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Joined: 08 May 2012
Posts: 14
Location: Camden, NJ

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reading Reply with quote

Obviously, there are challenges to teaching reading to students whose first language is not English (and sometimes even for those students whose first language is English!). However, there are lots of different types of curriculum in place to address those concerns. So, let's place that aside and assume that the student in question has mastered the skill of reading. This is what I perceive to be the bigger problem: schema theory and background knowledge relating to reading comprehension. (Schema theory: "the hallmark of which is that a text does not by itself carry meaning. The reader brings information, knowledge, emotion, experience and culture- that is schemata- to the printed word"). Mark Clarke and Sandra Silberstein (about 30 years ago) pointed out that "skill in reading depends on the efficient interaction between linguistic knowledge and knowledge of the world." I know that there are critics out there, but I completely agree with them. For those of you who also agree, as a newer teacher, I am stumped. How on earth is can you overcome this? How can such background knowledge even be begun to be taught? Is this just something to address on a text by text basis?
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Sally Olsen

Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1322
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything that you can do to give the children real life experiences will help. Make sure you take all your field trips, show lots of movies and talk about them, show Youtube clips about the subject of the particular books they are reading, have a playtime that emphasis situations they will encounter in the home, at work, shopping, at parties. Try out different food. Bring in their parents, siblings and relatives to talk about their different cultural customs, their holidays, their experiences in school and work. Have the mothers and fathers in to talk about their work and show pictures of their work. The more hands on experience you give them along with the appropriate vocabulary the better the children will read.

There is definite culture in English though and it is good to make the children aware of it as you go along. Even the arrangement of the alphabet, reading and writing from left to right, top to bottom make a difference in how you do things. The more children are aware that this is just one way of doing things the better I think.

Beverly Derewianka from Australia has written several books and lots of papers to show you how to get the children thinking about the way that we write. I would highly recommend her books.

Study anything you can about Genre. Again there are many schools of thought and it good that the children know all they can about them.
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