View Full Version : reading a text in class

06-Nov-2005, 17:25
Hi there!
What is the best way to read a text in class? students read silently to themselves? students ake turns to read aloud?
it seems as if reading texts in class takes all the class time and not very effective.

06-Nov-2005, 21:36
Hello Tili!

my name is Sherry, and I'm an English teacher (this is my first year). in regards to your question of how to read a text in class... well, in my class, first of all we read the headline of the text, trying to understand what the text is about, then i am teaching the main idea of the text through few guiding questions. in this way, i am encourging the students to read a text, in a productive way.
well, i hope it was meaningfull

06-Nov-2005, 21:53

Personally, I think that there is nothing worse than having a group of students sit in total silence reading a text. :-( Teaching English should be about communication, so therefore, I think that it is better to get the students to read the text before them come into the class. The time in the class can be better used to discuss the text, or by getting the students to write their own comprehension questions to test each other.

I have spoken to students and most of them tell me that they hate reading texts in class. It is totally passive, and is only useful for students that need a lot of help with pronunciation. However, you run the danger of making a fool out of somebody in front of the whole class. If you are introducing a text that they have not seen before, then get them to speed read it for specific information and try to make the task as dynamic and communicative as possible. :-D I think that reading skills should also use some active skills, so it is good to build up the context before introducing the text (receptive skills), and then put the students in real life situations where time is limited. Make sure that the reading skill is also about improving the students ability to scan for specific information, rather than long sessions spent trying to decipher every individual word.


07-Nov-2005, 23:29
A big question is: "Do they read texts at home?" What if they don't?
Reading is one of the four marcoskills and has to be developed alongside with the other three to ensure well-ballanced language learning . There are a lot of pre-reading, while-reading and after-reading activities, that make reading in a classroom both interesting and meaningful.
Moreover, reading in class helps students acquire and develop scanning techniques - a very helpful tool in contemporary information-driven society, the tool, which is often overlooked or underdeveloped if not attended to properly during lessons.
Let's not discard classroom reading, let's change the approach.:-)

white rose
21-Nov-2005, 08:06
I don't like reading in silence generally:-?
But I think the best way to encourage your student to read is to read in a loud voice one by one and explain then after finishing the whole text ask them to ask QUESTIONS FOR COMPREHENSION that is my way try it ;-)

26-Nov-2005, 07:39
Reading texts in loud voice is useful to learn pronounciation of words. It gives the student much confidence. However, reading in silence is excellent for comprehension and that should be done at home and reading in loud voice should be done at class. I remember when I was young child my Arabic teacher was reading first and then she let us read in loud voice student by student. ;-)

28-Nov-2005, 03:42
Hello everyone,
I strongly believe that reading is not merely a receptive process of picking up information from a page in a word-by-word manner. Rather, it is a selective process and characterized as an active process of comprehending. It is a real interaction between the author and the reader.
Therefore, it depends on your teaching focus and purpose with regard to reading. If you wish to help your students improve their pronunciation and speech, reading aloud may fit that focus. Yet if you emphasize reading comprehension and reading strategy use, it is important to ensure them to read silently but interactively and actively. Reading in advance is a good idea if you focus on discussion based on what your students read at home. However, if you tend to make your students strategic readers, you may find it important to teach them how to use reading strategies to be "good" readers as well.
I like teaching reading very much and I think it is teachers that can make reading acitivities productive in an interesting way.
I agree with ariuslynx in the way that there are so many interesting reading activities that teachers can employ to motivate their students. Surely, it is hard but worth trying. I like applying think-alound activity in reading and my students enjoy it. And there are tons of teaching resources we can make good use of.
For me, determining a purpose to teach reading helps me set relevant tasks or activities for my students in a reading class.
Bye for now:-D

01-Dec-2005, 22:01
I disagree with most of the posters. I believe that reading in class can be a useful assignment, but I can tell you that if you call upon them to read aloud it can be disasterous, especially if they can anticipate the reading order. They will immediately figure out which paragraph they are to be reading and skip ahead to review it to make sure there are no difficult-to-pronounce words. Reading silently is the only way to go.

But the other gentlemen does have a point. Endless silent reading in class isn't going to be that interesting and draws away from the point of encouraging verbal communication. I find it's best to have the students work in pairs with one student reading paragraph 1, the other paragraph 2. They can then summarize what they've read to each other (ideally in English) and then review what the other had read in order to verify that his summary was accurate.

04-Dec-2005, 21:51
I may possibly be able to share insight from the perspective of the student.

In high school, reading texts was strictly done in class (silently or aloud). Now that I am a junior in college, and I believe that high school left me ill-prepared for what awaited me when I decided to study English in college.

For me, reading texts only in class in high school taught me that I only need to read in class to "get by" in class. What I suggest is that reading can be done in class - and if this is so, I believe it should be done aloud - but you need to stress to students the importance of reading at home. They need to know that they have to make extra effort to use their time at home for reading so that the text may be discussed in class.

Jeremy Taylor
15-Dec-2005, 17:31
Reading is a very important skill and great for learning a a language - but when do you ever need to read out a text in your own language? It is not a skill that many people need and I think time can be better spent doing other things. I encourage my students to read as much as possible - my record is one Polish student who read seventy graded readers in 2 weeks. Her English is now amazing!

16-Dec-2005, 06:45
I agree with Jeremy that reading aloud is not a very natural activity and doesn't, IMO, give much practice for pronunciation. Also, when you read a text aloud, how much of it do you absorb?

17-Dec-2005, 03:23
yes, reading aloud prevents readers from gaining the gist of the reading text thoroughly since the reading process is so complicated such as strategic process, metacognitive awareness etc.
I am interested in how to teach students to become strategic readers so that they can enhance their reading capacity by themselves. Any suggestions?;-)

28-Dec-2005, 09:55
I think the articles presented in class can serve two purposes. They can be short, thus you can get the students to speculate about them, do pre-reading exercises etc., scan it, ask each other questions about it, and possibly read aloud if you have time and if there are doubts. Reading aloud DOES help to fix words in your long-term memory. If they are long, they need to be read at home to be discussed in class or they will take up too much time. I agree that there are classes that won't read articles if you assign them for homework. It really depends on the class you are working with. However, I think that reading SHORT articles aloud can be useful:-) , especially if you choose the students in a random order.

07-Apr-2010, 16:44
I just wanted to say that this thread I stumbled across when searching for "Summarize" activities was very interesting, esp. the opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of reading aloud. Thank you.

10-Apr-2010, 13:54
I'd agree, reading out loud is pretty pointless in my opinion. Reading really needs to be functional and that should be passed on to the class, giving the students specific activities which will reflect the real world reading they will need to do.

Skimming - get them reading for gist as we do when we scan a newspaper or magazine.

Scanning - reading for detail so we can say when a performance starts or which bus goes to the town center.

Extensive reading - for pleasure and to get the main summary or overview of what is happening.

(I wouldn't include intensive reading unless specifically required.)

And of course all the meta skills. This link Reading - the ICAL TEFL wiki (http://icalweb.com/wiki/index.php?title=Reading) might be useful if you are thinking about reading strategies in the classroom.