’t woken me up, we would have been trapped by the smoke. I’m going to buy him some extra special carrots this week.’

It is thought that the fire, in the village of Watermeet near Cambridge, was caused by an electrical problem with a heater that was left on overnight in the kitchen. Firemen are investigating.

Вадим Бондарь
Вадим Бондарь
Как найти и выбрать тьютора?
Ирина Суханова
Ирина Суханова
здравствуйте! я прохожу курс учитель англ. языка. я отправила тест №1, как долго его будут проверять.
Юлия Дорохова
Юлия Дорохова
Россия, г.Томск
Елена Русанова
Елена Русанова
Россия, Калининград