I just finished my form 1 class. They seemed to be excellent and intermediate students. Most of them can answer and respond to my questions pretty well. During my degree (and even now), I read that silent reading can be very helpful. These are some of the reasons that I think might make some sense of it:
As compared to reading out loud in groups or classes, students reading individually and silently can be really helpful as they can concentrate on reading alone, without the disturbance of speaking. They also may focus on the meaning of each word or even the context of the sentences.
By reading individually, students are given time to process those words in their head. Students also can comprehend the context of the sentences by making sense of each words they read.
Well, I am a visual person. If I am reading something, it takes me a lot of time to complete a text (that’s why I hate novels! haha!). Reading silently gives someone a chance to create pictures in their head on the text they read, which helps in giving them some pictures about the whole text. Oh! That’s why I love reading texts with adjectives and descriptions. That explains why I love A.Samad Said’s novels and poetry. I could imagine!
Just a simple sharing for today. Starting from now, I always ask my students to read on their own first before discussing the meaning of unfamiliar words with them. Vocabulary enrichment is also a good exercise in reading. I hope they’ll be getting better at using dictionary. 😉
My final observation was with my mentor at school. Teacher Lin requested to observe me teaching reading comprehension. I was super nervous (like usual), and finally thinking of my previous class during my foundation period. I used to take College Reading Skills course and personally, I think the subject helped me a lot in becoming a better reader. Just imagine, you do not have to refer to the dictionary each time you come across unfamiliar words, and still understand the whole text. Isn’t that awesome? Well, I think it is so awesome that you don’t have to flip through your dictionary frequently, and especially during examination (in which you do not have the chance to open a dictionary at all!).
Since I did not bring my College Reading Skills book, I just turned on my laptop and googled on the simple strategies to become a better reader. You can always use any kind of strategies, but these are the strategies that I introduced to my form 4 students;
My objective for this lesson is to make sure that my students know how to be a better reader. Instead of reading word by word, they should know how to read faster and guess the meaning through context. For instance, read the whole text and get the main idea.
- Previewing: Get to know the structure of a text.Review the titles, sub-headings, or photo captions.
- Predicting : Guess what the text is all about. Look at the vocabulary or words used repeatedly to get the general idea about a particular text.
- Skimming & scanning : Have a quick survey on the main ideas from the text.
- Guessing from context : Use prior knowledge or read the whole sentence to guess or find a clue about the meaning of unfamiliar words.
- Paraphrasing : Restate the information in your own words, based on your own understanding. It’s like making a general conclusion about what you read.
Here are the steps that I used for the lesson:
- Ask students to take out a piece of paper and list down things that they like and dislike about reading in English. (I told them that I will play 1 song- which became the timer. They needed to stop writing when the song ends.)
- Ask students to share their answers and write on the whiteboard. Compare their answers and discuss.
- Tell students that you are going to give them tips to become a better reader. Then, explain the 5 tips (or you may use any other tips available). 😉 You may use printed materials with a mind map or just draw them on the whiteboard beforehand!
- To practice the skills, use any reading materials that you can find. As for me, I prefer to have magazine articles as they are more organized rather than a short story. So my students can start searching for main ideas as recommended in the tips.
- Test your students’ understanding by asking them to highlight the main ideas from the excerpt, or answer some questions regarding to the text.
Make sure you find a suitable text for this practice. The text itself has to suit your students’ level of competency. Do not use a very difficult text with so many bombastic words for beginners, or you might have an awkward moment standing in front of the class with your students giving no response. Seriously, you don’t want to face that kind of condition…. It’s freaking awkward and embarrassing!
All the best!