Friday, 27 July 2012

Reading #4: Reading Matters by Adrian Tennant

Tennant wisely points out one of the differences between reading in the L1 and reading in your L2. In our L1 we naturally use strategies to comprehend the reading, but we may not be aware of what strategies we use and at what time. Consequently, it is very important for L2 teacher to teach reading strategies to students. For example, my adult students need to learn to access their background knowledge before and while reading because they have a lot of life experience and general knowledge in their L1, but they need to transfer that to their L2. A KWL is a great activity for that.

 One of the most common errors that L2 students make is to try to understand every word. Many of my students translate every word in a reading in order to try to understand the reading. However, that takes a long time and the reader misses out on the whole meaning of the sentence by looking at every word. Students need to learn to use context clues. I have used some reading books such as Reading Power by Linda Jeffries to teach students to use context clues, but I really like Tennant's suggestion of blanking out some of the words in a text, and having students predict the words that go in the blanks.

Thirdly, he informs teachers to be aware of the writer's point of view in the text because the writer had a reason for composing the piece. Being aware of the writer's point of view is important because students need to learn critical thinking skills even in their L2. They need to be aware of bias, and various points of view. For example, many people opposed slavery and all of its injustices, but I think that students should learn how slavery was beneficial for some Americans too. They need to be able to question the writer's point of view and come to their own conclusions.

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