Make Reading an Addiction
*Eak Prasad Duwadi
In many academic settings around the world, students are expected to read and understand information from textbooks and other academic materials written in English. However motivating the learners to reading has been increasingly low. Either the educators or the parents do worry how they can develop reading habit in the learners today because of the blank mind syndrome learners do have now.
Based on a longitudinal experimentation with the college students in Nepal, the researcher has suggested an immersion method, and recommended some activities that will accelerate reading. Duwadi (2014) claims that critical reading is the vital process of writing too. The ability to read academic texts is considered one of the most important skills that university students of English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) need to acquire (Levine & Reves ). However, before implementing the strategies, the researcher followed the following steps:
- Setup a library in the institute
- Refurbised the library
- Boight books and e-books of different genres
- Made rules that all the teaching and non-teaching staffs together had to do reading for 15 minutes every day before starting class
In this section the researcher discussed how to read critically. Four subsections (a) reading to find information, (b) reading for basic comprehension, (c) reading to learn; and (d) general reading activities that can make academic reading effective.
Reading to find information
ESL developmental reading courses continue to rely on such standard activities as comprehension and skill-building exercises (Shih):
- Scan passages to find and highlight key facts (dates, numbers, and terms) and information.
- Look for capital letters, numbers and symbols, and special formatting (such as italics) as you scan.
- Look for words in a passage that have the same meaning.
- Highlight each one with the same color marker.
- Notice the way the writer used these words with similar meanings.
Reading for basic comprehension
Whenever you read, identify rhetoric of the passage type (cause/effect, compare/contrast, classification, problem/solution, description, narration):
- Practice skimming a passage quickly to get a general impression of the main idea instead of carefully reading each word and each sentence.
- Practice reading the introductory paragraph, the first sentences of paragraphs and the concluding paragraph to get the gist of a passage.
- Develop the ability to skim quickly and identify major points.
- After skimming a passage, read it again more carefully and write down the main idea, major points and important facts.
- Choose some unfamiliar words in a passage and guess the meaning from the context (surrounding sentences). Then look the words up to confirm their meaning.
- Underline all pronouns (for example: he, him, they, them,etc.) and identify the nouns to which they refer in the passage.
- Paraphrase individual sentences in a passage. Then paraphrase entire paragraphs.
Reading to learn
Extensive reading has the potential to help English language learners become better readers and make improvements in other aspects of their English skills (Leslie, Richard, & Harsch).
- Organize the information in the passage:
- Make a list of the major points of the passage and the minor points that support them.
- If the passage categorizes information, create a chart and place the information in appropriate categories.
- Create an oral or written summary of the passage using the charts, lists and outlines.
- Read, read, and read some more
- Read easy books
- Read interesting books
- Reread books you found particularly interesting
- Read for general understanding
- Ignore unknown or difficult words. Skip them and continue reading
- Avoid using dictionaries
- Expand your reading comfort zone
- Set reading goals and keep a reading log
- Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
General reading activities
These are the key general reading activities (ETS, 2015):
- Sort out jargons by academic subject areas and create flash cards to review the words frequently.
- Distinguish the meanings of prefixes, suffixes and common roots of words.
- Scan effectively text for key facts and important information Increasing reading fluency and rate.
- Understand the general topic or main idea, major points, important facts and details, vocabulary in context, and pronoun usage
- Make inferences about what is implied in a passage
- Study the organization of academic texts
- Search the main ideas and the supporting details and pay attention to the relationship between them. Notice how the end of one sentence relates to the beginning of the next sentence.
- Make a list of the important points of the passage and then write a summary of it. If the text is a comparison, be sure your summary reflects that. If the text argues two points of view, be sure both are reflected in your summary.
- Work with a friend to improve your reading skills.
- Read an article from a journal or magazine and your friend reads a different article. Each person makes up the reporter’s questions (who, what, where, when, how and why).
- Exchange articles, read the new article and answer each other’s questions.
- Test or from any academic text. Think about the main idea of each paragraph and then write a “headline” for each paragraph. The “headline” should be short (five to eight words) and it should capture the main idea of the paragraph. Then write a five to six sentence summary of the entire passage.
- Make a copy of an article from a newspaper or from an academic text. Cut the text into paragraphs and then try to put the text back together. Look for words that give you clues about the ordering of the paragraphs to help you put the text back together.
- Work on increasing your reading speed. This can be done by timing yourself as you read. Read a short text (article or short reading from a text) once and record the time it takes you to read it. Then read it again and try to improve your reading speed.
- Set up a book club with your classmates or friends. Have each person choose something for everyone to read. Set up a schedule and discuss one reading at each meeting.
- Keep a reading log in which you write summaries or responses to texts you read.
- Determine what is happening in a story.
English language learners can improve their reading skills by reading regularly, especially university textbooks and other materials that cover a variety of subject areas and are written in an academic style. A wide variety of digital academic texts are also available on the Internet. Both the faculties and the learners need to read them as more as possible. This will certainly help you to be a book lover.
Duwadi, E. P. (2014). Reading critically. IATEFL Voices, 237, 9.
ETS (2015). TOEFL planner. Retrieved on May 21, 2015 from http://www.ets.org
Leslie, Richard, & Harsch (October, 2004). Tips for reading extensively. English Teaching Forum, 12-18. Retrieved on June 14, 2015 from http://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/04-42-4-g.pdf
Levine, A., Ferenz, O., & Reves, T. (2000). EFL academic reading and modern technology: How can we turn our students into independent critical readers. TESL-EJ, 4 (4), 1-9.
Shih, M. (1992). Beyond comprehension exercises in the ESL academic reading class. TESOL Quarterly, 26(2), 289-318.