Effective stratergies on improving reading comprehension

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SỞ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO NAM ĐỊNH TRƯỜNG THPT CHUYÊN LÊ HỒNG PHONG CHUYÊN ĐỀ BÁO CÁO HỘI THẢO CỤM ĐỒNG BẰNG DUYÊN HẢI BẮC BỘ LẦN THỨ VIII CHUYÊN ĐỀ SỐ 2: EFFECTIVE STRATERGIES ON IMPROVING READING COMPREHENSION Tác giả: Trần Thị Hà Trần Thị Phượng Trần Thị Hồng Nhóm Tiếng Anh Trường THPT chuyên Lê Hồng Phong- Nam Định Nam Định, ngày 20 tháng năm 2014 TABLE OF CONTENT Activities Activities 5.3 Post-reading: 15 PART A INTRODUCTION Rationale In terms of opportunities, nationally, it can be seen that, foreign language education policy and accompanying student attitudes and motivation have become crucial issues in the national development of Vietnam over the past twenty years Social changes have resulted in the changes in foreign language learning and teaching This choice of English, in particular, has greatly influenced education, especially secondary school English has become a compulsory subject in the state examination In addition to the aim of passing their exams and getting some further studies for their future life, students have a desire to be integrated into the cultures to acquire human’s civilization Learning English means learning four related skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing Among these, reading seems to be the leading activity in the process of teaching and learning and it accounts for roughly 30% of total marks in the national exams Reading comprehension is a skill that is learned over time It requires the reader to be able to read fluently, stay focused, and think critically about the book or text in question Unfortunately, many students struggle comprehending texts Some cannot discern the main ideas from the details while others have a hard time understanding what the book is even talking about Therefore, helping students increase their reading comprehension is a key to their educational success or failure As a matter of fact, the question of how to teach reading effectively has been of great concern In this article, I would like to share with you all some of my strategies to help improve reading comprehension Aims: -Show out the importance of mastering reading comprehension -Provide some suggestions for improvement of reading comprehension for high school students PART B: DEVELOPMENT Roles of reading in language learning and teaching Reading plays an indispensable role in people’s lives It is a way to acquire knowledge and experience Through reading, knowledge has greatly contributed to the growth of mankind Reading is the fastest and simplest way to raise people’s educational level (Hung & Tzeng, 2001) Reading is like opening the door of understanding to human’s past, where it can serve as a looking glass for our present Reading also stimulates the development of brain cells, reinforces language skills, and enhances organizational abilities Where there is little reading, there will be little language learning (Bright and Gregor (1970, p.5253) In fact, the students who want to learn English as a foreign language has to explore the knowledge of it by reading a lot or throwing himself into a created English speaking environment Only by reading can students acquire the speed and the skills needed for their practical purposes It is difficult in the modern world to anything other than a basic job without being able to read Reading as a skill is the key to an educated workforce, which in turn is the bedrock of economic advancement, particularly in the present technological age Additionally, reading helps form other language skills such as listening, speaking and writing Reading is the best way for students to get used to new vocabulary, concepts, grammar and structures in reading materials The students know how to use them in listening, speaking and writing in a right context and have further practice of the language during the process of learning Through reading, students can understand the use of words and structures in their written forms as well as the connecting devices that link them together Reading comprehension is closely interrelated with other language skills “ There are few cases in real life when we not talk or write about what we have read or when we not relate what we have read to something we might have heard” (Frangoise Grellet-1982, p8) A special relationship exists between listening and reading, which are both receptive phases of language, as opposed to productive phases of speaking and writing In reading lesson, students have to listen to the teacher’s explanations and guidance and answer the questions They also have to listen to their friends’ opinions and exchange theirs with other’s Sometimes, they have to listen to necessary information extracted from the debates or discussions to support and defend their own ideas; therefore, reading is not only aimed at improving the student’s reading skill but their listening skill as well During a reading lesson, students may share what they have read with the partners by discussing, exchanging and arguing In this way speaking is helpful for students to understand the text and at the same time to improve their speaking skill “The connection between reading and writing is particularly strong Both reading and writing are basically constructive process” (Roe and Ross.1998, p22) For a reading- related activity, written work is an effective way in checking student’s reading comprehension After reading the reading text, teachers have students write a summary, reflection or take notes of what they have read As a result, they can use interesting main points in their writing paper later on In conclusion, during the reading lessons, an emphasis is placed on the reading activities, but reading comprehension should not be separated from the other skills The four skills must be interrelated to master a foreign language The nature of reading comprehension There exist different views and definitions of reading comprehension Jermery Harmer (1983, p15) states that “Reading is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain The eyes receive messages and the brain then has to work out the significance of these messages” According to Eddie Williams (1984, p.3) “Reading is a process whereby one looks at and understands what has been written” Some have taken the position that reading involves merely the decoding of graphic symbols and the production of meaning Though there are several and varied definitions of reading, most of us would come to conclusion that reading without understanding is meaningless Reading comprehension has the nature of communication, in which reading acts as means of communication between the writer and the reader Reading comprehension is, in fact, a language processes, not the sum of various decoding and comprehension sub skills In short, reading is the process of reconstructing the author’s ideas and information In a reading lesson at school, the text is decoded by the students and the product of reading act is communication, their understanding of ideas that have been put in print by the writer As a means of communication, reading is a means of communicating with friends and teacher at school For example, summarizing a text, taking notes of main points in the text or making comments on it in a sheet of paper then comparing with the partners are some useful follow-up activities after reading Kinds of reading comprehension One of the most important points to keep in mind when teaching and learning reading comprehension is that there is not one type of reading but several according to one’s purposes for reading Students will never be good readers unless they can adapt their reading skills to their aims when reading In considering the reading process, it is important to distinguish the reading activities according to manners and purposes of reading According to manners, it can be classified into -Silent reading -Reading aloud According to purposes, it can be divided into -Intensive reading -Extensive reading -Scanning -Skimming 3.1 According to manners of reading 3.1.1 Silent reading Silent reading is “the ability we normally engage in when we read books, newspapers, road signs, etc It involves looking at black marks on paper and understanding the messages they convey” (Doff 1988) Silent reading is widely used in real life in which we not read every word aloud The eyes run from left to right, top to bottom to receive the graphic forms of printed materials and decode them in mind Silent reading is good for reading comprehension because: -Firstly, students can all read at their own speed If they not understand, they can go back and read it again -Secondly, students are, in fact, concentrating on the text and thinking about the meaning Therefore, silent reading is a skill students need to develop 3.1.2 Reading aloud Reading aloud is seen as a way of reading whose purposes is “not just understand a text but convey information to someone else” (Doff 1981) In other words, it is obvious that reading aloud involves looking at the text, understanding its and also saying it In the classroom, reading aloud can be used to train students in pronunciation, so it can be done by the teacher at the earliest stage of teaching procedure “Beginners have to discover how writing is associated with the spoken words they have already learnt” (Natali 1989, p.2) or reading aloud is also used as a means to make other students keep quiet However, reading aloud is not a very useful technique as Bright and Gregef (1970, p 177) state It interferes with the proper business of the reading lesson which is to create imaginative response in the mind from the visual stimulus of black marks on paper Where it is used frequently it slows down reading speed whereas the objective is if increase it 3.2 According to purposes of reading 3.2.1 Extensive reading It is an activity which frees students from the restriction of class work Students read at their own pace They can choose what to read Extensive reading is an effective way to help students improve their English Nuttal (1982, p 168) says that “The best way to improve one’s knowledge of a foreign language is to go and live among its speakers The next best way is to read extensively in it” In 1981, Frangoise Grellet pointed out that “Extensive reading means reading longer texts, usually for one’s own pleasure In the context of classroom learning this is a fluency activity, mainly involving global understanding For extensive reading, students work on their own reading texts graded to the levels of individual readers They are given opportunities to progress at their own rate The purpose of the extensive reading is to train the student to read quickly and 'fluently in the foreign language for his own enjoyment without the aid of the teacher Therefore, the material for extensive reading should be selected at a lower level of difficulty than that for intensive reading Structures in the text should be already familiar to him, and new words should be introduced slowly in such a way that their meaning can be deduced from the context or quickly ascertained In order to encourage students to read extensively the teacher should be able to recommend to the students extensive reading material which corresponds to their individual tastes and interests” At high school, students often read intensively in the reading lessons, this reading style is suitable for them to learn and practise the language, but it cannot help to train them in fluent reading On the contrary, extensive reading can provide students with fluency in reading Furthermore, extensive reading can supply them with an adequate language environment as well as the enjoyment in reading and in learning a language Therefore, it is necessary for the educational authorities and teachers to incorporate intensive reading and extensive reading into school curriculum 3.2.2 Intensive reading According to Frangois Grellet (1981, p 4) “Intensive reading means reading shorter texts to extract specific information This is more an accuracy activity involving reading for detail” Intensive reading exercises may include: • looking at main ideas versus details • understanding what is implied versus stated • making inferences • looking at the order of information and how it effects the message • identifying words that connect one idea to another • identifying words that indicate change from one section to another Hedge (1985, p.68) stresses that “Intensive reading lessons provide students with training in the strategies and skills they need to become successful readers” In intensive reading, students are trained in reading comprehension through the analytical approach to grammar and lexis They are encouraged to infer the meaning of unknown words and structures from the context in the target language For many learners, their purpose in reading English language is not for information, interest, or pleasure, but to learn English So they assume that the appropriate style for them should be slow, intensive reading in order to be sure of not missing any words Materials for intensive reading used by students in class are short stories and extracts from novels or magazines They are chosen according to the level of difficulty of language and for the interest they hold for young people still at school This reading matter is studied in considerable detail and it is related' to language learning under the teacher’s guidance Therefore, the teacher’s task is to provide the students with strategies and skills of reading to arrive at a profound and detailed comprehension of the text and how the meaning is expressed 3.2.3 Skimming Skimming is a way of reading that a reader is required to jump through the text, ignoring parts of it for the very general purpose of seeing what it is about, and whether there is anything of interest to him in it The reader skims in order to satisfy a very general curiosity about the text rather than finding the answer to particular questions Skimming is a quick reading to get know the general meaning of a passage , the organization of the passage, the structure of the text and the writer’s purpose Skimming is not an appropriate aim for learners at beginner level It is suitable for the students of the eleventh form or twelfth form especially for gifted students of English At this level skimming helps them to organize their thoughts and specify what information they can get from the reading material, therefore, their subsequent reading is more efficient Activities • Students must locate facts that are expressed in sentences, not single words • To improve skimming, readers should read more and more rapidly, to form appropriate questions and predictions and then read quickly • Pugh (1978) suggests that to assess skimming, after the students have read and completed the assigned questions, further questions may be asked, "beyond the scope of the purpose originally set" (p.70) 3.2.4 Scanning Scanning is, in contrast, described as follows By scanning “the reader here is on the look-out for a particular item or items he believes in the text” (Peter Wingard, 1990, p.83) For example, the name of the scorer in a football report According to Nuttal, 1989 scanning means “glancing rapidly through a text assign students to start with relatively short, simple passages before going on to summarize longer and more complicated texts Likewise, teachers ask the students to work in pairs or group, discussing the text and related topics and then report back to the class or give their presentation.Probably the most important comprehension strategy of all but one that is surprisingly rare in the nation's secondary classrooms is to give students frequent and extensive opportunities to discuss what they've read It’s neither easy nor straightforward to lead students in focused, informative, and engaging discussions of texts Teachers need to come up with provocative questions, keep the conversation focused, guide it though lulls, and help students to learn and stick to important classroom norms and rules (having to with turn-taking, respecting others' opinions, staying on point, and so on) However, when students engage in high-quality text-based discussions, they tend to come away with much clearer and more nuanced understandings of course materials Moreover, teachers can lead to combine reading with a speaking component For example, students may interview each other or debate about their reading or combine reading with a writing component, for instance, after reading the text, students may be asked to write a report or a reflection Teacher also encourage students to read the texts on the same topic or let students choose the authentic texts from suggestions by the teacher so that students not choose those that are too overwhelming Student take notes main ideas and then write a reflection on what they noticed about their own reading, which allows students to bring more background knowledge to each new text read Often teachers will respond to the students and if so, the student should leave room in the journal for this Some of my proposed activities during postreading phase as follows Discussion/ debate Discussion is purposeful talk through which students explore their thinking, respond to ideas, process information, and articulate their thoughts in verbal exchanges with classmates and teachers 16 1.1 Problem solving (unit 4/ Book 11- Advanced) Teacher asks students to discuss in groups, showing some main causes leading to literacy problems and suggesting some solutions 1.2 Agreement or Disagreement with a statement (Unit 5/Book 11- Advanced) Sample: Teacher has students work in groups, express his/ her points of views on beauty contests 1.3 Alternatives ranking Sample: (Unit 1/ Book 11- Advanced) - Teacher prepares handouts including a list of important qualities of a good friend - Students work individually and rank the importance of these qualities - Students work in small groups and share their opinions Important qualities of a good friend: Loyalty, Intelligence, Humor, Honesty, Generosity, Sympathy, Tolerance, Sincerity Summary It is an easy way to have students reflect on what they read and synthesize their thinking A variety of forms for summary can be used based on the format of the text 2.1 completing a plot diagram 2.2 taking notes on a time line (unit3/ Book 10- Advanced) 2.3 using mindmaps ( unit1/ Book 10- advanced) 2.4 filling gaps (unit 12/ Book 10- advanced) Reflection 3.1 Monitor comprehension Steps: Ask students to list three facts they learned from a reading, two questions they had as they read and one thing they found interesting Aims: let students to show what they have learned or ask questions about a topic in a simple way 17 3.2 Response journals Steps: provide journal sheets or booklets with prompting questions that will help structure student responses Aims: + record student feelings, responses, and reactions to reading texts + encourage students to think deeply about the materials they have read and to relate this information to their prior knowledge and experiences Sample: Teacher provides some prompts to facilitate students’ reading comprehension and reflections -Helen Keller’s efforts to overcome her impairment -lessons from the ups and downs in her life 18 PART C: CONCLUSION As reading, one of the receptive skills through which students can widen their knowledge of the target language more than other skills, it is important for the students to have good techniques in reading to become good readers Therefore, it is necessary for the teacher to have useful methods and motivating activities in improving students’ reading comprehension In this paper, the author has reviewed the role of reading in language learning, the integration of reading with other language skills and the classifications of reading and most importantly made some suggestions for teaching and learning to improve reading skills It is common knowledge that we learn to read by reading a lot, yet reading a lot is not the emphasis of most reading curriculum There is now a considerable evident that the best way to learn to read is to combine both approaches (extensive and intensive reading) in the class For example, where extensive reading is encouraged, the teacher may have all the students read the same text so they can discuss the topic together or learn a specific skill such as as writing an outline In a class where intensive reading is mostly used, students may be asked to read texts of their own choosing to report back on, in either an oral or written format It is expected that together with various reading activities listed above can contribute a great deal to students in developing reading comprehension and make students more active in the learning process in order to gain a better result 19 REFERENCES Nuttal.1982 Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language Heinemann Doff.A 1988 Teach English Cambridge University Press Harmer.J 2001 The Practice of English Language Teaching Longman Richard R.Day.1993.New Ways in Teaching Reading Honolulu, Hawaii Munby, John (1968) "Teaching Intensive Reading Skills" in Mackay, Ronald, Barkman, B & Jordan, R.R (Eds.) Reading in a Second Language, Rowley, Mass: Newbury House Publishers Inc Bell, Timothy (2001) "Extensive Reading: Speed and Comprehension", The Reading Matrix, Vol.1, No.1 April 2001 http://www.readingmatrix.com/articles/bell/index.html Hafiz, F.M & Tudoe, I (1989) "Extensive reading and the development of language skills", ELT Journal, Vol.43/1, p.5-13 20 APPENDIX NAM DINH DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING LE HONG PHONG SPECIALIZED UPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL Name: Trần Thị Hồng Class: 10 English Date of preparing: 20th July, 2014 Lesson plan Reading skill Unit 1: SCHOOL TALKS - Class description: 35 students of 10th grade, 10 boys and 25 girls students are of very few words They are timid and passive in participating in class activities, just sit still and quietly Conversely, students are active and enthusiastic, but two of them have quick tempers, which is rather difficult to control Time: 45 minutes Objectives: • Skill: after the lesson, students will able to: Scan for specific information to True/False/Not mentioned - task Summarize the text Give a presentation in a limited time based on the knowledge gained during the lesson • Language: students will be able to: Widen their vocabulary of school talks, especially team learning - such as supportive, strategy, assignment, etc Use certain expressions (seeking right teammates, forming teams with both genders, etc) to talk about strategies for • - maximizing the performance of team work Knowledge: after the lesson, students will be able to: Have an overview of benefits, strategies and activities of team learning Acquire a certain vocabulary in this field Assumed knowledge: Ss have already known some vocabulary items related to team learning (e.g: textbook, face-to-face, class notes, etc) Some of them are familiar with working in group so to some extent, they know common activities of team learning, its benefits and strategies used 21 - Anticipated problems: Ss may not know some new words related to the topic; they should be provided in advance (supportive, strategy, assignment, etc) Ss may find it difficult to deal with True/False/Not mentioned task, so T should spend some time eliciting strategies to with this kind of task Some Ss may feel strange to summarizing task, which means T should ask them some questions for each part’s summary Ss may have difficulty in making a performance within a limited time, so T should give Ss some time to prepare and ask them to focus on important points Some Ss are timid (they don’t want to take part in the activities and express their ideas) Hence, the teacher pays more attention to them and gives them more chances to raise their voices While some are very ebullient (they may transgress others), so the teacher calls timid Ss randomly and then give the questions Teaching aids: power point, textbook, cards, blackboard and handouts Procedure: Teacher Students 7.1 Lead-in: (2m) • Asks Ss to close their books and play a game • Close their books • Shows a picture on the board and asks them some • Answer the questions questions: Do you know who he is? What does he do? Which • Form the groups • Listen to programs is he famous for? Alright, you want to play this interesting game? instruction And here are the rules for you • Divides the class into groups • Instructs Ss (using step-by-step technique): Now, I’ll divide all of you into groups Listen to my instruction: - Firstly, name your groups - Call your group’s name whenever you have the 22 the answers 10 points for one right answer • Answer the questions - The group with highest points will be the winner Are you clear? (Ss: Yes) • Play the game • Checks Ss’ understandings: + So what should you when you have the answers? + How many points for one right answer? Ok, are you ready now? • Lets Ss play the game • Work in groups • Listen to the instruction • Work in groups • Go to the board and write down the answers (CLASS NOTES) • Answer the questions • Watch the clip and answer the questions • Listen to the teacher 23 (TEXTBOOKS) • Get the posters • Work in groups (FACE-TO-FACE) • Give the answers • Copy new words into their notebooks • Do the task (SCHOOL TALK) 24 • Checks and congratulates the winner • Leads in the topic “School talks.” 7.2 Reading: (43m) 7.2.1 Before you read: (15m) • Asks Ss to stay in the same groups and list down all the ways of learning they know within minute • Instructs Ss: Now, you will stay in the same groups List down all the ways of learning you know within minute After one minute, appoint person from your group and • Give the answers write down your answers The group having the longest list will be the winner Understand? Ok, are you ready? minute for you • Lets Ss work in their groups • Goes around to check and help Ss • Calls Ss to go to the board and write down their • Read the passage • • • • answers Checks Ss’ answers and declares the winner • Listen to the Asks Ss some questions: instruction - Which way of learning you prefer? Why? Gives comment and feedback Lets Ss see a video clip about Team Learning and asks them how they think about this clip and what message they can learn from it • Sets the scene: Team working in general and team learning in particular has been popular in recent times More and more students enjoy learning in a • Work in groups team In today's lesson, we will find out the activities that a team can work together and the strategies for building a strong team work First of all, I would like you to work in groups of and complete the following mind map within minutes 25 • Listen to the instruction • Delivers the posters and lets Ss work in groups • Goes around to check and help Ss • Collects Ss’ answers and gives comments Ok, now it’s time for us to read the text and • Do the task decide whether our mind maps are true or false  Pre-teach vocabulary: • Give the answers • Elicits some new words Supportive (adj) /sə’pɔ:tiv/: giving help and encouragement Vice versa (adv) /vai’v3:sə/: in the opposite order Assignment (n) /ə’sainmənt/: a piece of work given to SO Diversity (n) /dai’v3:siti/: when many • Listen to the teacher different types of things or people are included in something Cooperative (adj) /kəu’ɔpərətiv/: willing to help or what people ask • Checks Ss’ understanding by using the above words to complete the following sentences There is a wide _ of opinion on the • Do the task question of unilateral disarmament Doubts about the government’s policies are • Give the answers being expressed even by people who have been _ of the government in the 26 past I’ve asked them not to play their music so loudly, but they’re not being very I have a lot of reading _ to complete before the end of term He doesn’t trust her, and _ • Gives the correct answers and corrects Ss’ • Do the task pronunciation diversity supportive cooperative assignments vice versa 7.2.2 While you read: (15 m) • Asks Ss to read the passage and compare the • Listen information given in the text with their answers • Elicits some tips to this task  Read through the passage  Skim for main ideas and needed information  Answer the following questions: What does part A say? What does a learning team do? Sometimes team work is ineffective Why? How to form a good team? • Gives necessary correction to the instruction • Give the answers • Get the handouts • Close the books and work in groups • Present their ideas • Listen to the teacher • Copy the homework in their notebooks  Task a • Asks Ss to task a) on page 16 • Gives them some strategies to with this task  Read the instructions carefully 27  Quickly read through all the statements to get an idea about the topic  Read the first statement more carefully Underline the key words  Search for the section of the text which deals with the idea or fact  Once you have found the relevant section, read it carefully If the statement is the opposite to the information in the text, then select “false” and if there is no mention of it, select “not given”  Continue with the rest of the statements • Have Ss the task • Goes around to check and help Ss • Calls on some Ss to give their answers with • explanation Checks with the whole class T (To learn in groups is better than learn alone.) T (To form team with both genders is effective.) NI (No information about time in the text.) F (Choose friends with shared interests.) F (It is easy to get together in small group outside of class.)  Task b • Instructs Ss some strategies to task b  Skim all the questions quickly  Underline the key words  Decide what information you need to find in the text  Look out for question words like “where” and “who” which indicate you should read for specific things like places and people  Go back to the first question and decide what part of the text you need to read  Read the part carefully to find the answer  You may use your own words You don’t have to write a complete sentence but it 28 does have to be grammatically correct • Goes around the class to give Ss some more clues if they find it difficult to complete the task • Invites some Ss to go to the board and write down the answers • Checks with the whole class Because it helps team’s members understand the lesson thoroughly Share class notes, research in a team and review results together Having right teammates, forming team with both genders, keeping small-size group can make a team successful 7.2.3 After you read: (13m)  Discussion • Ask Ss to close the book and discuss the questions in their groups Why is team learning important? What are the strategies for maximizing the performance of team work? • Encourage Ss to add their own ideas when discussing • Go around helping Ss • Call on some Ss to make short talks on the topic in front of the class • Ask other Ss for comments on the presenters' performance regarding accuracy, content and fluency • Asks Ss to the homework and prepare for the next lesson That’s all for today At home, I want you to write a paragraph about effects of team learning Your writing should be at least 10029 word long Next time, send it to me, and then I’ll give mark to you Evaluation 30 ... strategies to help improve reading comprehension Aims: -Show out the importance of mastering reading comprehension -Provide some suggestions for improvement of reading comprehension for high school students... points in their writing paper later on In conclusion, during the reading lessons, an emphasis is placed on the reading activities, but reading comprehension should not be separated from the other... varied definitions of reading, most of us would come to conclusion that reading without understanding is meaningless Reading comprehension has the nature of communication, in which reading acts
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