Reading In Elt


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Reading In Elt

  1. 1. Reading in ELT: An Introductory Workshop “Reade not to contradict, nor to believe, but to waigh and consider.” Francis Bacon A summary of major issues 1. Bottom-up & top-down reading 2. Schema theory & reading 3. Reading as an interactive process 4. Reading as a purposeful process 5. Reading as a critical process 6. Extensive reading 7. Types of reading texts: Genre & register 8. Implications for EFL reading programs 1. 1. Phonic reading (bottom-up) Every Letter Phonemes & Print Discriminated Graphemes Blending MEANING Pronunciation A process of decoding linguistic symbols (Cambourne cited in Nunan, 1991: 63-5) • Basically a process of decoding a series of written symbols into their aural equivalents. (also known as serial processing). Seems reasonable (though only 26 written symbols in English to represent over 40 aural symbols – but a degree of consistency does exist) • Main assumption: reader possesses an oral vocabulary extensive enough for decoding to take place, not possible for most SL learners, even for some 1st language readers (Decode, yes. But understand, no) • Main criticisms: o Research into human memory (Kolers & Katzmann, 1966): under PR model, 60 words per minute whereas in fact an average reader can read & comprehend 1
  2. 2. 250-350 words per minute. Given the fact that human STM holds up to 7 items at a time, it’s impossible to read & understand under the phonic model. o The serial processing operations underlying this model fails to explain how one can assign a phonemic value to a grapheme without knowing the meaning of the word containing the grapheme, e.g. “ho—” and “house”, “horse”, “hot”, “hoot”. Similar problems with the present or past sound of “read” etc. 1.2. Top-down reading Past Experiences Selective Sound & Language Intuitions Aspects of MEANING Pronunciation Expectations Print If Necessary A process of meaning reconstruction (Cambourne cited in Nunan, 1991: 63-5) • A process of meaning reconstruction, hypothesis formation, “the psycholinguistic guess games” (Goodman, 1972) • Main criticisms: o Sometimes not adequate to distinguish between beginning & fluent readers (sight reading vs. serial processing, e.g. in case of ideographic/non-ideographic languages); o the process of hypothesis generation could be more time-consuming than decoding (Stanovich, 1980) • Summary (Nunan, 1991: 67) o Bottom-up reading assumes that the activation of higher level processes (e.g. the use of background knowledge) must await lower-level ones. o Top-down reading doesn’t allow lower-level decoding processes to direct higher level ones. 2. Schema theory & reading Schema theory suggests that the knowledge we carry around in our head is organized into interrelated patterns. These are constructed from our previous experience of the experiential world and guide us as we make sense of new experiences. They also enable us to make predictions about what we might expect to experience in a given context. (Nunan 1991:68) 2
  3. 3. Widdowson (1983) has reinterpreted schema theory from an applied linguistic perspective. He postulates two levels of language: a systemic level and a schematic level. The systemic level includes the phonological, morphological and syntactic elements of the language, while the schematic level relates to our background knowledge. (Nunan 1991:68) Two types of schemata most often discussed in reading research are formal schemata and content schemata. Formal schemata are higher order structures containing knowledge of rhetorical organization structures, including knowledge of the general properties of text types and differences in genre (Carrell & Eisterhold, 1988). The other type of schema which a reader brings to a text is content schema, the knowledge relative to the content domain of the text. Content schemata themselves can be classified into different types. One which has attracted growing interest is the culture-specific content schema (Carrell, 1988; Carrell & Eisterhold, 1988). (From: Maya Khemlani David & Lynne Norazit, Selection of Reading Texts: Moving Beyond Content Schema. In Literacy Across Cultures. Spring/Summer 2000 4/1) Schema reading: an example A 15-year-old boy got up the nerve one day to try out for the school chorus, despite the potential ridicule from his classmates. His audition time made him a good 15 minutes late to the next class. His hall permit clutched nervously in hand, he nevertheless tried surreptitiously to slip into his seat, but his entrance didn’t go unnoticed. “And where were you?” bellowed the teacher. Caught off guard by the sudden attention, a red-faced Harold replied meekly, “Oh, uh, er, somewhere between tenor and bass, sir.” (Brown, 1994: 284-5) • Content schemata required (Brown, 1994: 285): o how young kids might be embarrassed about singing in a choir o how being late to class without a permit is “forbidden” o how embarrassing it is to be singled out in a class o something about music parts o 15-year-olds’ voices are often “breaking” • Formal schemata about discourse structure: o the audition spilled over into the next class time o he did have a permit to be late o he forgot to show the teacher the permit because he was nervous o the teacher did notice his entry o the teacher’s question referred to location, not a music part. 3
  4. 4. 3. Reading as an interactive process Strategies Fluency READING The Reader The Text Components of Reading (Anderson, 2003:68) 4. Reading as a purposeful process • Different purposes in reading involve different strategies in approaching texts (top- down or bottom-up) & different reading rates. E.g., skimming generally uses top-down strategies to get at the general dimensions of a text. • Real-world reading purposes are finding their way into reading tasks in ELT. • One text may be read in a variety of styles (scanning, skimming …) to fulfill different purposes (tasks) & therefore requires a range of strategies. • The SCROL procedure (Grant 1993) is an example to help students with different stages of approaching a text: o Survey the headings: for initiating relevant schemata o Connect: for the general organization of information in the text o Read the text: for more intensive reading purposes o Outline: for taking in main ideas & organization o Look back: for checking comprehension 5. Reading as a critical process • Reading is a process of social interaction: texts written to build or bend views; language manipulated for similar purposes (e.g. rhetorical structure, the use of modality, or the use of pronouns) • For younger learners, “language awareness” should be an important educational goal (many young learners more often agree than disagree with what they read) 4
  5. 5. • The Humanities Project (1970s, UK) based on Stenhouse’s ideas, targeting 12-16 year olds, includes these pedagogic principles: o Teachers should not use their authority to promote own views o Discussion rather than instruction should be encouraged in controversial areas o Discussion should protect divergence of views among participants (Elliot 1991: 15) 6. What’s extensive reading? • Reading large quantities of material (stories, novel etc.) • Reading consistently overtime on a frequent & regular basis • Reading for general meaning, primarily for pleasure, curiosity, or professional interest • Reading longer texts during class time but also engaging in individual, independent reading at home, ideally of self-selected material (adapted from Hedge 2002:202) “By reading what they choose and (more or less) enjoying their [extensive reading] homework, students’ motivation to learn will increase, which will in turn benefit their eventual acquisition of the target language.” (Robb & Susser 1989: 248) Extensive & intensive reading Intensive Reading Lessons Programme Elements to do with the text Elements to do with the reader Increasing awareness of how texts are Developing metacognitive strategies organized e.g. use of a dictionary, keeping a vocabulary e.g. paragraph development, cohesion book Increasing awareness of textual Building knowledge of the language environments e.g. vocabulary development e.g. how graphics are used in news articles Building schematic knowledge of various kinds e.g. sociocultural knowledge Transferring reading strategies effectively to the L2 e.g. previewing, guessing meaning from context Extensive reading provides opportunities to practice reading strategies and develop different types of knowledge (Adapted from Hedge 1985:70) 5
  6. 6. 7.1. Types of reading texts: Genre A text’s genre may be determined by its: • Linguistic function (informing or narrating) • Formal traits (lexico-grammar) • Textual organization (paragraph development, rhetorical structure) • Relation of communicative situation to formal and organizational traits of the text (e.g. recipes) (Charaudeau & Maingueneau 2002: 278-80). 7.2. Types of reading texts: Register • A functional (semantic) variation of language according to the user, or according to use in a particular situation. • “the linguistic features which are typically associated with a configuration of situational features - with particular values of the field, mode and tenor…” (M.A.K Halliday & R. Hasan 1976) o Field refers to what is being done or talked about. o Mode refers to the choice(s) of language, including both channels, spoken or written, spontaneous or prepared, and its genre, rhetorical mode, as narrative, or persuasive.’ o Tenor refers to ‘the type of role interaction, the set of relevant social relations, permanent or temporary, among the participants involved. 8. Implications for EFL reading programs Implications vary across teaching contexts, the most common ones may involve: • How to establish goals for a reading course/class? • What criteria should be used for the selection of reading texts? • What types of teaching procedures & tasks help develop reading ability? • How to help students develop critical reading skills? • What can be done to encourage extensive reading? For an in-depth discussion see Tricia Hedge (2002:205-221) 6
  7. 7. Further reading • Anderson, N. (2003). Reading. In David Nunan (Ed.), Practical English language teaching (pp.67-86). China: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc 7 Higher Education Press. • Brown, Douglas (1994). Teaching by principles. London: Prentice Hall. • Charaudeau, P., Maingueneau, D. & Adam, J. (2002). Dictionnaire d’analyse du discours. Seuil. • Elliot, J. (1991). Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. • Goodman et al. (1972). Reading miscue inventory manual: procedure for diagnosis & remediation. New York: Macmillan. • Grant, R. (1993). Strategic training for using text headings to improve students’ processing of content. In Journal of Reading 36/6 (pp. 482-8). • Halliday, M.A.K. and R. Hasan (1976). Cohesion in English. London: Longman. • Hedge, Tricia (2000). Teaching & learning in the language classroom. Oxford: OUP. • Kolers, P. & Katzmann, M. (1966). Naming sequentially presented letters & words. In Language & Speech 9 (pp. 54-95). • Nunan, D. (1991). Language teaching methodology. UK: Prentice Hall • Robb, T.N. & Susser, B. (1989). Extensive reading vs. skills building in an EFL context. In Reading in a foreign language 5/2 (pp. 239-52) • Widdowson, H.G. (1983). Learning purpose & language use. Oxford: OUP 7