This article sets out the methodological foundations for teaching reading of English language in the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classroom.
Key words: reading, skimming, scanning, content, vocabulary, key words, brainstorming, concept-oriented reading instruction (CORI), cohesion, question types, text types.
Reading is a complex process of language activity. Since this is closely related to reading comprehension, reading is a complex intellectual work. This requires the reader to be able to perform a few mental operations: analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, comparison.
Reading is not only an end in itself; it is also a means of learning a foreign language. Reading the text, the student looks through sounds and letters, vocabulary and grammar, remembers the spelling of words, the meaning of words and phrases, he also looks at the grammar and, thus, improves his knowledge of the target language. The more the student reads, the better he retains the language material. If a teacher teaches his students good reading, and they can read with sufficient fluency and full understanding, he also helps them acquire speech and writing skills. Therefore, reading is both the goal to be achieved and the means to achieve this goal.
- Theoretical background
Reading is one of the basic skills that a student must acquire in the process of mastering a foreign language at school. The foreign language curriculum considers reading to be one of the leading language classes to be developed. It reads: “to read without a dictionary texts containing familiar grammatical material and not more than 4–6 unfamiliar words per 100 words of text, the meaning of which, as a rule, should be clear from the context or the familiar word — building elements (in an eight-year school). Students should read simple texts using a dictionary containing familiar grammar material and 6–8 unfamiliar words per 100 words of text (in a ten-year school). Therefore, reading is one of the practical goals of teaching a foreign language in schools.
Reading is of great educational importance, since reading is a means of «communication», people get the information they need from books, magazines, magazines, newspapers, etc. Thanks to reading in a foreign language, the student enriches his knowledge about the world around him. He gets to know countries where the target language is spoken.
Reading as a process is associated with the work of visual, kinesthetic, auditory analyzers and thinking. The visual analyzer works when the readers see the text. When they see the text, they “voice” it silently; therefore, a kinesthetic analyzer is involved. When they read the text, they hear what they say in their inner speech, so that it shows that the auditory analyzer is not passive, it also works, and finally, thanks to the work of all analyzers, the reader can understand thoughts. In learning to read, one of the goals is to minimize the activity of kinesthetic and auditory analyzers, so that the reader can connect what he sees with the thought expressed in the reading material, since the inner speech interferes with the reading process, making it very slow. Thus, the speed of reading depends on the ability of the reader to establish a direct connection between what he sees and what it means.
Reading develops students' intelligence. It helps to develop their memory, will, imagination. Students are used to working with books, which, in turn, facilitates independent practice of further reading. The content of the texts, their ideological and political spirit affect students. We must develop in students such qualities as honesty, devotion and love for our people and the working people of other countries, the texts that our students must read must comply with these requirements. Therefore, the ability to read has not only great practical, but also educational and social significance.
- How to teach reading skills in the classroom
Intensive and extensive reading. In the literature, a distinction is made between two forms of reading: intensive and extensive reading. Intensive reading involves deconstructing the text. The goal is to get as much information as possible. By reading carefully, we take care of every detail associated with the text. Students are encouraged to do vocabulary and grammar to better understand the text. Extensive reading, however, refers to simple reading as much as possible without touching every detail. Sometimes unknown words should not attract too much attention, because the focus is on the general meaning. That is, vast readers seek words only when they consider that it is necessary for their understanding of the text.
Top-down vs bottom-up processing. Top-down processing refers to the use of background knowledge to predict the meaning of text to read or listen to. For example, readers develop hypotheses about the content of the text, which they must confirm or reject while reading. Thus, obtaining information is based on prior knowledge and expectations of a person. However, bottom-up processing is based on real words or sounds. That is, students construct meaning from the most basic units of the language, including letters, letter clusters, and words. Teachers who encourage bottom-up processing emphasize decoding skills. They are not interested in teaching students to understand what they, as readers, have understood to understand the text.
Reading strategies. A reading strategy is a conscious plan that good readers take to understand a text. By learning about these targeted strategies, students can fully control reading comprehension. Accordingly, teachers should teach students reading skills, such as.
– Setting a purpose,
– Asking questions,
– Connecting to background knowledge,
– Paying attention to text structure
– Guessing words from context,
– Reflecting on the text and reacting to it.
Text type. Gaining knowledge of the type of text is another area in which trainees should be trained. They should be able to distinguish between genres of texts: emails, reports, stories, newspaper articles, scientific texts.
Over the years, comprehension has been the only reason for reading. Without understanding, reading is a disappointing, pointless exercise in calling words. It is not an exaggeration to say that how well students develop their ability to understand what they read has a profound effect on their entire lives. Learning to understand followed what the study called the procedure for mentioning, practicing, and evaluating when teachers mentioned a specific skill by filling out the pages of a workbook. It is likely that training in the spirit of basic reading skills and research-based methodological approaches will improve teacher practice to such an extent that it will be obvious in obtaining results for their students.
- Abraham, P. (2000) Skilled Reading: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, Field Notes, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Fall 2000)Publisher: SABES/World Education, Boston, MA, Copyright 2000. Retrieved from http://www.sabes.org/sites/sabes.org/files/resources/fn102.pdf on August, 18 2017.
- Anderson, R. C., Hiebert, E. H., Scott, J. A., & Wilkinson, I. A. G. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers: The report of the commission on reading. Washington, D. C.: National Institute of Education.
- Chambers, F. and Brigham, A. 1989. Summary writing: a short cut to success. English Teaching Forum 27, 1: 43–45.
- Guthrie, J.R. 2003. Concept-oriented reading instruction. In A. Sweet and C. Snow (eds) Rethinking reading comprehension. New York: Guilford Press: 115–140.