Effective teaching of reading is an important aspect as reading does not come as naturally as speaking. Children do not learn how to read just by being exposed to reading materials, but rather, for them to learn this important skill, they ought to be taught explicitly and systematically.
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To start with, it is important to establish the main aim of teaching reading as there are several reasons why a learner can read. For instance, one can read in order to develop his/her knowledge of the language of instruction or for fun. An individual may also read for the purpose of gathering information or for confirming the authenticity of the knowledge at hand or even to critically assess someone’s thoughts or style of writing.
Establishing the intention of reading affects the most effective method of comprehension reading. For instance, in case a person is reading a particular poem for the purpose of gratification, he/she is only required to make out the words used by the poet and the manner in which they are presented and has no need to classify the subject of the poem.
On the other hand, in case an individual uses a scientific article with the aim of supporting a certain outlook, one requires to have been exposed to the terminologies being used. He/she should also comprehend the specific information as well as the cause-effect cycle of the information presented. This encompasses the main objective of teaching reading to learners in our learning institutions.
In the past, my main failure in teaching reading was mainly attributed to my presumption of the aim of learning how to read in a language, which I viewed as merely to get the content written in a given lingo. During that time, I mainly restricted teaching reading to literary texts that indicated a deep affiliation to culture.
However, this approach was wrong because it presupposed that students learn to read in a particular language only through learning its terminologies, words and sentence structures, but not by actually reading it, which ignores the aspect of communicative competence.
However, as a result of learning the importance of communicative approach and applying it in the teaching of reading, I have had a better perception of the role of reading as well as the types of texts to be applied in teaching reading in any given language, as a result of which I have succeeded in this endeavor.
When a teacher’s main objective of teaching reading encompasses communicative competence, diverse reading materials such as newspapers, comprehension text books as well as internet should be used. This is because exposing the learners to diverse reading materials develops their communicative competence tremendously. For this reason, we cannot separate instruction in reading from reading practice at any one time.
As an instructor of reading skills, I plan to lay out some comprehension strategies that my learners will employ in order to reap maximum benefits from any given texts in future. This way, the learners will learn to become dynamic and focused readers who can manage reading comprehension on their own.
The strategies include instruction on comprehension monitoring where I will teach the learners on how to be aware of what they understand and make out whatever they do not comprehend as well as employ suitable means of solving comprehension problems. In addition,
I will expose the learners to metacognition skills which will require them to have control over their reading and establish the purpose of reading prior to the reading process, while establishing the hurdles they encounter in understanding a particular comprehension. Furthermore, I will teach the learners on how to make use of semantic as well as graphic organizers for effective understanding.
These include diagrams as well as subject words that are crucial in understanding any comprehension. Other important aspects that I plan to teach include formulating and answering comprehension questions, elaborating the structure of the story as well as summarizing the main components of a given comprehension.
In conclusion, even though a teacher is crucial in instructing effective comprehension skills, the benefits can only be achieved through cooperative learning. Learners should work hand in hand with each other in order to comprehend texts. Besides, they should also employ the given strategies of comprehension reading. We as the instructors should assist the learners to work in groups and model the reading strategies to them.