Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Could you read it?
If yes, WHY?
How did you read it?
Read it once more, more carefully!
What is the secret of reading, then?

Shakespeare Song

Monday, December 27, 2010

Problem of 'READING' in ESL Classrooms.

When I got a chance to speak to some English Language Teachers, I was shocked to hear that the main problem they face in their classrooms is with reading. They say, most of the students of their classes are not able to read English! It is not the case of primary school children, but, that of high school students!

Then, I decided to take up this problem seriously. I observed my students, especially, who are not good at reading. I tried to trace my reading style also. Again, I analyzed my students. Observed them very close. I tried many tricks to trace how they read. Worked on the feed backs. Spent much time over them. Spoke to many teachers to know whether they know how they read. Asked them: "How do you read a sentence?" "A word?"

But, alas! Many a teachers were not aware of nor concerned about the process of reading!

So, I suggested the teachers to play some simple tricks to make them read properly.

The problem of reading we discussed above is not READING FOR UNDERSTANDING OR ENJOYMENT. But, it is merely the act of 'READING'. Reading the letters together. Then the words together.

Here, let's discuss READING a bit deeply.  


  • Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols for the intention of deriving meaning (reading comprehension) and/or constructing meaning. Written information is received by the retina, processed by the primary visual cortex, and interpreted in Wernicke's area.
  • the cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message.
  • a mental representation of the meaning or significance of something.
 The above are some of the definitions of READING.
Let's read what  Elizabeth S. Pang and et al said about reading:

"What is reading? Reading is about understanding written texts.
It is a complex activity that involves both perception and
thought. Reading consists of two related processes: word
recognition and comprehension. Word recognition refers to the
process of perceiving how written symbols correspond to one’s
spoken language. Comprehension is the process of making
sense of words, sentences and connected text. Readers typically
make use of background knowledge, vocabulary, grammatical
knowledge, experience with text and other strategies to help
them understand written text.
Much of what we know about reading is based on studies
conducted in English and other alphabetic languages........
Learning to read is an important educational goal. For both
children and adults, the ability to read opens up new worlds
and opportunities. It enables us to gain new knowledge, enjoy
literature, and do everyday things that are part and parcel of
modern life, such as, reading the newspapers, job listings,
instruction manuals, maps and so on. Most people learn to read
in their native language without difficulty. Many, but not all,
learn to read as children. Some children and adults need
additional help. Yet others learn to read a second, third or
additional language, with or without having learned to read in
their first language. Reading instruction needs to take into
account different types of learners and their needs. Research
has shown that there is a great deal of transfer from learning
to read in one language to learning to read in a second language.
The principles outlined below are based on studies of
children and adults, native speakers as well as those learning
to read in a second or foreign language. They deal with different
aspects of reading that are important in the planning and design
of instruction and materials. The practical applications are based
on general learning principles, as well as on research. Briefly
stated, these learning principles start with the learner in mind.
The type of learner will affect the type of methods and materials
to be used. The context of learning is also important. For
instance, children and adults who are learning to read in a
language different from their native language will also need to 
learn about the culture of the second or foreign language.
Because texts are written with a specific audience in mind,
cultural knowledge is present in texts and it is assumed that the
reader is familiar with such knowledge.
Both research and classroom practices support the use of a
balanced approach in instruction. Because reading depends on
efficient word recognition and comprehension, instruction should
develop reading skills and strategies, as well as build on learners’
knowledge through the use of authentic texts."
(Introduction to 'TEACHING READING'.) 

Reading has different dimensions.

Listen to this!

Teacher 1 :  But,.... most of them are not able to read even. What can I do with such students?
............... :  Have they learned alphabets?
Teacher 1 :  Yes, they know alphabets. But they cannot read a single word! They are groping.
..............  : That's it! Do you think that learning alphabets is necessary for reading English?
Teacher 2 : Of course! How can a child read without knowing the alphabets?
............... : But, is English a Phonetic Language?
Teachers  : No. It is not.
............... : So, knowing the alphabets alone will not help one read English, am I right?
Teachers  : hmm.. y...e...s.
............... : Alright! Shall we think of something different to help them read English?

If so, please post it as a comment!



Sunday, December 26, 2010

Welcome! Please wait!!

Hi friends!

This is my new blog.
I wish to share something useful (as I think) for the students and teachers of English. Hope you will enjoy and comment on what I post.