Developing Diverse Reading Skills

Introduction

Reading texts are some of the most important tools for teaching students different techniques of reading. According to Sriwantaneeyakul (2018), this is because they contain different vocabularies and terminologies that relate to the learner’s skills, and may have various designs that relate to the learner’s skills practice. This paper illustrates skills related a task design which aims to teach students various skills of reading. In doing so, there will be a detailed analysis and justification for every section, the first section will identify the text and justify why the text is deemed appropriate for the task. Secondly, there will be a lead-in which explains how the learners’ interest will be raised by the topic of the text. Next will be a design of the first and second reading task accompanied by a statement of which sub-skill they will help develop. Ultimately, there will be a productive skill follow-up task which focuses on the interest developed by the text.

Justification of the Text

The chosen text is meant for a pre-intermediate class which I currently teach. The text is a destination guide for Sheffield City UK and is deemed appropriate because the class is made up of students from different parts of the world and have stayed in Sheffield for a while now. Nonetheless, all the students are studying the English language for different reasons although most of them are taking the lessons for academic purposes. The text is an authentic one, and it is downloaded from the internet through the link: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk as indicated in Appendix 1.

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The advert is considered appropriate for various reasons including:

Since the advert promotes tourism around Sheffield, it is considered appropriate because it relates to all the learners as all of them are currently living within Sheffield hence, they are not only get interested in the topic but also have an interest in knowing the city they live in offers (Sriwantaneeyakul 2018).

The text is considered convenient for developing various reading sub-skills such as skimming and scanning. In doing so, it enables an easy timing of the lesson, provides a better ground for engaging the students and helps them have a quicker understanding of the sub-skills under focus. The text is also considered appropriate due to its brevity and ease to read even though it might be challenging to some students. It also contains various vocabularies such as museums, Historical sites, gardensque, and treasures that may be of interest to the students. Last but not least, the text can be used to develop various tasks such as skimming and scanning and can be manipulated to evaluate different skills from the learners.

The lead-in

The lead-in would be established by mounting pictures of places in Sheffield that may be interesting for the students to visit. The students would then be organized in paired groups to discuss the places they would like to visit Sheffield and why. I would then gain feedback by randomly asking each group to discuss their findings from the discussion. According to Howard et al (2018), feedback is important in knowing whether the technique is effective or not.

The Initial Reading Task: Skimming

In the first task, I would ask the students to skim through the text to get a gist of the topic. According to Sonmez & Sulak (2018), skimming involves reading the main ideas of a text to gain an impression of the content. Hence, in doing so, the students would be asked to read the title, headings, and subheadings. The students will also be asked to notice the pictures and read the first sentences of each paragraph. The task will run for a period of 15 minutes and the following are the questions the students are expected to answer thereafter:

What is the title of the text?
What information is given in the first paragraph?
What is the first sentence in each of the first three paragraphs?
Give examples of the headings and subheadings of the study
What pictures did you notice in the text?
How is the summary of the last paragraph?

The Second Reading Task: Scanning

Savaskan & Ozdemir (2017) defines scanning as the practice of reading a text quickly to gain specific information from the text. Against this backdrop, the second task will involve a thorough scanning or in-depth reading, where the students will be asked to scan through the text for a longer period and identify specific information that answers the following questions:

Which is the largest urban glasshouse in Europe? Which building is one of Sheffield’s oldest buildings? What are some of the visual arts featured in the grave’s gallery? Which is one of the best museums to let children explore in Sheffield? When was Sheffield city’s botanical garden opened? Which is the best place to find shops, quirky gifts, and crafts in Sheffield city? What are the three unique sites in Sheffield? Specifically, this task aims to teach the students scanning techniques useful in gaining a deeper meaning from longer texts especially in comprehension reading (Ulu 2017). Hence, upon completing this task, students will be able to have an in-depth reading of a text and gain specific information required by an evaluator.

Follow-up Activity

The second task will be followed by a question and answer (Q & A) session to gain feedback (Ulu 2017). In the Q&A session, I will ask the students to put away the text and ask them to speak out some of the main ideas they have gained from the skimming and scanning practice.

Rationale

The initial stage of this task is the lead-in, which is meant to set the stage and introduce the students to the task. This will enable the establishment of the theme of tourism and intrigue their interest in reading more about Sheffield as a tourist destination. The second stage is meant to introduce the students to skimming as reading sub-skill, where students perform an overview reading of the text to get its gist (Ulu 2017). The second reading task focuses on deeper details of the text. Hence, the students will be required to read the text and answer the specific questions that test their understanding of the content. Moreover, the questions are not only meant to be answered but to challenge the students to find out more information from the text. Nevertheless, the task should be distinguished from the first task because the students are required to search for specific information from the texts which answers the questions presented to them (Savaskan & Ozdemir 2017). The last task asks students to speak out some of the main points gained from skimming and scanning the text. It is meant to evaluate the student’s learning and how they can demonstrate the acquired knowledge through spoken language (Sonmez & Sulak 2018). The idea is to enable them to to practice their fluency in expressing the knowledge they have acquired through reading.

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References

  • Howard, C, Moret, L, Faulconer, J, Cannon, T, & Tomlin, A 2018, 'Preparing for College Success: Exploring Undergraduate Students' Perceptions of the Benefits of a College Reading and Study Skills Course through Action Research', Networks: An Online Journal For Teacher Research, 20, 1.
  • Sriwantaneeyakul, S 2018, 'Critical Reading Skills and Translation Ability of Thai EFL Students: Pragmatic, Syntactic, and Semantic Aspects', English Language Teaching, 11, 4, pp. 1-14.
  • Sönmez, Y, & Sulak, S 2018, 'The Effect of the Thinking-Aloud Strategy on the Reading Comprehension Skills of 4th Grade Primary School Students', Universal Journal Of Educational Research, 6, 1, pp. 168-172.
  • Savaskan, V, & Özdemir, A 2017, 'Determining the Variables That Affect the Reading Motivation of Educational Faculty Students', Educational Research And Reviews, 12, 13, pp. 660-676.
  • Ulu, M 2017, 'The Effect of Reading Comprehension and Problem Solving Strategies on Classifying Elementary 4th Grade Students with High and Low Problem Solving Success', Journal Of Education And Training Studies, 5, 6, pp. 44-63.
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