This is a forum for debating the topic Reading.
Take a look below to what previous students answered.
Being an avid reader, I totally agree with Stanley (2013) when it comes to the importance of reading for pleasure. That reminds me of Rubem Alves who once stated that reading is not a matter of habit, it´s a matter of pleasure. He exemplifies that brushing the teeth, and taking a shower are habits. Hugging someone is a pleasure, though. I am afraid I do not agree with him. I guess many times reading starts as a habit, and afterwards turns out to be a great pleasure.
When it comes to the mandatory list of school books teenagers are forced to read, I wonder how frustrating that might be for them, even because they may hate the theme, the author, or the genre. Even though there are books which are extremely well written, I would never read them again. I also don´t have the perfect recipe for that, but perhaps let learners choose two out of ten options, for instance.
Reading is quite relevant when dealing with the subject of learning a second language and with the advance of technology into language classrooms, it would be interesting if teachers could try to apply some of the tools available online in order to motivate students into reading. I believe a strong motivation when dealing with reading in the language classroom is to choose a topic students would be interested into, so pleasurable reading seems to be a high source of motivation to learners. When the topic is familiar, they certainly would have already acquired some vocabulary and will be quite motivated to look for new words along with new information on the subject.
Another aspect that needs concern is the level of the text chosen because it cannot be too easy or too difficult, otherwise learners will certainly get demotivated. So, technology can play a huge role on this because there is a huge variety of texts with different levels available for teachers online added by tasks to engage learners. ( Chun, 2006). Chapelle also emphasizes the relevance of CALL to reading by stating that the learner's interaction with a computer might be quite useful considering it can provide support in terms of contributing with new information. "Such interactions before, during and after reading are potentially valuable for SLA because they direct learner`s attention to language, they raise awareness of what learners do not know and they provide learners with help in comprehending the language. " ( pg 72).
Reading goes beyond the printed text on the books, especially today with so many information technologies available. This way, CALL materials have a lot to offer regarding teaching students how to read. Chapelle and Jamieson mention 7 tips for integrating CALL materials and reading and I highlight especially the first one: select reading materials which are appropriate for the learners. Many times the reading materials in textbooks are too easy for the learners, not challenging them, or when they are very difficult, reading becomes frustrating. So, there should be a balance in the level of difficulty. Also, regarding the topic of the material, it is often a topic that doesn’t interest students or it’s outdated, so it doesn’t motivate them to read. With access to so much different and updated content, we can find the material which is most appropriate for each learner/class and will probably have them motivated. The pre-reading and follow up is also very important, and some ideas for this are given by Stanley. One of them is 6.1, using a word cloud, which I have tried and I really liked.
Another tip which called my attention and I didn’t know until I read this, is that research shows students don’t learn vocabulary on their own just by exposure or by guessing when reading. The vocabulary or grammar the teacher wants students to learn must be explored. Also, Chapelle and Jamieson mention something we must never forget, that materials are not always sufficient and teachers should supplement them whenever is necessary, so the teacher and his/her instructional method are very important.
Reading is considered the easiest ( receptive) skill, which along with listening take into account the three phases: pre, while and post activities when applied in language learning teaching. With the advent and rise of the Internet new modes of reading have emerged as well as different reading strategies in order to meet the demands of electronic texts. Stanley (2013) brings two pertinent terms such as digital literacy a person´s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment and critical literacy, which has become more important because of the increasing ease of publication online, so learners need to be more critical about sources of information they refer to. Certainly, the teacher plays a vital role in aiding learners to develop different strategies for reading, by integrating CALL activities into the curriculum to facilitate and enhance their reading skills development as well as their overall English ability through reading. In addition to that, Chapelle and Jamieson emphasize that when designing reading lessons it´s important to take into consideration learners´ needs, level of proficiency and to promote effective interaction among learners.
The new forms literacy that arose with the development of technology have deeply affected the way we read. As Carr (2011) defends, on dividing our attentional resources among links, ads, pop-ups, videos, images (and the smartphone chimes beside us), the reading process has become more shallow. Skimming has been the most utilized strategy especially in longer texts, as readers are impatient to finish. Research has been conducted mainly on the differences between reading on digital base x on paper, the influence of links (non-linear texts) on reading comprehension, and the different strategies emplyed by the reader in these circumstances.
In this new scenario, teachers have the role of helping students develop more suitable reading strategies to the digital environment, raising awareness on the new genres that are emerging and promoting "critical literacy", discussing selection of sources and being critical towards the content available in the www.