Posted by: Jason | June 1, 2014

Reading For Success

Hello all, I hope you are fine and dandy. The weather is starting to turn hot and I can see summer around the corner. Soon it will be rain, rain, rain, so, right now, I’m enjoying the sunshine. Very nice.

Last week, I went to a JALT (Japanese Association of Language Teachers) meeting and they were discussing the idea of learning English through reading. And something that came out of the presentation really caught my attention. There are two kinds of reading. Well, to be honest, there are many, many more than two kinds, but, for right now, I want to talk about these two.

The first kind is the one we do in many English classes, whether it’s at junior or high school or at the language schools, and that is deep reading. You get a passage, however long, and you work together and try to understand the meaning of the passage. It’s usually quite long and quite difficult. It is a great way to learn new words and build vocabulary. It usually involves lots of dictionary work and is often very slow.

However, there is another kind of reading which I don’t think we do enough of – and that’s reading for speed. In this kind of reading, the passage is not very difficult. You should not encounter many words that you don’t know, maybe two or three. And, usually, the words you don’t know, you can get the meaning of by looking at the words around it. We don’t use a dictionary and you should be able to read the passage, from beginning to end, without stopping.

There are some great advantages to this type of reading. For one, it’s a great confidence booster. You can look at the passage, after you are finished, and say, “Yes, I can do that. I am that good!” Which is great. And, there is an added bonus. Reading this type of passage is great for learning and building upon fluency. What I mean by fluency is that you can use the language that you see, understand it, and produce it properly when you need to. In other words, you aren’t just learning the words, but, you’re learning how those words go together to communicate with other people.

Something I’d like to try in the near future is giving some homework assignments for you to take home and try to read. Very easy passages that you can read, and reread. Time yourself. How long does it take you to read the passage and can you beat your time. It will take me a little while to build up enough passages to give you for homework, but, you can expect this very soon.

Yay! Homework!!

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