I’ve been reading a lot about reading lately. I think it’s interesting that reading skills are transferable from L1 to L2 IF the text is within a threshold limit of difficulty. The general rule seems to be 95% familiar words. Fewer than that and the text is probably too difficult for students to transfer their reading skills from their L1. It makes a strong case for pre-teaching vocabulary before reading.
Interestingly, this belies the idea of teaching skills such as skimming and scanning if the students can already do this in their own language. This is not a given, of course. And even if the learners can, practicing these skills helps focus the students on the meaning of the text. The text can then be used for more detailed language focus.
I have been thinking of different ways in which texts can be used for this. For example, exploring the features of particular text types, the language used that is typical of that type of text, stylistic choices made, how ideas are organized and discourse markers used to achieve the flow of ideas etc. When this is followed by productive activities (speaking and/or writing), the reading text/ lesson becomes much more than mere reading comprehension.
I wonder what other ways you are exploiting reading texts …
To see the great blog that inspired this train of thought click here.