Reading is the receptive skill in the written mode. It can develop independently of listening and speaking skills, but often develops along with them, especially in societies with a highly-developed literary tradition. Reading can help build vocabulary that helps listening comprehension at the later stages, particularly.
Micro-skills involved in reading. The reader has to:
• decipher the script. In an alphabetic system or a syllabary, this means establishing a relationship between sounds and symbols. In a pictograph system, it means associating the meaning of the words with written symbols. • recognize vocabulary.
• pick out key words, such as those identifying topics and main ideas. • figure out the meaning of the words, including unfamiliar vocabulary, from the (written) context. • recognize grammatical word classes: noun, adjective, etc. • detect sentence constituents, such as subject, verb, object, prepositions, etc. • recognize basic syntactic patterns.
• reconstruct and infer situations, goals and participants. • use both knowledge of the world and lexical and grammatical cohesive devices to make the foregoing inferences, predict outcomes, and infer links and connections among the parts of the text. • get the main point or the most important information. • distinguish the main idea from supporting details.
• adjust reading strategies to different reading purposes, such as skimming
Why is reading skill is so important?
Reading is one of the skills most crucial for a child’s success in school and in life. If children don’t learn to read with comprehension early enough, their education is at risk. If they don’t learn to read effortlessly enough to render reading pleasurable, their chances for a fulfilling life--by any measure, whether academic achievement, financial stability or job skills--are tremendously diminished.
How to improve reading skill:
Teaching reading can be an arduous task as it is often difficult to know how to improve student skills. One of the most obvious, but often unnoticed, points about reading is that there are different types of reading skills. • Skimming - reading rapidly for the main points
• Scanning - reading rapidly to find a specific piece of information • Extensive - reading a longer text, often for pleasure with emphasis on overall meaning • Intensive reading - reading a short text for detailed information These different types of skills are used quite naturally when reading in a mother tongue. Unfortunately, when learning a second or foreign language, people tend to employ only "intensive" style reading skills. I have often noticed that students insist on understanding every word and find it difficult to take my advice of reading for the general idea, or only looking for required information. Students studying a foreign language often feel that if they don't understand each and every word they are somehow not completing the exercise. In order to make students aware of these different types of reading styles, it is useful to provide an awareness raising lesson to help them identify reading skills they already apply when reading in their native tongues. Thus, when approaching an English text, students should first identify what type of reading skill needs to be applied to the specific text at hand. In this way valuable skills, which students already possess, are easily transferred to their English reading. Outline:
• Ask students about what types of reading they do in their own mother tongue(s). • Write different categories of written material on board. i.e. magazines, novels, train schedules, newspapers, advertising, etc. • Have students describe how they go about reading each kind of material. You may want to prompt them by asking the following questions: o Do you read every word in the tv schedule?
o Do you understand every word you read when reading a novel?...
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