What is reading?decode, decipher, identifyarticulate, speak, pronounceunderstand, respond, meaning Without comprehension, a reader is just „barking at print‟ – think of all those late nights spent poring through dense textbooks in your university years; seeing the words but not making any sense of them? The main purpose of reading is to get meaning from the text
How do we read?Reading is decoding + using knowledge ofsentence structure + comprehensionWe usually read silently
How do we teach reading?We can‟t; we can help our learners to effectivelyuse reading skills decoding skills (phonics, spelllingpatterns), sight words, affixes, vocabulary, usingcontext, identifying context clues (signalwords, punctuation), using knowledge of sentencestructure…
What makes a text difficult? Text A: http://www.seismosoc.org/publi cations/srl/eew/posters/index.p hp
Text A:We cannot decode if we don‟t know thelanguage!Decoding = breaking down words, recognizingletters and letter combinations + structure (e.g.recognizing „-ed‟ endings and the meaning theycarry)
What makes a text difficult? Text B: If a set of raw scores, such as student test scores, is normally distributed, then so are the standard score equivalents; similarly, the normal curve equivalencies indicated in Figure 12.1 for the various standard scores are accurate only if the distribution is normal. Raw scores can be transformed mathematically to insure that the distribution of standard scores will be normal. Further, standard scores can be compared only if all the derived scores are based on the raw scores of the same group (Gay, Mills, &Airasian, 2009, p. 314).
Text B:Lack of prior knowledge – we (or I) don‟t knowenough about quantitative research to grasp themeaning of the text the first time we read it. Thevocabulary in this text isn‟t difficult; it‟s theconcepts that are challenging to the readerwithout sufficient prior knowledge.The difficulty of a text depends on the amountof previous knowledge I bring to the text.
What makes a text difficult? Text C:Cavorting in the vicinity of the residential area populated by those of piscatorial avocation, the miniscule crustacean was enmeshed in a reticulated object with interstices between the intersections. (Nuttall, 2005, p. 6)
Text C:The vocabulary is difficult, therefore the „code‟ isonly partly the same as the reader. Note thatthe text is not intellectually challenging.
Background Knowledge Shared assumptions – where the circles overlap. A scientist and an architect – need to have a common language to understand each other. Our role as reading teachers is to help learners activate their background knowledge (BK) about the text topic or provide the required BK so they can comprehend the text.
Background Knowledge – an example Read this passage: The bus careered along and ended up in the hedge. Several passengers were hurt. The driver was questioned by police. (Nuttall, pp. 7-8) How do you visualize this scene? (What do you think happened? Describe the driver, the environment, the possible causes)
Background Knowledge – an exampleRead on and notice if/how „the picture‟ in your head changes: She… …was later congratulated on her quick thinking …and skillful handling …of the bus when the brakes failed.
What influences/adds to BK?one‟sculture, education, media, sex, politics, religion, moralcode, other languages, life experiences (placestravelled, work experience, social interactions)….We have background knowledge about syntax/grammatical rules and about content.
BK is often cultural knowledge As a teacher, I can anticipate that my new immigrant students will not be familiar with the issue of Quebec separatism, so I will avoid giving them a reading text on this topic OR I will: Do background teaching: issues, concepts, vocabulary Give background reading or have a thorough discussion (or lesson) on the topic before I give them the textWhat other topics might ESL students have little orknow BK about?
Schema= how we store organize our background knowledge. How we interpret a text depends on our schema (plural: schemata)= “a mental structure; abstract in that it doesn‟t related to a particular experience but rather is a culmination of our related experiences and how we have mentally organized them in our brains”See http://iteslj.org/Articles/Stott-Schema.html for a briefdiscussion about schema theory and its limitations in the context ofESL reading.
Psycholinguistic model of reading sample predict read confirm, revise We thought he was coming on the 9 o’clock flight what do you think happened to him? We thought he was coming on the9o’clock flight so now you know he didn’t come in on that flight, but on an earlier or later one? We thought he was coming on the 9 o’clock flight, but he didn’t get in until midnight. this either confirms your prediction or you have to revise it.
ReferencesGay, L. R., Mills, G. E., Airasian, P. (2009). Educational research: Competencies for analysis and applications. New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education.Nuttall, C. (2005). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. Oxford, UK: Macmillan Publishers Limited.