Questions to Consider Before Starting a Reading Lesson

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Before staring your reading lesson, you should think about the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the reading passage? Is it to improve your students’ reading skill or to reinforce structure or a kind of vocabulary or is it only for pleasure?
  2. On average, how many new words are included in the passage and how will you deal with them?
  3. When introducing the text, who will read? You, students aloud or students silently?
  4. In the textbooks which you use, are there questions checking your students’ comprehension of the reading passage?
  5. Are the questions in any sort of order? e.g. from easy to difficult or ordered according to the parts of the reading passage?
  6. Do the parts of the reading passage, which provide the answer to the questions, follow the same order as the questions themselves?
  7. Are the questions you will use, general or specific?

* General questions check your students understanding of the central idea of the whole text.  Usually students have to read most of the text to be able to answer the general question.

* Specific questions, however, focus on some points of detail.  Students can answer these questions by reading one sentence or one part, for example.

Teaching reading comprehension

The importance of teaching reading:

Teaching reading in the English language course should include the following set of learning goals:

1- enable students to read a wide range of texts in English.

2- develop awareness of the structures of the written English texts.

3- develop the ability of criticizing the content of texts.

4- practice different types of reading according to the purpose of reading.

5- exposing students to different types of texts to build solid knowledge of the language and to facilitate reading in the future.

Four types of reading:

1- Skimming: reading for the gist or the main idea of the text.

2- Scanning: reading to find specific information.

3- Extensive reading: reading for pleasure and general understanding.

4- Intensive reading: reading for getting the details.

A good reader:

Reading research shows that a good reader should:

1- be able to read extensively as well as intensively.

2- integrate information in the text with existing knowledge.

3- be able to use the two models of reading in processing a text.

4- be able to skim or scan a text depending on what he reads and the purpose of reading.

5- read for a purpose. His reading serves a function.

Why a person reads? A person may read in order to:

1- gain information.

2- verify existing knowledge.

3- criticize the writer’s ideas or the writing style.

4- enjoy oneself.

5- get specific information.

Three models of reading:

1- A bottom-up model: it emphasizes part-to-whole processing of a text. According to this model the readers should:

* identify sounds.

* recognize letters.

* link sounds.

* combine letters to recognize spelling patterns.

* link spelling patterns to recognize words.

Then proceed to sentence, paragraph and text-level processing.

2- A top-down model: it suggests that processing of a text begins in the mind of the reader by driving the meaning. According to this model the readers should:

* comprehend the text even though they don’t recognize each word.

* read primarily for meaning rather than mastery of letters, letter/sound relationships or words.

* use the whole meaning and the grammatical cues to identify unrecognized words.

* use meaning activities rather than a series of word recognition skills.

* read sentences, paragraphs and whole texts.

* gain the most amount of information through reading.

3- An interactive model: this model emphasizes the interaction of bottom-up and top-down process simultaneously through the reading process.

Three stages for teaching reading comprehension:

1- Stage One: Before reading ( pre-reading ):

* establish a purpose for reading ( e.g. answer a pre-question )

* activate prior knowledge.

* present new concepts and key vocabulary.

* ask students what information they predict to be included in the text.

* preview the text.

2- Stage Two: During reading:

* students read, comprehend, clarify,  visualize and build connections.

* students integrate the knowledge and information they bring to the text with new information in the text.

* pay attention to the structure of the text.

* read to achieve the purpose for reading.

* think about answers for certain questions.

* determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and concepts.

3- Stage Three: After reading ( post reading ):

* students expand prior knowledge, build connections and deepen understanding.

* students show their understanding of what they have read by answering some comprehension questions.

* evaluate the value and quality of the text.

* respond to the text by discussing its main ideas.

A helpful guide for types of questions to be asked before and after reading:

Bloom’s Taxonomy: reading activities and questions should take into account the six-level hierarchy of skills that Bloom suggested in his taxonomy. They are as follows:

1- Knowledge: includes recall or recognition of information.

2- Comprehension: includes explain, describe or rephrase the text.

3- Application: apply the information learned in the text.

4- Analysis: make inferences or derive generalizations.

5- Synthesis: combine several ideas.

6- Evaluation: judge the value or importance of the text.

13 steps to teach the short story

1- Introduce the title and the author. 

2- Introduce the characters and the names of places.

3- Point out the glossary and how it is organized & how to use it.

4- Assign pages for quick, silent reading at home.

5- Start the reading lesson by asking pupils to look at pictures in these pages & asking some warm up questions.

6- Present the meanings of the key words in these pages.

7- Put one or more Pre-question for each page.

8- Ask pupils to read without knowing every word to answer the pre-question.  

9- Discuss the answers with pupils

10- Put more questions about details & ask pupils to read again to answer

11- Discuss the answers

12- Ask pupils about what they expect may happen next.

13- Give three questions to be answered at home to encourage pupils to read the next assigned part. 

About Questions

1- Tackle the same types and number included in the specifications of the exam.

2- Ask most questions orally; write only 2 or 3 on the board of the most importance.

3- Give 3 questions to be answered at home on what have been read and on the next assigned part of reading.