Teaching Receptive Skills:Reading

For me,reading a foreign text is complex activity. I have to work with a new vocabulary, new terms and ideas. I doubly agree that knowing why we are reading a book and what we are looking for will help to get our brain alert for any information that we are looking for in the text as we read it.
Skimming and scanning are actually two very different ways of going through text. Scanning when speed reading is the process of looking for a specific piece of information, like looking up a word in the dictionary for example. We don’t read every word; We “scan” through the text to look for what We want and stop once we have found and absorbed the information we are looking for.
Skimming on the other hand involves going through the book page by page just looking at chapter titles and sub titles and categories and pictures and diagrams to get a general feel for the text and its layout to familiarize ourself with its structure. And to also help get an overview of the subject matter the book is on. And to get a general impression of what the text contains.
Scrievener (p.265) says that, although scanning are both ‘top – down skills and involved with finding individual points from the text without reading carefully through every word of the text,the way that a reader finds that information involves some degree of processing of overall shape and structure of the text. Moving her eyes quickly over the whole page,searching for key words or clues from textual layout and the content that will enable us to focus on smaller sections of the text we are likely to get answers from.
I used to encourage my students to read the questions before starting reading a text. It enables students to get a brief description of the text.To help them find the information they actually need to read and to avoid the information they don’t need to read.
I do agree that knowing why we are reading a book and what we are looking for will help to get our brain alert for any information that we are looking for in the text as we read it. Setting the reading purposes is also important and crucial part to effective reading itself.
Furthermore, Scrievener sugested to select an appropriate reading task and useful reading activities. If a text is used in class in ways that are reasonably similar to real life.it is likely that the task must be effective.It is also important to describe an exercise commonly found in exams. It is clearly useful as demanding way of testing comprehension,and useful for studying the fine shades of meaning a writer conveys (p.266).

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