Rationale The common approach of lower level language learners is to focus on reading every word and understanding every word of a text. The reader analyses every single word, but instead he gets a general idea from the text, because he is not focused in reading for specific detail. Instead of reading each word, the reader takes words in chunks, that is to say, sets of words that give meaning to the text, such as phrases, clauses or even whole sentences.
It is also important to state that like adults, most of our reading is silent.
When we read silently, we save the time spent on articulating words, and read in groups of words instead of one word at a time. However, a lot of people like students, are prone to reading for detail, which in the academic context for example, can be counterproductive if they are due to read just for an overall idea. The same happens with students who are learning a foreign or second language, and the most effective way to deal with this is by providing appropriate class activities intended to help the students’ speed reading skills.
By doing so, they will be more focused on skimming to get the general idea from a text, rather than reading for detail. Receptive skill 2: reading for specific information Procedure Tell your students that now they will have 3 minutes to read the article for a second time to search for specific information. Tell the students they can read and do the activity at the same time. Match statements 1-8 to where they are mentioned in sections A-D of the reading: 1. The bank was angry at Lance and wanted their money to be returned. (D)
2. He paid for a video, a soda, and a gift. (C) 3. The first banker confirmed the conversion rate and informed him that he would receive less than $20. (B) 4. There were consequences that nobody could have imagined as a result of the note being fake. (A) 5. The boy was advised that the best opportunity for him to know how much the note was worth was by going to the bank. (A) 6. Once they were notified that the note was reliable, the cashier prepared a cheque. (B) 7. The happy boy let his mother take care of the money. (C) 8.
Lance was asked where he got the note. (C) ‘Do not pass go, do not collect $151’ Dargaville The Christchurch Press 11. 03. 2005 A. When 13 year old Lance Auckett of Pouto, south of Dargaville, was told to clean out his bedroom before the start of the school term, the results had repercussions no-one could have envisaged. When he pulled out a box of school books from under his bed and thumbed through them, out fell a 10,000 yen note. “Mum, do you reckon this is real? ” he asked. Lance was then told that the only way to find out was to take it to a bank.
B. At the first bank he went to he asked if the note was real and, if so, how much it was worth. While the teller was speaking to him, the manager telephoned Auckland and was advised not to pay out without sending the note through for verification. Meanwhile, the teller checked the conversion rate and told the boy he could expect to get about $15. He tried another bank and the amount went up to about $49. As his mother was still shopping, Lance and his mate decided to try yet another bank.
They were told the note appeared to be real and the teller arranged to have a cheque made out for it, but Lance had one more bank to visit. C. At the Dargaville branch of the National Bank he was given the best rate of $151. 20, which he accepted. A delighted Lance gave the money to his mother to look after, and they returned to Pouto. During the next couple of weeks he spent some of the money on a tape, a soft drink, and a wedding present. No-one expected the next development.
Lance went off to school as usual when he was called into the principal’s office, where a police officer was waiting. Lance was asked where he got the note. He told them. D. At this point his mother was brought back into the picture and asked to contact the National Bank because, on sending the money to Japan, they had discovered it was Japanese Monopoly money – worthless. Now the bank would like its money back and the parents feel they should not be responsible for paying it because the boy had not intended to defraud.
He had asked if the note was real. The back declined to comment. (This attachment is not taken into account for the word count). Make a backup of your instructions on the whiteboard; elicit ICQs of the instructions given, and handout the worksheet. Materials: Adapted article ‘Do not pass go, do not collect $151’ Dargaville The Christchurch Press 11. 03. 2005 Answer sheet for the activity. Aims: To give the students the opportunity to practice their ability to scan for specific information in a reading. Rationale:
By doing this kind of activity focused on reading for specific information, the students not only focus their attention on details in a specific text, but they also gain understanding. It is known that experts in this field state that reading for detail reinforces receptive skills, creating a positive and necessary habit where language learning is concerned. Creating this important habit helps students broaden their horizons in regard to language learning, confidence, and determination for an overall proficiency in communicational skills. (Scrivener 1994:188).
Productive skill: speaking Procedure: Tell the students they will be organized into 2 groups to debate the following: Should the boy’s mother assume the responsibility of giving the money back to the bank, or should they keep it? Organize groups and set students on the task. While students talk to each other, monitor their conversations, taking notes for possible error correction. After 10 minutes complete the task with a whole class feedback. Finish the lesson with a brief error correction session if necessary. Materials: No especial material for this practice activity.
Aims: To generate interest in the topic and set the appropriate environment for speaking, so that the students feel motivated to interact with each other in a freer activity to enhance their speaking skills. Rationale for speaking: Sometimes people set out to learn English and come across a common situation, in which they may already have some background information about the language such as mental lists of vocabulary and grammar rules, but they do not know how to put their ideas across when it comes to speaking confidently with other English speaking people.
This is basically due to their lack of practice, which generates nervousness, and lack of self-confidence when trying to speak. Fortunately, as teachers of English, we have specific methods to deal with this issue in an effective way. The most important is to ensure that the students will be involved in a pressure-free environment. This activity not only provides background information to support their ideas, but it also helps them to practice fluency and confidence. (Scrivener 1994:147-148).
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