Improvising Reading Skill in English Language Classrooms

Topics: Second language, French language, English language Pages: 5 (1664 words) Published: January 28, 2011
The ever-growing need for good communication skills in English has created a huge demand for English teaching around the world. Millions of people today want to improve their command of English or to ensure that their children achieve a good command of English. And opportunities to learn English are provided in many different ways such as through formal instruction, travel, and too many Spoken English Classes, as well as through the media and the Internet. The worldwide demand for English has created an enormous demand for quality language teaching and language teaching materials and resources. Learners set themselves demanding goals. Of all the four skills, Learners get the bad image easily through reading. INTRODUCTION

Reading is a complex activity. The goal of reading is “to construct text meaning based on visually encoded information” (Koda, 2007, p.1). In first language (L1) reading, readers use only one language, whereas in second language (L2) reading, learners have at least two languages to deal with. The former group is limited in their linguistic knowledge. They do not have cultural and social knowledge they do not necessarily retain previous knowledge, which is the basis of understanding English. They study English for a variety of reasons; they use both L1 and L2. This study focuses on second language reading for English language learners. It aims to present the challenging issues English language learners face in developing their English reading skills and to suggest recommendations for teachers of English language learners for better instruction.

TO define reading, it is nothing but construction of the meaning of the oral or written messages. Readers make up for their insufficient understanding of the messages by using “bottom-up” and “top-down” approaches (Stanovich, 1980). Bottom-up approaches are processes where readers focus on letters, sounds, syllables, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. The process of constructing the meaning begins with the written words. In other words, students with this approach begin by focusing on smaller parts of the texts. Often, they do not get the whole meaning of the text. This is because: •Students don't have an opinion on the subject

Students have an opinion, but are worried about what the other students might say or think •Students have an opinion, but don't feel they can say exactly what they mean •Students begin giving their opinion, but want to state it in the same eloquent manner that they are capable of in their native language

On the other hand, top-down approaches are the opposite of bottom-up approaches. Rather than focusing on individual words or analyzing how each word is structured, readers emphasize the whole text passage and look for key information by activating previous knowledge and compensating for meanings of unknown vocabulary. Reading involves the ability of understanding the intended messages of a text. Reading is based on using the appropriate meaning-making processes from the printed messages. For example, reading comprehension involves the passage, the reader, and the context. Readers construct meanings with various approaches, such as using background knowledge, analyzing words, inferring the text, and identifying key vocabulary or information.

Another challenging issue English language learners are struggling with is their insufficient English vocabulary knowledge (García, 2003). Having rich vocabulary knowledge is another key element to better reading (Hudson, 2007). L2 readers need to develop their English vocabulary capacity in depth and width. Certain words in the English language can have more than one meaning and confuse English-language learners because they do not consider the meaning of the word in the contexts. One example is the word of “table.” “Table” in the following sentence, “We sit around the breakfast table,” means “a piece of furniture.” The same word in...
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