Teaching peculiarities in different kind of reading at the foreign language lesson

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Иностранные языки и языкознание


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Chapter 1. Theoretical background of reading

1.1 The history of reading

1.2 Definitions of reading

1.3 Methods of reading

1.4 Pedagogical Stages of reading

Chapter 2. Analysis of the data received

2.1 Readability

2.2 Reading as a process

2.3 Guided matrix

2.4 Assessing reading outcomes




The theme of Course Paper is «Teaching peculiarities in different kind of reading at the foreign language lesson». The reason why we choose this theme is that, as a future English language teacher I must know one of the most important language skills and how reading can improve learning the foreign language.

The aim is:

1 how reading can influence on learning the foreign language

As we know reading is a receptive skill. The main obvious differences between reading and listening are to do with fact that, people read at different speeds and in different ways. Where a recording takes a definite length of time to play through, in a reading activity the student can control the speed of their work and what they’re looking at. There many reasons why getting students to read English texts, and teach them how to read is an important part of the teachers job.

The objectives are:

1) In the first place, many of them want to be able to read texts in English, either for their careers, for study purposes or simple just for pleasure.

2) Reading text is also provide good models for English writing.

3) Also provide opportunity to study language.

4) Good reading texts can introduce interesting topics, stimulate discussion, motivate students and make lesson interesting.

This course paper includes only the facts which have been verified. From this course paper I can find a lot of new information for myself and we think it will be helpful on teaching the students.

english reading book matrix

Chapter 1. Historical background of reading

1.1 History of reading

The history of reading dates back to the invention of writing during the 4th millennium BC. Although reading print text is now an important way for the general population to access information, this has not always been the case. With some exceptions, only a small percentage of the population in many countries was considered literate before the Industrial Revolution. Some of the pre-modern societies with generally high literacy rates included classical Athens and the Islamic Caliphate.

Scholars assume that reading aloud (Latin clare legere) was the more common practice in antiquity, and that reading silently (legere tacite or legere sibi) was unusual. In his Confessions, Saint Augustine remarks on Saint Ambrose’s unusual habit of reading silently in the 4th century AD.

Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning (reading comprehension). It is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. Like all language, it is a complex interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge, experiences, attitude, and language community which is culturally and socially situated.

Readers use a variety of reading strategies to assist with decoding (to translate symbols into sounds or visual representations of speech) and comprehension. Readers may use morpheme, semantics, syntax and context clues to identify the meaning of unknown words. Readers integrate the words they have read into their existing framework of knowledge or schema (schemata theory). Other types of reading are not speech based writing systems, such as music notation or pictograms. The common link is the interpretation of symbols to extract the meaning from the visual notations.

1.2 Definitions of reading

Among the many definitions of reading that have arisen in recent decades, three prominent ideas emerge as most critical for understanding what «learning to read» means:

· Reading is a process undertaken to reduce uncertainty about meanings a text conveys.

· The process results from a negotiation of meaning between the text and its reader.

· The knowledge, expectations, and strategies a reader uses to uncover textual meaning all play decisive roles way the reader negotiates with the text’s meaning.

Reading does not draw on one kind of cognitive skill, nor does it have a straightforward outcome--most texts are understood in different ways by different readers.

Major predictors of an individual’s ability to read both alphabetic and nonalphabetic scripts are phonological awareness, rapid automatized naming and verbal IQ.

Both the Lexical and the Sub-lexical cognitive processes contribute to how we learn to read.

Sub-lexical reading

Sub-lexical reading, involves teaching reading by associating characters or groups of characters with sounds or by using Phonics or Synthetic phonics learning and teaching methodology. Sometimes argued to be in competition with whole language methods.

Lexical reading

Lexical reading involves acquiring words or phrases without attention to the characters or groups of characters that compose them or by using Whole language learning and teaching methodology. Sometimes argued to be in competition with Phonics and Synthetic phonics methods, and that the whole language approach tends to impair learning how to spell.

Learning to read in a second language, especially in adulthood, may be a different process than learning to read a native language in childhood. There are cases of very young children learning to read without having been taught. Such was the case with Truman Capote who reportedly taught himself to read and write at the age of five. There are also accounts of people who taught themselves to read by comparing street signs or Biblical passages to speech. The novelist Nicholas Delbanco taught himself to read at age six during a transatlantic crossing by studying a book about boats.

Brain activity in young and older children can be used to predict future reading skill. Cross model mapping between the orthographic and phonologic areas in the brain are critical in reading. Thus, the amount of activation in the left dorsal inferior frontal gyrus while performing reading tasks can be used to predict later reading ability and advancement. Young children with higher phonological word characteristic processing have significantly better reading skills later on than older children who focus on whole-word orthographic representation.

1.3 Methods of reading

Reading is an intensive process in which the eye quickly moves to assimilate text. Very little is actually seen accurately. It is necessary to understand visual perception and eye movement in order to understand the reading process.

There are several types and methods of reading, with differing rates that can be attained for each, for different kinds of material and purposes:

Subvocalized reading combines sight reading with internal sounding of the words as if spoken. Advocates of speed reading claim it can be a bad habit that slows reading and comprehension, but other studies indicate the reverse, particularly with difficult texts.

Speed reading is a collection of methods for increasing reading speed without an unacceptable reduction in comprehension or retention. Methods include skimming or the chunking of words in a body of text to increase the rate of reading. It is closely connected to speed learning.

Proofreading is a kind of reading for the purpose of detecting typographical errors. One can learn to do it rapidly, and professional proofreaders typically acquire the ability to do so at high rates, faster for some kinds of material than for others, while they may largely suspend comprehension while doing so, except when needed to select among several possible words that a suspected typographic error allows.

Rereading is reading a book more than once. «One cannot read a book: one can only reread it,» Vladimir Nabokov once said. A paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research (Cristel Antonia (2012)) found re-reading offers mental health benefits because it allows for a more profound emotional connection and self-reflection, versus the first reading which is more focused on the events and plot.

Structure-proposition-evaluation (SPE) method, popularized by Mortimer Adler in How to Read a Book, mainly for non-fiction treatise, in which one reads a writing in three passes:

(1) for the structure of the work, which might be represented by an outline;

(2) for the logical propositions made, organized into chains of inference;

(3) for evaluation of the merits of the arguments and conclusions. This method involves suspended judgment of the work or its arguments until they are fully understood.

Survey-question-read-recite-review (SQ3R) method, often taught in public schools, which involves reading toward being able to teach what is read, and would be appropriate for instructors preparing to teach material without having to refer to notes during the lecture.

Multiple intelligences-based methods, which draw upon the reader’s diverse ways of thinking and knowing to enrich his or her appreciation of the text. Reading is fundamentally a linguistic activity: one can basically comprehend a text without resorting to other intelligences, such as the visual (e.g., mentally «seeing» characters or events described), auditory (e.g., reading aloud or mentally «hearing» sounds described), or even the logical intelligence (e.g., considering «what if» scenarios or predicting how the text will unfold based on context clues). However, most readers already use several intelligences while reading, and making a habit of doing so in a more disciplined manner--i.e., constantly, or after every paragraph--can result in more vivid, memorable experience.

Rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) reading involves presenting the words in a sentence one word at a time at the same location on the display screen, at a specified eccentricity. RSVP eliminates inter-word saccades, limits intra-word saccades, and prevents reader control of fixation times (Legge, Mansfield, & Chung, 2001). RSVP controls for differences in reader eye movement, and consequently is often used to measure reading speed in experiments.

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling or TPRS is a method of teaching foreign languages. TPRS lessons use a mixture of reading and storytelling to help students learn a foreign language in a classroom setting. The method works in three steps: in step one the new vocabulary structures to be learned are taught using a combination of translation, gestures, and personalized questions; in step two those structures are used in a spoken class story; and finally, in step three, these same structures are used in a class reading. Throughout these three steps, the teacher will use a number of techniques to help make the target language comprehensible to the students, including careful limiting of vocabulary, constant asking of easy comprehension questions, frequent comprehension checks, and very short grammar explanations known as «pop-up grammar». Many teachers also assign additional reading activities such as free voluntary reading, and there have been several easy novels written by TPRS teachers for this purpose.


Step three is where the students learn to read the language structures that they have heard in steps one and two. A number of reading activities are used in TPRS. The first, and most common, is a class reading, where the students read and discuss a story that uses the same language structures as the story in step two. The next most common activity is free voluntary reading, where students are free to read any book they choose in the language being learned. The other activities are shared reading and homework reading. For shared reading, as in first-language literacy activities, the teacher brings in a children’s picture book, and reads it to the students in class, making it comprehensible through circling and other means. Homework reading, as the name implies, means assigning specific reading for students to do at home. All readings in TPRS are comprehensible to the students, which means a very low ratio of unknown words (if any).

Class reading

The class reading is the most common type of reading activity in TPR Storytelling. TPRS teachers will typically include a class reading as part of every TPRS lesson. This reading is based on the story that the students learned in step two — sometimes it can be the same story, and sometimes it uses the same language structures but with different content. The students will have learned the language structures used in the reading very well during parts one and two, so students will often be able to understand most of the story on first view.

The teacher will often begin the class reading by reading aloud the story, or a portion of the story, then having the students translate it into their first language. This translation could be done with individual students, or chorally by the whole class. Translation is utilized selectively in this way because it is the fastest and most direct way to ensure an accurate understanding of the language meaning. As the students already know the language structures very well after steps one and two, they can often do this at a natural speed. If necessary, the teacher can help them translate any words they don’t know. This process ensures that all of the students understand all of the words in the reading, as well as the meaning of the reading as a whole.

Next, the class will discuss the reading in the target language. To help make the discussion 100% comprehensible, the teacher will use the same TPRS techniques as in step two. Also, the teacher may make use of the pop-up grammar technique, where grammar points contained in the reading are explained very briefly — in 5 seconds or less. A limited number of grammar points are focused on in any particular reading and they are «popped up» often to enhance student retention. The discussion can touch on a wide range of topics related to the reading. Usually the teacher will ask questions about the reading itself, and about the students and their lives. Comparing and contrasting the material in the reading to the PQA and the story gives extra repetitions of the target structures. Discussions of culture and even history are possible, depending on the content of the reading and the level of the students.

Because of the depth of acquisition students enjoy of the words and structures done in class, it is possible to discuss quite complex topics with TPRS students in relatively early stages of language instruction. While a typical TPRS student might not have «covered» as much vocabulary as a typical communicatively-taught student, the TPRS student has automatic, correct control of everything that has been required throughout the course of TPRS study, in contrast to the communicatively-taught student, who will typically memorize long lists of vocabulary and fail to retain all of it.

Free voluntary reading

Many TPRS teachers include Free voluntary reading (FVR) in their foreign language programms. The research for FVR is very strong, and has consistently shown that FVR is as good or better than taught language lessons. Free voluntary reading can be done in the classroom or at home, but many teachers prefer to focus on spoken stories in class, as it is hard for students to get listening input outside school. However, TPRS teachers often educate students about FVR in class, introducing books for them to read, and giving advice on good reading practices.

Shared reading

Shared reading, often called «Kindergarten Day», refers to the practice of the teacher reading a children’s picture story book to the students. The name is intended to conjure up the image of being read to as a child, but the activity can be done with any age group. The teacher reads to the students, showing them the pictures, asking them questions, and generally making the story comprehensible.

Homework reading

As the name implies, this is a specific reading that is assigned to all students for homework. The teacher can give a quiz on the reading when the students get back to class. This can be used to prepare students for a class discussion, but it is usually only used with advanced students as at home the students may have no one to turn to if they get stuck.

1.4 Pedagogical Stages of Reading

Ideally, each text used in such a curriculum should be pedagogically staged so that learners approach it by moving from pre-reading, through initial reading, and intorereading. This sequence carefully moves the learner from comprehension tasks to production tasks. In addition, these tasks should build upon each other in terms of increasing cognitive difficulty.

· Pre-Reading: The initial levels of learning, as described in Bloom’s Taxonomy, involve recognizing and comprehending features of a text. As proposed here, pre-reading tasks involve speaking, reading, and listening.

· Initial Reading: Initial reading tasks orient the learner to the text and activate the cognitive resources that are associated with the learner’s own expectations. For example, discussions of genres and stereotypes may help the learner to identify potential reading difficulties and to strategize ways to overcome these challenges. Simple oral and written reproduction tasks should precede more complex production tasks that call for considering creative thinking about several issues at the same time.

· Rereading: In rereading, the learner is encouraged to engage in active L2 production such as verbal or written analysis and argumentation. These activities require longer and more complex discourse. At this point, the language learners' critical thinking needs to interact with their general knowledge. Ideally, cultural context and the individual foreign language learner’s own identity emerge as central to all acts of production.

When the stages of reading are repeated over the course of a semester or year, learners tend to improve not only their language skills, but also their cultural literacy. Multiple stages in reading engage the learners by returning to the language of the text from different points of view. A curriculum built around such stages is considered holistic if they involve practice that integrates language various kinds of language acquisition and fills multiple cognitive demands in interlocking activities that spiral learning. For example, a pre-reading for sub-topics of a subject, an initial reading to identify how topics are described, and a rereading to modify those descriptions by inserting them into a new genre or describing them for a different audience.

For foreign language learners to read, they have to be prepared to use various abilities and strategies they already possess from their reading experiences in their native language. They will need the knowledge they possess to help orient themselves in the many dimensions of language implicated in any text. Researchers have established that the act of reading is a non-linear process that is recursive and context-dependent. Readers tend to jump ahead or go back to different segments of the text, depending on what they are reading to find out.

Asking a learner to «read» a text requires that teachers specify a reading goal. One minimal goal is to ask the learner to find particular grammatical constructions or to identify words that relate to particular features or topics of the reading. But such goals are always only partial. For example, a text also reveals a lot about the readers for which it is written and a lot about subject matter that foreign language learners may or may not know or anticipate.

A Holistic Approach to Reading

The curriculum described here is called a holistic curriculum, following Miller (1996). Holistic education is concerned with connections in human experience--connections between mind and body, between linear thinking and intuitive ways of knowing, between academic disciplines, between the individual and the community.

A holistic curriculum emphasizes how the parts of a whole relate to each other to form the whole. From this perspective, reading relates to speaking, writing, listening comprehension, and culture.

Chapter 2. Analysis of the data received

2.1 Readability

Teachers should assess whether the texts they assign are appropriately readable for their students. But how to measure readability? In the holistic approach advocated here, readability is not a static property of a given text. Instead, readability is determined by three characteristics: the suitability of the text for the readers' background, their language, and the instructor’s curricular goals.

In general, a text is more readable when:

· it presents concrete issues rather than abstract ones

· it provides the «who,» «what,» «where,» and «when» familiar to the reader

· it is age-appropriate

· it is in a genre familiar to the reader

· it is acceptable to the reader’s cultural background

· it is longer, with context clues, or it is a short text on a familiar topic

Horizons of Expectation

Sometimes, the readability of a text can be enhanced if a missing piece of background knowledge about the text’s culture is provided. The reader needs to know about contextual elements that most authentic texts assume their readership knows. Sometimes the missing element is a historical or social fact, sometimes it can be a fact that looks like a social stereotype.

The concept «horizons of expectation» is attributed to Hans Robert Jauss, who used the term when illustrating ways in which textual features reflect a broad consensus about a given genre’s style, content, and organizational structures; and to argue that these features suggest assumptions shared among a group of readers. When the literatures and cultures of the foreign languages studied reflect horizons of expectation with which the language learner is unfamiliar, misreadings often result.

Overall, readability and reading goals need to be set vis-а-vis the reader, not as a property of the text in its own right. And through reading an accessible authentic text, the reader is also likely to confront the stereotypes about a culture as well as those held

by that culture. By learning to recognize ways authentic media reflect particular viewpoints, readers begin to engage in the practice of multi-literacies--explorations of self and other.


Top of Form

1. Reader recognition in pre-reading of a FL asks students to indicate what they comprehend. Foreign language instructors have options for confirming students' beginning comprehension of a passage when they demonstrate

· the ability to translate a word or phrase in a text passage.

· the ability to provide foreign language synonyms for a word or phrase in a text passage.

· the ability to categorize a word or phrase in a text passage with regard to designated times, places, persons, or events.

· all of the above

2. For purposes of selecting FL texts for readability factors depend about 50% on language factors and the other 50% results from

· how well pre-reading goes.

· how readers apply variables such as knowledge background, strategies, and genre.

· how novel the text is.

· how extensive the students' command of FL vocabulary is.

3. Approaching FL reading in the cognitive stages means

· repeating the same tasks until they are learned.

· separating grammar from vocabulary learning.

· choosing the right genre.

· focusing on one mode of thinking at a time.

· because only people of higher intelligence can do the higher levels.

· because some cognitive processes are more valuable than others.

· because he had to list them in some way.

· because that hierarchy reflects a sequence of less to more difficult/complex processes.

Bottom of Form

Pick a short English or L1 text you have not read already that is about concerns a topic your know a lot about. In other words, the context and content of the text are familiar to you. Brainstorm with a partner or by yourself about your horizon of expectation as you start to read this familiar L1 text.

2.2 Reading as a Process

Many students believe that they must know every word in a text before they can read proficiently. Given our definition of reading as a process, this widespread belief presents a problem for teachers. How can we show students that they are able to draw meaning from a text even when they don’t know all the words and much of the grammar?

Put yourself in the place of a beginning language student trying to read a foreign language text for the first time. Take a look at the first page of a Norwegian Online newspaper text about the most recent Batman movie and an English-language text from the New Yorker magazine on the same topic.

Reading experts assert that only about half of what people understand when they read in any language has to do with knowing that language’s vocabulary and its grammar. The other half involves factors such as:

· background knowledge about the topic or the medium (e.g. what kind of a hero Batman is, and what an action movie looks like)

· knowledge of a genre (e.g. what information is in a movie review and what importance is attached to who writes the review and where it’s published)

· strategies for guessing and working with uncertainty («I don’t know this term, but it has been mentioned twice so it’s probably important and I’ll continue reading to see if I can figure it out. «)


Pre-reading activities cover a range of possibilities, all directed at helping learners engage in a process of discovery and to feel authorized to engage with the form and content of the text. What all successful pre-reading activities have in common is that they are student-centered. The instructor has to identify the potential problems of readability inherent in a chosen reading text, and then has to help students find ways to surmount those difficulties. Rather than just provide answers or summarize the content, the instructor can help learners identify the sources of their reading difficulties.

Two pre-reading activities are very commonly used in tandem:

· Brainstorming: Students pool what they know about the topic of a text and share their knowledge in the native or target language. The goal is to activate the learners' horizon of expectation, and help learners identify what the text is about. Pre-reading exercises can take different forms, but ideally they are learner-centered rather than teacher-centered. For example, if the text is a film review, and only one student has seen the film, that student can tell the others about the plot or other notable features of the film.

· Skimming: The second pre-reading activity is skimming. In class, allot a short period of time (two minutes or so) for the learners to skim the first paragraph or page of the text, look at illustrations and subtitles, and identify the words in the text that explain the «who,» «what,» «where,» and «when» of the text content--to identify core vocabulary words that will help them work through uncertainties.

· their horizon of expectation (background knowledge, syntactic and semantic resources, cognitive strategies),

· take charge of their own learning, and

· become willing to tolerate ambiguity.

Initial Reading

After pre-reading, learners need to be led through their initial reading of the text. While pre-reading deals with identifying the global issues that are shared among many readers and texts, reading, whether done in class or assigned, requires learners to move to textual specifics. Where the pre-reading activities stressed the «who,» «what,» «when,» and «where» of the text, initial reading adds details. It should also ask learners to apply the text’s genre to help structure their reading process.

Knowing the genre of a text helps a reader engage with the details. The main characters in each text type will have different functions. Knowing that a text is a mystery or detective story will mean that there will be multiple moments of investigation and discovery. That makes it possible for learners to look for various stages in the investigation as their more specific task--to find the episodes that characterize the genre.

In the discussion that follows the initial reading, teachers should help learners weigh the textual details they have identified. When they compare their work with that of their classmates, for example, teachers can ask students to discuss and justify their choices. At this stage, learners begin to move toward the «how» and «why» of the text--synthesizing concepts or engaging in problem-solving. For example, where is the mystery or reader interest in a detective story is told by the murderer?

2.3 Guided Matrix

A guided matrix can be introduced after the in-class brainstorming and skimming activities. It requires readers to select phrases or sentences from the text that help readers reconstruct the logic of the text. In its most rudimentary form, a guided matrix consists of a table with two columns with headings that guide readers in making selections from the text.

The headings used in a guided matrix reflect a pattern of logic. The following table gives some examples of logical relationships and headings.

Logical Relationships (Headings)

Type of Text

Contrasts or Comparisons

A text that contrasts two people or the «before» and «after» of an event or problem (differences in their characteristics)

Issues and their Features or Results

A text that critiques a movie (what's right or wrong with it and why)

Problems and their Solutions

A text about an historical era (political, economic, social issues and how they were addressed)

Events and their Impact

A news story about a current event (what happened/who was affected and how)

The structure of a guided matrix requires precise cognitive and linguistic work; learners have to note the way the text expresses information according to the categories established by the matrix. Such precision helps establish a correlation between the learners' horizon of expectation and semantic and syntactic elements of the foreign language texts.

Advantages of a Guided Matrix

The advantage of using a guided matrix as a task to structure reading is that learners are likely to reread parts of a text (or re-view sections of a film) in order to find the information they want to include. In so doing, elements of syntax and semantics are reinforced in context, as part of values and expectations found in the given foreign culture. Such incidental contact will prepare learners for more detailed contact with the world from which the text stems, and help them make the transition from reading to writing.


Top of Form

Students who read a FL text for meaning need to

· know every word in the passage and be able to translate it.

· wait until second year to read anything but edited texts.

· apply L1 strategies such as skimming for information.

· stick to very short passages

2. When reading for information in initial (assigned) reading, knowing the genre of a text is important

· because different genres structure and present textual information in different, often predictable ways.

· because genre identification is the goal of initial reading.

· because a genre has the same features and cultural roles in all languages.

· because the reader will know whether or not the text will be interesting.

3. Pre-reading activities are somewhat like online searches because

· they involve extensive reading.

· they involve tracing an idea by looking for other words that relate to that idea.

· they are can be very boring.

· they don’t ask readers to do very much.

4. In this module we suggest that the instructor’s role in pre-reading is

· to tell everyone what the text is about.

· to tell the class why it is important to read this text.

· to help students brainstorm briefly about the topic and skim for and confirm words related to that topic.

· remind the class that they will be expected to have read the text by the following class hour.

Bottom of FormThe Importance of Rereading

Rereading consists of on-going and repeated encounters with a text, guided by a particular task so that segments of the text get revisited and rethought. Rereading is the most effective type of reading, especially of foreign language texts, because it offers learners the opportunity to re-think messages and see features they have not noticed in initial reading. Readers learn more language and information when they engage with a text using a guided matrix or other task that encourages them to peruse the text again. That perusal does not mean that they should be reading the text linearly or translating it, but rather that they should be using their prior knowledge and what they gained in initial reading exercises to become confident about what a text says. At this point, learners should aim to be sufficiently familiar with a text’s information to be able to summarize that information from memory.

Differences between Initial and Rereading Activities

Activities in Initial Reading

Activities in Rereading

Identify the main topic, examples of its features (summarize content in a FL)

Talk or write about details and their implications (analyze or interpret content)

Identify words and phrases conveying author messages and author POV (point of view)

Role play or write about that POV from the reader’s perspective (modify, agree, disagree)

Identify genre features (expected order of events; types of people, events, ideas, or objects; characteristics of style)

Perform or rewrite in a different genre (from description to dialogue, letter, diary entry, etc.)

Comprehend and reproduce text language in appropriate categories using provided matrix headings

Use different categories to change the text’s messages (e.g., from before/after to problem/solution)

When learners read through the whole text two or three times, they will find that their own comprehension of the text improves, especially if their goal is to find how information is presented or arranged in that text--how it is sequenced and weighted. Such assessments help readers take a further analytic step. Readers start identifying ways a text’s structure or semantics can suggest a point of view (positive, negative, dismissive, laudatory, impartial, incomplete, etc.) or an approach typical or atypical for the text’s genre.

Rereading Strategies

Teachers can guide their students in successful rereading by helping them structure the discovery process in light of the cognitive and linguistic difficulties of the text. Learners need to be given tasks that correspond to their level of linguistic and cognitive sophistication. Learners must also be given a model of what they are going to be called on to produce, and they should be encouraged to use words and phrases from the text when writing and speaking about it.

Structuring the Rereading Assignment

In such structured rereading assignments, learners are able to act as authorized learners--authorized because they are selecting their own answers. They will, moreover, be engaging the text repeatedly as they defend their choice. They engage in a process of discovery in reading that leads to production when they participate in a class discussion or work on a writing assignment.

The following chart provides examples of ways rereading can activate different learning goals.

Rereading Activity

Learning Goal

Identify or rewrite specific grammar constructions that occur repeatedly in a text (passive voice, verbs in various tenses, cases, singular plural distinctions, etc.).

Recognizing or modifying grammar features in context and how grammar signals meanings.

Identify or rewrite statements that suggest a particular speech act (e.g., a command, an argument, a plea, etc.).

Recognizing or using language that conveys speaker or author intent (pragmatics).

Look for text features to revise in another genre (changing a conversation to a description or a news report to a diary entry).

Recognizing or discussing how changing the genre of the source text changes its rhetoric and the order of presenting its information.

Writing During Rereading

The note-taking and short writing required by structured reading assignments are useful in helping learners process and recall textual information.


Top of Form

1. One reason for rereading a text is

· to memorize the text.

· to better understand and interpret textual content.

· to copy the first paragraph.

· none of the above

2. A rereading assignment

· focuses on comprehension processes.

· asks readers to use texts to express their ideas in written or spoken language.

· asks students to reread the text in English.

· asks students to identify a text’s genre.

3. As discussed in this lesson, occasional note-taking during discussions

· reinforces memory of the words used.

· serves as a distraction.

· has little value.

· is not recommended.

4. The beginning teacher in the first video clip draws on her own experience in watching a movie a second time by pointing out that

· seeing scenes that she understood after a second viewing helped her understand the whole movie better.

· seeing scenes a second time only helped when she hadn’t understood the film at all.

· viewing it a second time, she soon lost interest in the movie.

· viewing a movie again was different from rereading a text.

Bottom of Form Select a reading passage you have already used or would like to use with a beginning language class midway through their first semester. Devise an initial and a rereading task that you think would complement each other and serve the learning goals of your syllabus and curricular program.

Use of the L1

While our beginning teachers found the approach to reading presented in this module to be appealing, they were not completely convinced that such an approach could be easily implemented in their classroom. In general, beginning teachers are likely to express concerns that a holistic approach might trigger the use of the L1, require too much time, and be too difficult to assess. In particular, they are likely to worry about the use of the L1 option with various pre-reading activities and as an aide to critical thinking. These teachers feel that the use of the L1 may end up «infiltrating» and «taking over» a classroom. Minjung acknowledges that the L1 may have an important cognitive role to play in helping learners «process» a difficult text. Nevertheless, she points to an apparent contradiction between the goals of a communicative classroom that privilege communication in the target language and any use of the L1. This apparent conflict may be resolved by analyzing the purposes of the L1 in the foreign language classroom and identifying boundaries for its use.

In the video, Vince asserts that the L1 is a «cognitive tool» that performs an important role in language learning. Vince’s assertion gains support but only if the use of the L1 is «selective.» In general, the research on this issue indicates that the use of the L1 can help learners process various kinds of information about the foreign language, because it allows them to focus on and verify the comprehension task at hand. In addition, it appears that occasional use of the L1 may lower anxiety and actually increase retention of concepts. Overall, the instructor has to consult with students and establish expectations about FL production.

Integrating holistic reading put time constraints into an existing curriculum. Adding authentic texts and rereading them both require more time than exists in many pre-established curricular sequences and their lesson plans.

It appears that some of a beginning teacher’s concerns about a holistic approach stem from the «tyranny of the syllabus,» that is, a pedagogical mind-set found in many language programs that what matters is completing an activity on a specific calendar day. This concern is especially prevalent among instructors who teach a course in a high school or in a large language program with multiple sections and who don’t have much control over the syllabus and curriculum.

It seems from the video that «reading» fits into almost any curriculum only if the activity is defined broadly. Learners may be assigned a longer reading to complete in stages during the semester, with tasks built in that result in a portfolio assignment, summarizing what has been done. Alternately, a set of web pages may be assigned, which require learners to research a topic and then summarize it--another bridge between comprehension and production. Teachers should not worry unduly about finishing a reading activity «on time» if the activities are integrated and overlapping, as advocated here. For example, what may begin as a reading assignment in class may be completed outside of class as a writing assignment.

2.4 Assessing Reading Outcomes

Beginning teachers are likely to worry that a holistic approach to reading and language learning in general does not allow for any focus on the individual parts, such as vocabulary, grammar, content, etc. This is an understandable concern since such an

approach emphasizes the relationship of the individual parts that constitute the text as a whole rather than the individual parts of a text. The issue usually comes down to the question: What is the best way to teach and assess grammatical accuracy? Should assessment ever focus on grammatical accuracy if the pedagogical approach takes a more integrated, contextualized approach?

Test What You Teach How You Teach It

The final challenge for any curriculum (holistic or otherwise) is summarized in the old saw: «test what you teach how you teach it.» If students are taught to read using a matrix, they should be assessed using a similar task. For example, a matrix sets up learning that joins content and language; the elements in the matrix constitute a topic-and-comment logic--set within two columns, two parallel cells provide the material for particular kinds of sentences. If the instructor thinks grammar accuracy is important, then the sentences or phrases that come out of the matrix information need to be evaluated for accuracy of formal features as well as accuracy of content weighting and selection. Spelling, grammar, expression, and content can all be evaluated in terms of accuracy. However, teachers must make clear to students how much accuracy counts in their grading scheme. If grammatical accuracy is never touched on in reading activities, it would be unfair to make it a primary focus when testing reading.

Matrix Options at Different Levels

At beginning levels, students will need structured tasks that provide them with explicit directions about what to look for and how to find it. Later, the matrix can have a less prescriptive format, such as a prйcis or concise summary that allows learners to manage their language production by organizing information according to a logical pattern they see in a text. More advanced learners can also provide a statement in English or the foreign language concerning the implications they read in the pattern of logic uncovered in their matrices. For example, if a reader discovers a series of events and outcomes in a Batman film that all result in extraordinary special effects then they probably will recognize and write about the implication that every time a bad guy does something explosive, innocent people are put in danger and when good guys use technology it is to save people--a pattern of good versus evil with visual correlations of color and sound. In summary, teachers can manage the outcomes of reading through an assessment program that reflects a concept of reading as a holistic combination of students' grammatical accuracy, their comprehension of content, and their critical thinking.

Review. Top of Form

1. Which of the following assumptions about L1 use is proposed in Lesson 4:

· Students need to use the FL all the time to become communicatively competent.

· Native speakers of two different languages never communicate in both languages.

· L1 use for particular goals may foster FL learning if clear boundaries are established.

· Total immersion is the only valid approach to language acquisition.

2. Teaching reading with a holistic approach involves using texts to

· help students move in stages from comprehension to language production (spoken and written) about reading content and its implications.

· have students identify the way grammar features of the text signal meaning.

· devise student activities that ask for critical thinking.

· all of the above.


Having investigated my course paper I have come to the following conclusion: that reading is not a passive skill, reading is an incredibly active occupation. To do it successfully we have to understand what the word mean, see the pictures, understand the agreements and work out if we agree with them. If we don’t do this things we just scratch the service of the text and we quickly forget it. That’s why we should encourage students to respond to the content of a reading text not just to the language. It is important to study reading for the way the use of language, the number of paragraphs they contain and how many times they use relative clauses.

But the meaning, the massage of the text is just as important and we must give to the students a chance to respond to that massage in some way. It is especially important that they should be allowed to express their feelings about the topic.

In the wake of proficiency testing and the ACTFL Standards, the labels we as FL teachers use to describe our job have changed; and with those changes the objectives for teaching what were formerly called «skills» have been recast. What was once «speaking skill» is today more commonly referred to as «communicative competence.» Reading has become «negotiating with the text,» «reading for meaning,» or «holistic reading.» Along with new labels or new associations come changed ideas about what FL students should learn and how.

In addition to the research backing up the general theoretical foundations of reading, there exists a growing number of studies dealing with reading activity. The results of these studies indicate that reading is much more efficient than traditional methods. Reading is an activity with a purpose. A person may read in order to gain information or verify existing knowledge, or in order to critique a writer’s ideas or writing style. A person may also read for enjoyment, or to enhance knowledge of the language being read.


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