Teaching and learning a second or foreign language is completely not a short and simple undertaking, but it is virtually a long-term and complicated process. It requires both learners and teachers invest not only a lot of time but also physical and mental aspects in achieving their approaches. One of the crucial elements they should invest in that process is learning strategies that help them to get the acquisition achievement. Typically, learning strategies include metacognitive strategies that involve planning for learning, thinking about learning process as it is taking place, monitoring of one’s production or comprehension and evaluating learning after an activity is completed (H. Douglas, 2000 cited in Purpura, 1997) and cognitive strategies that are more limited to specific learning tasks and involve more direct manipulation of the learning material itself (H. Douglas, 2000 cited in O’Malley et al, 1985) from which many skills will be developed such as writing, speaking, listening or reading. Here, in this paper, strategies for reading, especially, reading comprehension strategies will be mainly elaborated in order that teachers can find out and choose suitable way to apply in teaching reading as well as in training their learners to become strategic and effective readers.
Types of reading strategies.
According to Manuel, J. (2004), generally speaking, the five main reading strategies that teachers can train learners from kindergarten, beginner learners to students who are at risk for reading difficulty learning English as a foreign language are phonemic awareness strategy, alphabet understanding strategy, fluency strategy, vocabulary strategy and comprehension strategy.
Learning is a process, which requires mental capability for it to happen. There are various means by which learning takes place for example there is observational learning, intuition, or through experience. Learning is a continuous process, which happens throughout the life of a person. In education, learning takes place from the time one starts attending a classroom. This paper reflects on the ...
Firstly, with the phonemic awareness strategy, learners can practice to isolate, discriminate the first sound in the words and matching the first sound in words. They are also trained to blend onset-rime and phoneme by phoneme. And, segmenting sound by sound, deletion and substitution are introduced to learners as well. Secondly, alphabet understanding strategy is important one because it gives learners the knowledge of sounds, words and sentences of regular and irregular words. They have a chance to produce, review and match letter and sound. Also, they are introduced blending CVC words. Then, they will be able to decode regular sound, sound them out and read them orally or manipulate, discriminate these regular and irregular sounds in words. Next, thanks to fluency strategy, they are helped to identify and read regular and irregular words with limited time and speed. And then, they practice reading words in connected text fluently and quickly. Beside that, vocabulary strategy should be designed to present new words by examples, synonyms, definitions, sentence elaboration and context. The last but not least important strategy is reading comprehension strategy with which learners read for literal comprehension. They read, then, retell the sentence, paragraph and passage, or read to find the consequence, main ideas and summarization through various kinds of text such as informational texts, graphical texts, literary texts or texts for readers to following instructions, etc.
... the reading act. I have witnessed many elementary students who are prolific readers, can sound out even the most complex words, but ... based on instructional strategies to teach letter-sound relationships, sight words and decoding skills (among others), until the reading act becomes ... The interactive theory makes the connection between the reader and the text, and the theory states that the result ...
Basic comprehension processes
In term of reading comprehension, it is necessary for both teachers and learners to have a profound understanding on basic comprehension processes. Klingner (2007) cited the ideas from Irwin (1991) that when readers comprehend what they are reading, a combination of five basic comprehension processes work together simultaneously and complement one another: microprocess where readers decide which chuck or microselection to remember, integrative processes of understanding and inferring relationship among clauses such as anaphora, connectives and inferences, macroprocesses which include organizing and summarizing; the former helps comprehenders deal with story, grammar, knowledge and make use of organizational structures in expository text to find main ideas, the later aids the readers to select the most important information and delete relatively less important details, elaborative processes which involve making predictions, prior knowledge integration, mental imagery, higher level thinking and affective responses, and metacognitive processes that train readers to think about what they are thinking and should think.
Types of reading comprehension strategies
In the book of cross-curricular approaches, grades 7-12, about reading strategies. It is said that, as students progress through school, they are asked to read increasingly complex informational and graphical texts in their courses. The ability to understand and use the information in these texts is the key to a student’s success in learning. Successful students have a repertoire of strategies to draw upon, and know how to use them in different contexts. Struggling students need explicit teaching of these strategies to become better readers. Specifically, Reading comprehension strategies may be classified into three phases: pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading or getting ready to read, engaging in reading and reacting to reading.
• Pre-reading comprehension strategies
At the stage of getting ready to read, readers should preview a text, analyze the features of a text, find organization pattern, anticipate guide, find signal words and extend vocabulary. They are understood as a preparation step of navigation.
The first strategy of this stage is previewing the text. It means that a general examination about the text needs to be done to identify the text features from which readers can efficiently use later at the next phase. It is because that when these features recur in predictable patterns, they help the readers easily find information and make connections. Most informational texts use a variety of visual, graphic text features to organize information, highlight important ideas, illustrate key concepts, and provide additional information. Features may include headings, subheadings, table of contents, index, glossary, preface, paragraphs separated by spacing, bulleted lists, sidebars, footnotes, illustrations, pictures, diagrams, charts, graphs, captions, italicized words or passages, boldface words or sections, color, and symbols. Therefore, teachers ought to help their students with learning disabilities to be aware of, and familiar with these features. Readers, then, analyze the features to determine how these features can help them. It is empirical to say, from the result of analyzing strategy, that readers who understand how to use these features will spend less time unlocking the text.
... reading comprehension” |quality of the questions created by the | | |((Teacher vision, n. d). |student. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |Fluency: The ability to read text smoothly, accurately |Readers’ ... |Drawing during reading. | | |what they are reading. | | | | | | | Writing Strategies |Strategy |Activity |Assessment | |Prewriting: The stage where students begin the |Brainstorm ...
And as a result of this, they have more energy to concentrate on the content. Besides, the ability to recognize the text pattern is necessary before reading comprehension stage because the way information is organized in a text is a cue to help the readers understand the ideas, for example, sequence in a procedure, order in a persuasive argument or classification in a periodic table. Another strategy at this stage readers can use is anticipating the text guide. That is, students work silently to read and then agree or disagree with each one in series of questions or statements related to the topic or viewpoint of a particular text. The aim of this strategy is to help students to activate their prior knowledge and experience and think about the ideas they will be reading. It also encourages students to make a personal connection with a topic, theme, issue or unit of work. For that reason, they can integrate new knowledge with their background experience and prior knowledge and the purpose for reading subject area text is set up as well. As teachers who train students reading comprehension skill, in addition, never forget to teach and ask their students to learn by heart the transition words or connectors which are always used to link ideas to help readers to follow the flow of information by writers because the strategy of making use of signal words is helpful in developing not only reading but also writing, speaking skill.
Reading Gendered Texts The idea of gender in this following passage is portrayed in a very extreme manner. According to this the first ever mistake on earth was made by a female, in this particular case Eve. Eve being the first ever female on earth, left the consequences of her mistake for all future generations to suffer. As far as the process of child birth is concerned, the author very directly ...
As a rule, students are required to expand their amount of vocabulary in various subject areas more and more. The strategy to extend the vocabulary, for instance, printed card stock taped or pinned to the wall, chalkboard or bulletin board alphabetically listing key words that will appear often in a new unit of study, is useful to those who have trouble learning new words, especially, to the students who must struggle with the increasingly complex texts that they encounter at the higher and higher level. It helps them to identify unfamiliar vocabulary and create a visible reference in the classroom for words appearing often in a topic or unit of study. It also improves comprehension and spelling because key words remain posted in the classroom.
In short, both teachers and students can apply as many pre-reading strategies discussed above as possible, provided that the aims of these strategies are activating, building upon prior knowledge, improving comprehension or setting purposes for reading, etc. Teachers should make sure that these strategies do not require much reading and writing but require students’ interaction so that students can share knowledge and ways of thinking. They, moreover, get students ready for new content both originally and affectively.
• While-reading comprehension strategies
After the first stage, with the aim to help readers construct meaning from text, develop fluency and make connection to the real world, teachers should lead readers to the second phase of reading comprehension – engaging in reading at which readers use context to find meaning, read between the lines to make inferences, distinguish the most or the least important ideas and information, sort ideas by using concept map, visualize the text in mind and make notes.
In fact, when dealing with the strategy of finding meaning from context, students are taught to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words and concepts by using clues from the text for the reason that writers usually use a diversity of ways to convey the meaning of unfamiliar words and concepts without a dictionary by side while reading. These include definitions, examples, descriptions, illustrations, clarifications, parenthetical notes, comparisons, elaborations, and typographical cues. Beyond that, during reading, readers should utilize the ability of making inference. It is the ability to connect what is in the text with what is in the mind to create an educated guess (cited in Beers, 2003) on what is happening, may have happened, or will happen in the future or to comprehend the subtle meanings in the texts. In another words, students may miss vital information if they fail to infer appropriately to draw meaning from text through explicit details and implicit clues. Also, determining important ideas and information in text is central to make sense of reading and move toward insight, (cited in Stephanie and Anne, 2000).
The Dissertation on The Effect of Using Kwl (Know, Want, Learned) Strategy on Efl Students’ Reading Comprehension Achievement
... the students’ ability in comprehending reading texts are at the average level. The writer also found that the teachers are seldom varied their strategy in ... good readers do, and teaches them about their own reading processes. Several studies had been conducted around the area of improving students’ reading comprehension ...
It is not always clear and straightforward to do so because the right determination depends on readers’ prior knowledge, experience and points of view. But, they should be aware that the main ideas are usually in the first or the last sentence, paragraph. One more strategy needs introducing to students, maybe in the case of extensive reading, is sorting ideas by creating concept map. That is the way to visually organize their understanding of information. It is hierarchical in nature, beginning with the subject or topic at the top or side of the page, and then branching into subtopics and details. Students, therefore, can have an overview on the text and can distinguish which parts are main ideas and which ones are supporting details. If students get used to this strategy, they are able to organize information in a memorable and accessible way to help with their studying. Furthermore, because it is said that “unseen text is the information that resides inside the reader’s head: ideas, opinions, essential background knowledge and that the unseen text is unique to each reader, (cited in Cris, 2002), another crucial strategy – text visualization – should be taken advantage by students.
Unseen text, as a matter of fact, is the text drawn on students’ background knowledge and experiences, and their word knowledge as they come across unfamiliar vocabulary. It means that students form the pictures in mind from words on the page to promote their comprehension of ideas and get the concept on the written texts, particularly, in creative learning situations. In case that the students don’t get those pictures in their heads, the teacher may need to think alouds and talk them through the ideas in the text and explain the pictures that come to mind. And, the final during reading comprehension strategy mentioned here is note taking which helps readers to monitor their understanding and helps writers and speakers to organize information and clarify their thinking. This one provides tools for summarizing information and ideas, making connections, and seeing patterns.
I was deployed at the Elementary Department of the New Era University under the mentorship of my cooperating teacher, Prof. Samuel Bayang, Reading coordinator of the division and the adviser of Grade 6 Simon, the department’s upper hetero section which is composed of 33 scholarly pupils. Given the chance by our supervisor, Dr. Corazon Liwayway, Principal of the Elementary Department, to observe ...
To sum up, whatever strategies are utilized in a during comprehension process, they certainly require readers to interact with the text and reflect, analyze, make inferences, draw conclusion, state opinions, distinguish between fact and fiction or cause and effect, identify main ideas and problems.
• Post reading comprehension strategies.
The final period of reading comprehension process is reacting to reading. A number of various after-reading strategies should be exposed to readers such as responding to text, drawing conclusion, making judgments, retell, summarize and discuss, etc as means to aid readers to change receptive vocabulary into expressive ones, assimilate newly learned information, solidify newly learned concepts, validate and build previous knowledge or prepare for test.
Specifically, Graffiti is a term of collaborative learning strategy of responding to text that can be used after an assigned reading. The strategy involves students working in groups to generate and record ideas about a topic related to assigned reading on chart paper, then rotationally, write responses to the topic and to the comments previously written by other groups. This strategy provides an opportunity for students to make a personal connection to a topic or unit of work by expressing their opinions, demonstrating their understanding of the assigned text, and making connections to their prior knowledge and experience. Furthermore, drawing conclusion after having read and responded to the important concepts and issues in the course, then, made inferences assists readers to develop content and opinions for persuasive writing as well as become thoughtful speakers during whole-class and small-group discussions. In the post reading comprehension strategies, when the readers have an opportunity to increase their understanding by reviewing what they have read, reflecting on what they have learned, and asking questions about the significance, it means that the strategy of making judgment is applied. It trains readers to assess different viewpoints or perspectives and make judgments about viewpoints or opinions. Hence, they can develop critical thinking skills.
In brief, there are a number of ways and activities to deal with to extend concepts of unit, arouse range of students’ interests, English proficiency and abilities. They require varying degrees of reading, writing, even speaking and research for post-reading comprehension stage in particular, and affective strategic reading comprehension in general.
IMPLICATION TO NON-MAJOR ENGLISH COLLEGE CLASSES SPECIALIZING IN BUSINESS
Although there is a variety of reading strategies for improving reading skills, as a teacher of non-major English students of business college classes which include many kinds of students, from many parts of the country, with different background knowledge, and different learning styles, age and motives, he or she needs to weigh the pros and the cons from many aspects to make precise decision on what and how to do in equipping students with strategies for effective reading comprehension.
On one hand, for students’ advantages, the first and foremost strategy should be introduced to students is the phonemic awareness by a variety of activities mentioned above. That is, at the beginning of the course, the teacher gives them a chance to look back, practice pronouncing and compare the sound system between Vietnamese and English such as consonants, vowels and diphthongs, for instance, ten, team, take, too. These words begin with sound [t]. Then, the alphabet understanding, phonetic symbols and how to use dictionary as well as introduction to pronunciation of some regular and irregular words base on these phonetic symbols so that they are able to self-study vocabulary and pronunciation independently later. After that, the awareness of some typical strategies in before, during and after reading should be evoked from students, especially, the commonly used ones that are helpful in not only reading skills but also the other skills like writing, speaking and not only to English as a foreign language but also to other subjects in their first language like marketing, accounting, politics, etc. It is because that the majority of teachers of business subjects who are not qualified with pedagogical methods.
So, only the minority of them do really pay much attention to the notion of learning strategies in general and reading strategies in particular. For that reason, the activities of previewing, guessing meaning, inferring, summarizing, retelling, discussions, etc should be focused. And, as many opportunities as possible must be created for them to practice these strategies. There is another fact that reading, writing, speaking or listening in these classes are not taught separately by different teachers, but they are conducted in a unit or lesson on particular topic and cover in class time of five periods by one teacher. Thus, the ability to integrate strategies to train integrated skills should be focused by both the teacher and students. It means that, with once to class, if students have been asked to preview first by looking at the title, the topic or if prior knowledge, experience has been involved in speaking activities, with the reading text following, they do not need to use that strategy again but apply other strategies, for example, recognizing transition words, monitoring their comprehension. Then, at the stage of post-reading, if speaking skill is used for discussions or asking and answering questions, writing skill is also used for summarizing or retelling. The manipulation of these strategies must be flexible and dynamic, provided that, in the class of five periods, students can practice various skills with variety of strategies. Therefore, the unit or lesson becomes more interesting and students are more motivated. In addition, in some tasks students should be encouraged to use the strategies independently and regularly to change these strategies into skills, for example, finding features of the text, analyze organization pattern, finding meaning from context, making inference.
On the other hand, for the teacher’s advantages, to become a strategic reading teacher as well as a business English teacher is not an easily accessible approach. He or she must endeavor to play a role as a guide who leads students to become strategic learners. It requires both knowledge of English language and knowledge of specialized subjects such as accounting, import-export, transport and insurance, taxation, statistics, correspondence, etc because the content of all subjects taught in school may overlapped at least in the terms or definition. It may cause biases or difficulties for students if teacher does not know them, especially, when dealing with reading exercises like matching, true-fault or closed text. Above all, it needs great investment from the teacher with many methods and techniques in order to qualify him or her strategies. Also, the teacher must acts, at first, as a modal to demonstrate the strategy used in order that students can look at him or her to imitate. He or she, then, explains the advantages of that sample strategy so that students can understand the reason why they should train that strategy and realize it is helpful and useful to attain. After that, the teacher together with students use that strategy in completing reading task regularly so as to help students get used to the strategy.
Only when they are introduced and practiced enough strategies of many kinds, let them use the strategies independently and alternately to finish reading tasks. At this stage, when correcting the exercises, the teacher should always remember to ask them how they can get that right answer. That is giving them a chance to explain the strategies they use. It also means that the non-strategic readers can have a lot of opportunities to notice and appreciate the powerfulness and necessity of these strategies in accomplishing tasks again and again. As a result, students’ belief in strategies will be increased from task by task. Also, the strategies that are commonly used and that tend to be given in the exam by the teacher should be trained to become skills day by day. Another significant factor is that the teacher’s ability to estimate which strategy is suitable to which level of students and competence to plan the hierarchy of strategies from the easier to the more complicated to be introduced also participates to the success of improving students’ reading comprehension. And, it is more convenient for teacher to choose the text and design what types of exercise to give students.
Summarily speaking, it is really time-consuming and challenging for both the teacher and students to achieve their approach of be being strategic reading teacher and students. The theories are inexhaustible and the applications are abundant. The destination of our approaches completely depends on many factors. Clearly to see, there are the elements of what and how to do achievement on the strategies aimed.
In conclusion, in the process of teaching and learning English as a foreign language in relation to other subjects in the first language, learning strategies which help students consciously and unconsciously internalize the information, content, knowledge, should be taken into consideration. Among them, reading comprehension strategies that are extremely necessary to both teachers and students ought to be paid much attention and given deep investment. As disserted above, teacher as well as students must perceive the existence of learning strategies, have a deep understanding on reading comprehension process and categories of reading strategies, and invest a consistent practice and diversified applications, then an independent manipulations. To reach the objectives established, an endeavor should be made from both instructors and learners.
H.Douglas, B. (2000) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, NY, Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.
Le Thi Tuyet Mai (2008) MA’s Programme Reading packet compiled.
Manuel, J. (2004) reading strategies & Activities Resource book, University of Taxes.