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91/8/14
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How to Teach Reading Strategies

EFL/ESL Teaching Methods for Motivating Students to Read

Mar 23, 2007 Dorit Sasson

What"s the real purpose behind teaching reading? Activities for pre-while-post stages of reading texts.


Why Reading Strategies? What are they all about?

When reading comprehension breaks down, ESL/EFL students need to find ways to repair their understanding. This is where the importance of knowing how to teach reading strategies come in, so as to facilitate the reading process and give students a clear sense of what they are reading.

Students can become easily frustrated when they do not understand what they are reading and as a result, they become demotivated. A teacher needs to design and teach different strategies in order to help students close the gaps in their understanding. The ultimate challenge for the teacher is knowing exactly which strategy is useful and most beneficial to teach, since each student needs different strategies. This article in this respect, will give many strategies and a few general pointers for how to teach them.

General Reading Strategies

The website www.readinga-z.com recommended by parents in 2004, has a wealth of activities, games and articles on reading strategies. There are plenty of strategies for the beginner reader and many can be adapted to fit the needs of more advanced readers as well.

In addition, here are a few others.

·          zooming in on the text. Students go back and reread a sentence or part of a sentence that was confusing. What it a word, a phrase or an entire sentence that casued a breakdown in understanding? Once they have identified the part or parts, they can refer to other sources such as guessing from context or using a dictionary.

·         Jump back and reread. Encourage the students not to get stuck too long on a confusing part of the text. They can always go back, reread and guess.

 

·         Try and try again. If a student cannot understand, s/he should be encouraged to try and try again using all available sources such as guessing using contextual clues such as using the knowledge of parts of speech,

What’s the secret to teaching reading strategies?

The key to teaching reading strategies is to teach it without bringing it to the forefront of the lesson. It is recommended to teach the strategies (without naming them) only after the students accomplish some task based on the reading strategy. Students of Junior High school age are still too young to understand and remember the names of the strategies and it is pointless in lecturing and naming reading strategies. Once they have processed information, the teacher can mention the reading strategy in a by-the-way manner in terms of what they used and how it may help them in the future.

If a teacher gets a positive reaction from the students, s/he can use this opportunity and expand on it. Even if the teaching and/or learning experience was not positive, it is a good idea to learn from it and understand what went wrong and what could have motivated them more. The next time, the teacher can remind the students of having used the strategies when they worked on a particular text and how using those strategies helped them understand the text better.

Using the Visual Aid Method to Teach Reading Strategies

A helpful way to teach and reinforce reading strategies is through the use of graphic organizers. Graphic organizers appeal to a variety of multiple intelligences and it is important for students see the connection between the visual element and the reading task. Again, the a-z reading site is incredibly helpful and provides loads of opportunities to recycle reading strategies in a wonderfully creative way.

Final Words

By finding indirect methods of teaching strategies, a teacher will have “taught” them something and give them the impression of learning. Homework on reading strategies should serve as a further reinforcement and should be logically connected and come out naturally from the lesson.

 


  
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