From text as pretext to developing effective reading skills braz-tesol brasilia
Isabela Villas BoasMarta Diniz de Rezende
Rationale• Texts are many times “pretexts” for the teaching of grammar and vocabulary “O texto não é pretexto”: O texto não é pretexto para nada. Ou melhor, não deve ser. Um texto existe apenas na medida em que se constitui ponto de encontro entre dois sujeitos: o que o escreve e o que o lê; escritor e leitor, reunidos pelo ato radicalmente solitário da leitura. (Marisa Lajolo1985, p. 52).•Communicative language teaching – emphasison top-down reading
Reading requires COMPREHENSION ofTEXTS. But what‟s a TEXT? And what‟s COMPREHENSION?
Text Genre: A conventional, culturally recognized grouping of texts based on properties other than lexical or grammatical features. It is based on external, non-linguistic criteria such as intended audience, purpose, and activity type.Text type: Based on the internal, linguistic characteristics of texts themselves. (Biber, 1988, pp. 70)
“Genres are forms of life, waysof being. They are frames forsocial action, the place wheremeaning is constructed.”(Bazerman, 2006)
Do you recognize these texts? Once upon a time, .... TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN The purpose of this .... is to .... First, pour... A fiften-year old male was arrested last night while he was ... Love, ... BTW, plz ... LOL It was found that, among the subjects studied, 89%...
Types of comprehension processing Bottom Up Top Down Data-driven Concept-driven The starting point is the text The starting point is within itself. the mind of the listener or The reader attends to reader. individual words and We do not logically work structures in the text, from through all possible these gradually building up interpretations of a text. We an interpretation of the use background knowledge whole. to select the most likely Comprehension is the interpretation. process of using linguistic Comprehension is a knowledge to decipher the process of making sense of little black marks in the text. a text in the most cost- effective way.
Another feature to fall by the wayside is the „butterfly‟ for theleft little finger. The left-hand E flat with its ungrateful pivotingis no one‟s favourite key. So, with those passages in mindwith E flat and A flat in close succession, the touches forthese notes are mounted cheek by jowl and pivotedsympathetically (though on different joints, as is normal)...Finally, the lower tier of touches duplicates others for the rightlittle finger...
TRAIN DERAILEDPlicks are believed to have caused the dolling of a two-cardiesel passenger train yesterday. The train, with 24 biners onboard, hit a metal object and ratteol 100 yards of track beforestopping four pars from Middlesbrough. Three people weretaken to hospital, one slightly ropeed, the others finding fromshock.
Schemas Integrated chunks of knowledge stored in long-term memory; mental frameworks wehold as individuals, and which we bring with us when we read or listen to a text.Sir Frederic Bartlett andTHE WAR OF THEGHOSTS.
- It is possible to understand every word of a text andnot know what it‟s about.- It is possible not to understand some parts of a text,yet still know what it‟s about.- It is possible to understand a message even whenthere is no evidence for your interpretation in theactual words on the page.- Different people will take different information out ofa text.
- Comprehension and acquisition are notsynonymous.- L2 learners need to attend to form for linguisticdevelopment. - L2 learners are unable to develop a targetlike linguistic system on their own, solely through exposure to comprehensible input.
- Due to limited cognitive processing capacity, early-stage L2 learners are only able to perform one type ofprocessing at a time. An exclusively meaning-basedapproach generates some comprehension but littleintake, and hence little acquisition. - Acquisition entails form-meaning mapping.
Reading is a process of constructing meaning from text. Readers use background knowledge and linguistic cues from the graphophonic, syntactic, and semanticFreeman and Freeman (2009) systems as they read.
READING FOR COMPREHENSION DUAL APPROACHHan and D´Angelo (2009) READING FOR ACQUISITION
What Proficient Readers Do* They identify the most important themes and ideas in the text and use them to focus their reading and thinking.* They ask questions.* They create mental pictures of what they read.* They sythesize what they have read.* They use a variety of “fix-up strategies” to repair comprehension when it falters.
Successful L2 Readers Behaviors(Brief pair work)They hold positive self-images of themselves as readers.They read broad phrases and skip unimportant words.They search for cognates.They transfer information across their two languages.They reflect on the meaning of the text in either the L1 or L2.
READERS USE STRATEGIES AND STRATEGIES CAN BE GOOD OR BAD.
Successful Strategy Unsuccessful Strategy• Setting purposes for your reading • Thinking about something else• Thinking about what you already know while reading about the topic • Skipping parts you do not• Thinking about what you do not know understand and not coming back to about the topic make sense of them later• Concentrating on getting the meaning • Reading as rapidly as possible• Underlining important parts • Concentrating on figuring out what the words are• Asking questions while you read • Making a list of every word you• Asking questions about the parts you don‟t know don‟t undestand • Looking up all of the words that• Using other information to figure out you do not know in a dictionary what you do not understand • Repeating the main idea over and• Taking notes over• Picturing information in your head• Checking back through the text to see if you remember it
What teachers do to help studentsbecome better readers Activate schemata. Teach them strategies. Use pre-reading activities to have students think about the topic, make their own connections with it and establish a purpose for reading. Draw attention to how the text is written.
Strategies• Skim• Scan• Predict• Check predictions• Ask questions• Underline• Use a dictionary• Take notes• Paraphrase• Reread• Think about the text and its structure
A Successful Reading ClassPre-reading While-reading Post-reading activities activities activities
Pre-reading activities• Use the title, subtitles, and divisions within the text to predict content and organization or sequence of information.• Brainstorm. Explore the pictures, graphs, etc.• Use videos, simulations and experiments to give students direct experiences to learn new words.• Help students identify purposes for reading the text.
Pre-reading activities• Teach the more complex language structures such as idioms and figurative language as needed.• Read over the comprehension questions to focus attention on finding that information while reading.• Construct semantic webs (a graphic arrangement of concepts or words showing how they are related)• Talk about the authors background, writing style, and usual topics
While-reading activities• Skim the text to get the purpose of the passage.• Scan the text to get specific information, such as names, dates, etc.• Stop at the end of each paragraph to review and check predictions.• React to opinions expressed.• Ask questions.• Make notes.• Underline important parts.• Predict the next part of the text from various clues.• Try to guess meaning from the context.
Post-reading activities Discuss the text Summarize the text Draw conclusions Apply the information to a new situation “Post-Reading activities encourage students to reflect upon what they have read. For the information to stay with the students, they need to go beyond simply reading it to using it.”
It can be a means of increasing learners‟ knowledge oflanguage features and their control of reading strategies.It can also improve their comprehension. At its worst, intensive reading focuses on comprehension of a particular text. However, if it is to be done well, it should focus on items that will occur in a wide range of text: “How does today‟s teaching make tomorrow’s text easier?” • Focus on items that occur with high frequency in the language as a whole. • Focus on strategies that can be used with most texts.
Intensive work on reading can focus on the following aspects: • Comprehension – understanding a particular text • Regular and irregular sound-spelling relations – teaching of phonics, spelling rules, reading aloud • Vocabulary – Attention drawn to useful words • Grammar – Difficult grammatical items can be explained and analyzed • Cohesion – pronoun reference, conjunction relationships between sentences, different words to relate to the same idea • Information structure – Certain texts contain certain kinds f information (ex: newspaper reports – who, what, where, when) • Genre features – how the text achieves its communicative purpose through vocabulary, grammatical features, cohesive features and information • Strategies – guessing from context, using a dictionary, simplifying difficult sentences, taking notes, etc.
It fits into the meaning-focused input and fluencydevelopment strands of a course.During extensive reading, learners should be interestedin what they are reading and should be reading with theirattention on the meaning of the text rather than onlearning the language features of the text.In order to meet the conditions needed for learning fromextensive reading at a variety of levels of proficiency, it isessential to make use of simplified texts.Because learning through extensive reading is highlyincidental, it is important to have quantity of input withsubstantial opportunities for vocabulary repetition.
It involves a high quantity of varied, self-selected, enjoyablereading at a resonably fluent speed. The quantity of input needs to be close to 500,000 running words per year, which is equivalent to 25 graded readers a year. Extensive reading can only occur if 95 to 98 percent of the running words in a text are already familiar to the learner or are no burden to the learner.
About one quarter of the time in a well-balanced languagecourse should be spent on the strand of fluencydevelopment helping learners become more fluent in usingthe language they already know; that is, making the bestuse of what they have already learned. This fluencydevelopment needs to cover the four skills of listening,speaking, reading and writing and needs to involvesubstantial amounts of input and output. Reasonable goal: read around 250 words per minute.
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