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Teaching Reading


Teaching Reading Post-reading activities Post-reading tasks should provide the students with opportunities to relate what they have read to what they already know or ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Teaching Reading

Teaching Reading
Teaching Reading
  • Topics for discussion
  • How do people read?
  • What do people read?
  • What are the skills involved in reading?
  • Principles for teaching reading
  • Common types of activities in teaching reading

For the responses of the author of the book,
please see pp. 185-6
The nature of reading
Reading aloud Silent reading
Manner Utterance of every word Silent
Speed Usually slow Usually fast
Purpose Usually to share information Usually to get information
Skills involved Pronunciation and intonation Skimming, scanning, predicting Guessing unknown words Understanding details Understanding relations between sentences and between paragraphs Understanding references Understanding inferences
Activity type Collective activity Individual activity
Management in the classroom Easy to manage as it can be observed and heard Difficult to manage as teachers cannot see what is going on in the students minds
What do effective readers do?
  • Effective readers
  • have a clear purpose in reading
  • read silently
  • read phrase by phrase, rather than word by word
  • concentrate on the important bits, skim the rest,
    and skip the insignificant parts
  • use different speeds and strategies for different
    reading tasks
  • perceive the information in the target language
    rather than mentally translate
  • guess the meaning of new words from the context,
    or ignore them
  • have and use background information to help
    understand the text.

What do we read?
  • We believe ESL/EFL reading textbooks should have
    a great variety of authentic materials, as much
    as the coverage allows. Of course, textbooks
    should always be supplemented by extra materials.
  • A list of things we read in daily life

Calendars Clothes size labels Magazines
Addresses Graffiti on walls Radio/TV guides
Phone books Childrens scribbling Advertisements
Name cards Informa1 letters Posters
Bank statements Business letters Travel guides
Credit cards Rules and regulations Cookbooks
Maps Electronic mail Repair manuals
Anecdotes Telegrams Memos
Weather forecast Fax messages Time schedules
Pamphlets Junk mail Street signs
Product labels Postcards Syllabi
Washing instructions Credit cards Journal articles
Short stories Comic books Song lyrics
Novels Newspapers Film subtitles
Plays Diplomas Diagrams
Poems Application forms Flowcharts
Handbooks Store catalogues Name tags
(adapted from Gebhard 1996189) (adapted from Gebhard 1996189) (adapted from Gebhard 1996189)
  • It is important for ESL/EFL teachers to bear in
    mind what we read in real life, so that when we
    select reading materials for our ESL/EFL
    classroom, we not only have a greater variety but
    also meet the needs of different students.

  • Besides authentic texts, ESL/EFL textbooks also
    employ a lot of non-authentic texts, i.e.
    simulated text. Simulated texts are aimed for
    beginner students who are probably not able to
    handle genuine authentic text. It is believed
    that the reading of such texts will help students
    to acquire the necessary receptive skills they
    will need when they eventually come to tackle
    authentic materials (Harmer, 1983).

Skills involved in reading comprehension
  • Two broad levels in reading
  • Visual signal from the eyes
  • A cognitive task of interpreting the visual
    information, relating the received information
    with the readers own general knowledge, and
    reconstructing the meaning that the writer had
    meant to convey.

Visual signal
Writers meaning
Readers knowledge
Visual information
Readers reconstruction
Skills needed in reading
  • Recognising the script of a language
  • Understanding the explicitly stated information
  • Understanding conceptual meaning
  • Understanding the communicative value (function)
    of sentences
  • Deducing the meaning of unfamiliar lexical items
  • -

  • Understanding relations within sentences
  • Understanding references
  • Recognising indicators in discourse
  • Recognising the organization of the text
  • Making inferences.

Strategic skills needed in reading
  • Distinguishing the main idea from supporting
  • Skimming reading for the gist or main idea
  • Scanning reading to look for specific
  • Predicting guessing what is coming next

Principles and models for teaching reading
  • Principles for teaching reading
  • The texts and tasks should be accessible to the
  • Tasks should be clearly given in advance.
  • Tasks should be designed to encourage reading for
    the main meaning rather than test the students
    understanding of trivial details.
  • Tasks should help develop students reading
    skills and strategies rather than test their
    reading comprehension.
  • Teachers should help the students to read on
    their own, so that they eventually become
    independent readers.

Models for teaching reading
  • The Bottom-up Model
  • The Top-down Model
  • The Interactive Model

The Bottom-up Model
  • This model of teaching reading is based on the
    theory in which reading (and listening, too) is
    regarded as a process of decoding, which moves
    from the bottom to the top of the system of

The Bottom-up Model
Discourses Sentences/ Phrases Words Morphemes Phon
Linguistic knowledge is used.
  • In the Bottom-up Model, the teacher teaches
    reading by introducing vocabulary and new words
    first and then going over the text sentence by
    sentence. This is followed by some questions and
    answers and reading aloud practice.

The Top-down Model
  • This model of teaching reading is based on the
    theory in which reading is regarded as a
    prediction-check process, a psycholinguistic
    guessing game (Goodman, 1970).
  • In the Top-down Model, not only linguistic
    knowledge but also background knowledge is
    involved in reading.

The Top-down Model
Discourses Sentences/ Phrases Words Morphemes Phon
Linguistic Knowledge Background Knowledge
The Top-down Model
  • Therefore, it is believed that in teaching
    reading, the teacher should teach the background
    knowledge first, so that students equipped with
    such knowledge will be able to guess meaning from
    the printed page.

The Interactive Model
  • This model of teaching reading is based on the
    theory in which reading is viewed as an
    interactive process.

  • According to the Interactive Model of reading
    (also called as the Schema Theory Model), when
    one is reading, the brain receives visual
    information, and at the same time, interprets or
    reconstructs the meaning that the writer had in
    mind when he wrote the text. This process does
    not only involve the printed page but also the
    readers knowledge of the language in general, of
    the world, and of the text types.

The Interactive Model
Discourses Sentences/ Phrases Words Morphemes Phon
Schemata to be activated the schema of
language the schema of content the schema of
The Interactive Model
  • Based on such understanding, teaching reading in
    the classroom divides reading activities into
    basically three stages, in which bottom-up and
    top-down techniques are integrated to help
    students in their reading comprehension and in
    increasing their language efficiency in general.

  • The three stages are pre-reading, while-reading,
    and post-reading.

Pre-reading activities
  • The purpose of pre-reading (also called Lead-in)
    is to facilitate while-reading activities.
  • predicting,
  • setting the scene,
  • skimming, and
  • scanning

  • Predicting will get the readers mind closer to
    the theme of the text.
  • Ways of predicting
  • predicting based on the title,
  • predicting based on vocabulary,
  • predicting based on the T/F questions.

Predicting based on the title
  • A Nation of Pet-Lovers
  • Save the Jungle Save the World
  • Police Hunt for Child

If the students are not good at predicting, the
teacher can help them by asking certain
  • Text 1 What is a pet? What are pets for? Why do
    people love pets? Are there any problems with
  • Text 2 What is a jungle? Where can you find
    jungles? What do you think has happened to the
  • Text 3 What happened to the child? How do you
    think the parents would feel? What could the
    police do?

Predicting based on vocabulary
  • Having made predictions based on the title,
    students can be asked to predict some lexical
    items that they think are likely to occur in the
    text. Then the students read the text to confirm
    their predictions.
  • A variation of this prediction activity is that
    the teacher provides students with a list of
    words, and asks the students to predict which of
    the words are used in the text, and to read the
    text and confirm their predictions.

Predicting based on the T/F questions
  • e.g. Reading How to behave at a job interview

(p. 120) (For the text please see pp. 193-4.) Before reading After reading
Always try to please the interviewer.
Do not try to dominate the interviewer.
Never interrupt the interviewer.
If necessary, disagree with the interviewer.
Never change your mind.
Always try to please the interviewer.
Setting the scene
  • Setting the scene means getting the students
    familiar with the cultural and social background
    knowledge relevant to the reading text.
  • The culture-bound aspect of the text can start at
    the beginning with the title. e.g.

  • The culture-bound aspects of a text are often of
    great interest to students, and they can be used
    to provoke an interesting discussion not only
    about the other culture, but also about the
    home culture. (e.g. Eskimos, p.121)

  • Eskimos love in the polar areas between latitude
    66 N and the North Pole. There are Eskimos in
    Northern Canada, Greenland and Siberia. This
    means that they are the only people who have
    their origins both in the Old World (Europe an
    Asia) and in the new world (America).
  • It is difficult to make an accurate estimate but
    there are probably about 50,000 Eskimos. Eskimos
    are not usually tall but they have powerful legs
    and shoulders they have a yellowish skin and
    straight black are. Eskimos have a common
    language and can understand members of another
    group although they may come from many thousands
    of miles away. The most important unit in Eskimo
    society is the family. Marriage is by mutual
    consent the Eskimos do not have a special
    marriage ceremony.
  • In the Eskimo community, the m0st important
    people are the older man. They control the
    affairs of the group. The economic system of the
    Eskimo communities works like a commune they
    share almost everything. Eskimos live by hunting,
    fishing and trapping. When they go to hunt seals,
    they sail in Kayaks (light boats made from skins)
    and when they hunt animals, they travel across
    the ice in sleds pulled by teams of dogs. The
    Eskimo snow house is very well known, but, in
    fact, Eskimos usually live in houses made of wood
    and turf. When they are not hunting and working,
    Eskimos like to carve they use ivory and wood
    and they often make very beautiful objects.

  • Skimming means reading quickly to get the gist,
    i.e. the main idea of the text.
  • Some suggestions
  • Ask general questions. e.g. Why did the writer
    write the article?
  • Ask the students to choose a statement from 3-4
  • Ask the students to put subtitles for different
    parts of the text into the right order. e.g.

Headings Where can we put it?
  • Confirming Action
  • Greetings
  • Interrupting without insult
  • Closing the call
  • Getting to the point

  • Top tips for telephone English
  • If you're looking for a challenging situation to
    practice your English, just pick up the
    telephone. Not being able to see the person
    you're talking to and the body language they're
    using can make chatting on the phone one of the
    most difficult forms of communication. Never
    fear, though! We've compiled some tips to guide
    you through an average telephone conversation in

  • (Which heading should be here?)
  • Every phone call should begin with a polite
    greeting such as, Hi, how've you been? or Nice to
    hear from you. Even if you're calling a business
    contact for a specific purpose, it'd be rude to
    jump right into business without a little small
    talk at the beginning.

  • (Which heading should be here?)
  • There always comes the point, however, where you
    want to move on from friendly banter and get down
    to business. For this situation, use the phrase
    I'm just calling to ... to transition to the
    topic at hand. For example, I'm just calling to
    see if you'd like to set up a meeting. If the
    situation is reversed, however, and you are
    waiting to find out why someone called you, you
    can guide the conversation by saying, So what can
    I do for you?

  • (Which heading should be here?)
  • If you happen to be speaking with a very
    talkative person, it may be difficult to get a
    word in edgewise or contribute to the
    conversation. If someone is going on and on, and
    you'd like to interrupt, be sure to do it
    politely. For example, begin with I would like to
    say something here, if I may or Allow me to make
    a point. Or, you could just ask May I interrupt
    you for a second?
  • If you're making plans on the phone, be sure to
    confirm the details toward the end of the call.
    Begin with phrases like Please let me confirm...
    and So, let me make sure I've got things
    straight... and follow up with the details as you
    understand them.

  • (Which heading should be here?)
  • Sometimes this can be the trickiest part of the
    conversation! It may be the time to offer some
    good wishes, such as good luck on that interview
    or hope you feel better soon if it's appropriate.
    Additionally, you may want to confirm any plans
    you've made I'll see you on Friday, then.
    Sometimes it's easiest to just say you enjoyed
    speaking to the other person. Also, keep in mind
    that strategically saying the word well at the
    beginning of a sentence can indicate that you are
    ready to end the conversation Well John, it's
    been a pleasure talking to you.

  • Scanning means to read to locate specific
  • The key point in scanning is that the reader has
    something in his mind and he or she should ignore
    the irrelevant parts when reading.

  • Questions for a scanning activity are often about
    specific information.
  • We can also ask students to scan for vocabulary.
  • We can pre-teach some words within the semantic
    area of the theme. This does not mean that we are
    teaching reading following a Bottom-up model,
    because the schema of content is activated after
    the students have scanned the text.

  • We can also ask students to scan for certain
    structures, e.g. tense forms, discourse
    connectors, particular sentence structures.

Something to bear in mind when conducting scanning
  • Set a time limit.
  • Give clear instructions.
  • Wait until 70 of the students finish.
  • Make clear how you are going to get feedback.
  • Answers to the scanning questions should be
    scattered throughout the text rather than
    clustered at one place.

While-reading activities
  • While-reading activities focus on the process of
    understanding rather than the result of reading.
  • Information transfer activities
  • Reading comprehension questions
  • Understanding references
  • Making inferences

Information transfer activities using transition
  • Transition device A way to transfer information
    from one form, e.g. the text form, to another,
    e.g. a visual form.

Sophisticated Input (SI)
Transition Device (TD)
Output (OP)
Transition devices can be used to make
information in text form effectively processed
and retained.
Some transition devices
  • Pictures, drawings, maps, tables, tree diagrams,
    cyclic diagrams, pie charts, bar charts, flow
    charts, chronological sequence, subtitles
    (providing subtitles), notes (taking notes while
    reading), etc.

Bar chart
Pie chart
Examples of using transition devices
  • Example 1
  • Read the following passage and complete the
    table, which compares the two earthquakes.

At 513 on the morning of April 18th, 1906, they city of San Francisco was shaken by a terrible earthquake. A great part of the city was destroyed and a large number of buildings were burnt. The umber of people who lost their homes reached as many as 250 000. About 700 people died in the earthquake and the fires. Another earthquake shook San Francisco on October 17th, 1989. It was Americas second strongest earthquake and about 100 people were killed. It happened in the evening as people were travelling home. A wide and busy road, which was built like a bridge over another road, fell onto the one below. Many people were killed in the cars, but a few lucky ones were not hurt. Luckily the 1989 earthquake did not happen in the centre of town but about 50 kilometres away. In one part of the town a great may buildings were destroyed. These buildings were over 50 years old, so they were not strong enough. There were a lot of fires all over the city. The electricity was cut of for several days too.
Time Date Location Number of people killed Damage
Earthquake in 1906
Earthquake in 1989
  • It is important that students fill in the table
    while they are reading rather than after they
    finish reading.
  • Then a follow-up output activity can be conducted
    based on the results.
  • e.g.
  • The teacher can ask questions like Which
    earthquake caused more damage and why?

Example 2
Summary on transition devices
  • The purposes of TDs
  • Focus on the main meaning.
  • Simplify sophisticated input.
  • Allow students to perform while reading.
  • Highlight the main structural organization, and
    show how the structure relates to meaning.
  • Involve all students.
  • Go step by step.
  • Conduct follow-up activities for oral and written

Reading comprehension questions
  • Questions for literal comprehension. (Answers
    directly and explicitly available in the text)
  • Questions involving reorganization or
    reinterpretation. (Require Ss to obtain literal
    information from various parts of the text and
    put it together or reinterpret it)
  • Questions for inferences. (what is not explicitly
    stated but implied)
  • -

  • Questions for evaluation or appreciation. (making
    a judgement about the text in terms of what the
    writer is trying to convey)
  • Questions for personal responses. (readers
    reaction to the content of the text)

Understanding references
  • All natural language, spoken or written, uses
    referential word such as pronouns to refers to
    people or things already mentioned previously in
    the context.
  • e.g.

(No Transcript)
Making inferences
  • Making inferences means reading between the
    lines, which requires the reader to use
    background knowledge in order to infer the
    implied meaning of the author.
  • e.g. What can you infer from the following?

  • Blandida is a country which has every climatic
    condition known to man.
  • When she came into the room, the large crowd grew
  • The painting had been in the family for years,
    but sadly Bill realised he would have to sell it.

Post-reading activities
  • Post-reading tasks should provide the students
    with opportunities to relate what they have read
    to what they already know or what they feel.
  • In addition, post-reading task should enable
    students to produce language based on what they
    have learned.
  • e.g.

(No Transcript)
Discussion questions
  • Do you think he was a good doctor?
  • How do you think the young man felt?

Reproducing the text
  • Tell part of the story from these prompts
  • A doctor village annoyed.
  • People stop street advice.
  • Never paid never money made up his mind
    put and end

Role Play
  • 1. Act out the conversation between the doctor
    and the young man.
  • 2. Act out an interview between a journalist and
    the doctor.

  • One day the doctor ________ by a young man. The
    doctor _________ to be interested. He felt the
    young man __________ in the street with his
    tongue ______ out.

False summary
  • The teacher provides a summary with some wrong
    information, and asks the students to correct it.

  • Writing based on what the students have read,
    e.g. producing a tourist brochure, an
    advertisement, a short summary, etc.

  • The teaching of reading should focus on
    developing students reading skills and
    strategies rather than testing students reading
  • We should view reading as an interactive process.
  • Reading in the classroom can be divided into 3
    stages pre-reading activities, while-reading
    activities, and post-reading activities.
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