We are well into our reading lessons now :). This morning in feedback we had an interesting discussion. As I wrote about before, in a reading lesson, it is a fine line between teaching and testing. The students may be able to find the information, but they haven’t developed the reading skill you are trying to teach them. In practice teaching, my teachers have found that the skills of skimming and inferring meaning of vocabulary pose the greatest challenge. Here are some strategies they have come up with:
1. Acting out how to do the reading skill is really helpful. Show them what to do with their eyes and their hands. Show them how to hold the paper and where to put their question sheet. When they are reading their eyes should usually go back and forth between the questions and the text. By showing your students how to do these actions first, they will feel how their body is involved in each kind of reading skill.
2. If you have an inferring task, give your students multiple choice options to help lead them to the meaning of the word. It can be too challenging to try to write a definition when you are working on developing this skill. This of course depends on the level of the students and the level of the words they are inferring the meanings of.
3. When students need read to develop reading skills, particularly skimming, give them tips to explain what the students should look for. This way they naturally will use this skill. For example, if the students are trying to skim to see if an article has a positive or negative point of view, ask the students what kind of words should pop out to them, i.e. negative adjectives, the word ‘not’, strong negative verbs. Let the students know they don’t know exactly what they are looking for (a specific word), but by having these words stand out, they can get the idea of the feeling very quickly.
4. Consider the layout of the text. By having the reading text all on one page it is easy for the students to read from top to bottom. Also, if you are having your students match parts of the story with each other, give the additional parts on cards. This will help the students see the whole text without having to turn pages and so they can still read from top to bottom.