I wrote most of these articles and conference reports while I was doing my M.Ed.(CI). Originally put up on the website TeachAsiaOnline.com (defunct since 2009), I have decided to archive them here as I think most of the information is still relevant and useful for others. (2012) I'm now picking up where I left off to write about more recent seminars I attended.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Developing Successful Reading Strategies

(thaitesol.org)
Speaker: Mr. Stuart Vinnie 
Organised by: CUP, Bangkok 
Date: 26 October 2012 
Location: Windsor Suites, Bangkok

Mr. Vinnie stated that good readers are better writers, listeners and speakers as reading familiarises the readers with grammar, vocabulary and features of discourse. 

Through a reading text in Esperanto he showed us that by using clues like photos, numbers, familiar word roots and structure of an article
we are able to understand at least part of it. These skills are automatic and do not need to be taught. 

What we do teach the students are effective strategies for reading in a foreign language: 
1. Identifying the main idea and supporting information in a paragraph 
2. Summarising a text 
3. Understanding pronouns, reference words and phrases 
4. Reorganizing information into a chart or graphic 
5. Speculating about the content of the text and what comes next. 
Using a dictionary is not an effective strategy as it blocks the flow of the reading; instead students should guess the meaning. 

In all these strategies most time is spent on tasks and activities with the text, not on the reading itself. The time is spent before, during and after the reading. “We learn to read by reading.” 

We teach the students through “modelling of expert behaviour” like vocalising the thought process (by e.g. asking wh* questions about the text) and critical appraisal of texts (predictions, facts, inferences). Mr. Vinnie illustrated this clearly with sample materials of the CUP Strategic Reading series.

Reading texts can be further exploited through a variety of follow-up activities like expressing personal responses to the text, measuring reading speed, retelling in own words, spotting the mistakes when the teacher reads out the text etc. 

He kindly made his presentation available to the audience Developing Successful Reading Strategies.

(c) cafavier, 2012-2013

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