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Skilled reading in L2

发布时间:2017-09-28 11:29来源:网络

  Key words: L2,reading skills�

  Abstract: this thesis is based on my students� reading problem,it analyses the reasons first and then introduces solutions to help the students become skilled readers�
  The main focus on English has changed a lot since the last twenty years,teachers are supposed to cultivate students� speaking and listening skills.While many teachers are used to stressing the importance of reading and writing,so there were fewer speaking and listening chances in the classroom.When I was teaching,I found many students always thought reading was a painful experience. �
  As a teacher,I want to help the students become skilled readers.Therefore I try to find out why they don�t enjoy reading and how teachers can teach English in my following essay.�
  Problem �
  Overcoming the constraint of people who are word�bound has already been considered as a big problem for readers.Vocabulary problem often hinders reading comprehension,which is “consisting of understanding sentences in discourse,building a discourse structure,and integrating the understanding”(Alderson,2000,p12).In my experience of teaching English,vocabulary is always a problem for readers,because most of them can�t bear unfamiliar words.As soon as they encounter an unfamiliar word,they will look for its meaning in dictionary directly.Therefore even though they finish reading the whole text,they always can�t understand it.Actually due to their insufficient vocabulary knowledge,their reading speed is not only slowed down,but also their reading comprehension is hindered.This is a common phenomenon in learning L2. Dubin suggested(1989)“reading text includes so many new words that students feel frustrated,so they were dismayed by the reading length”.Whatever kind of reading the learner chooses,they need a certain level of vocabulary knowledge.Therefore,learners always don�t enjoy reading,some learners even stop reading.In other words,the insufficient vocabulary knowledge is an important factor in hindering learner�s reading comprehension.�
  The reasons of the problem�
  To understand the problem,it is necessary to analyze the reasons for it.Firstly,the insufficient vocabulary knowledge is a reason that contributes the problem.Grabe claimed“vocabulary is important in accounting for reading abilities”(Grabe,2002,p147).L2 reading is a complex process,a successful reading comprehension process requires �many� other factors,such as text structure and reading strategies.Hudson proposed“reading involves an interaction among vocabulary knowledge,text structure and syntactic knowledge”(Hudson,1998,p53). �
  However insufficient vocabulary is one of the main parts which hinders L2 reading comprehension.Hudson stressed“due to insufficient vocabulary knowledge, they can�t concentrate on the text meaning consistently and fluently”(Hudson,1998,p53).Therefore in order to successfully understand target reading text in a short time,the sufficient vocabulary knowledge is needed in improving reading comprehension. �

  Secondly,the transfer from L1 to L2 is a reason for the problem.It can influence reader�s attitude and strategies.Grabe suggested“transfer as interference influences L2 reading”(Grabe,2002,p52).In the L2 learning process,once learners found any language problems,they will look for help directly from their L. Grabe stated:“at the beginning of L2 levels,students� strongest resource is their L1 language(Grabe,2002,p52).The transfer from L1 to L2 is a wide area and has a different effect,positive transfer brings the L2 reading development through good literacy knowledge and reading strategies,while negative transfer blocks the L2 reading development.In the essay,I want to focus on the vocabulary transfer from L1 to L2 reading comprehension.Grabe proposed an example to prove the transfer from L1 to L2:“French and English share thousands of cognates,they are useful at reading”(Grabe,2002,p50).In other words,Grabe pointed cognates are an important factor in accelerating reading comprehension,if English shares more vocabulary with the learner�s L1,it will accelerate L2 reading comprehension. �
  Thirdly,vocabulary recognition is another reason that contributes to the problem.Norbert stressed the vocabulary acquisition process:“explicit learning through the focused study of words and incidental learning through exposure of the usage of language”(Schmitt,2000,p116).While explicit and incidental learning always mixed together in L2 learning.Schmitt suggested:“explicit learning is useful for the most frequent words,while infrequent words are useful for incidental learning”(Schmitt,2000,p121).However vocabulary recognition is incremental,Schmitt described:“on the first exposure to a new word, some sense of word form and meaning is picked up,it was only a single exposure.As a person gains a few more exposure,some other meaning senses will be encountered”(Schmitt,2000,p117).�
  Solutions �
  To deal with the insufficient vocabulary problem in L2 reading,I think there are some methods that teachers can apply.Firstly,teachers can focus on specific reading strategies,which can benefit learner�s reading comprehension.Birch proposed:“fluent and effective reading involves the reader ignoring unknown words,if understanding them is essential,guessing their meaning”(Birch,2002,p93).Actually,students don�t need to understand every word to understand the whole text,because some words are not vital.Birch advised“students must be aware there are lots of language clues available when they are stopped by unfamiliar words”(Birch,2001,p129).By using certain clues, the students can figure out what the meaning is for unfamiliar words.In addition,top�down,bottom�up and interactive are helpful to insufficient vocabulary. �
  Secondly,teaching methods is another way to deal with knowing insufficient vocabulary.Once teachers predicted there are some difficult vocabularies in reading text,they can present the vocabularies before reading.In reading instruction,teachers can“advise students to skip unknown words to focus on getting the overall meaning of the text”(Birch,2002,p130).Besides,teachers can pay attention to the reading text selection.Different learners have various needs and reasons for learning English,therefore teachers need to find suitable reading text for each specific learner. �

  In an English classroom,teachers also need to think about vocabulary range based on students� needs.It is better to choose a reading text containing high�frequency words and suiting learner�s English level,as Candlin says“difficulties with vocabulary have consistently been found as the most significant factors measuring the readability of texts”(Candlin,1988,p97).�
  For the second reason of the transfer from L1 to L2,teachers need to avoid relying heavily on L1 interference,due to some negative transfer.As Birch says“students might encouraged to find clues in the reading context to guess what the word means,andapply cognate strategies to find similarities between English and their L1”(Birch,2002,p128).To pass the language threshold,teachers encourage the students to take advantage of reading to read in and outside the classroom as much as they can.In addition,teachers need to choose suitable reading texts carefully. �
  For vocabulary recognition,extensive reading is helpful to build vocabulary recognition.Schmitt claimed:“another way to expedite incidental learning in L2 learning is to increase the amount of exposure”(Schmitt,2000,p121).Through extensive reading,learners meet certain vocabulary repeatedly,boosting the vocabulary recognition.Hedge proposed“extensive reading is a highly productive step towards autonomous learning”(Hedge,2000,p204).Krashen(1985)from the point of L2 acquisition proposed“learners need to be exposed to large amounts ofcomprehensible input which is meaningful,relative,then clearly individual extensive reading outside class has value”.In other words,vocabulary recognition and learners�extensive reading outside the classroom are both important.�
  In addition,the overall learning context should be considered,such as learner�s cultural background,proficiency level and certain vocabulary knowledge.As Birch claims:“L2 readers compensate the lack of specific language knowledge with background knowledge”(Birch,2002,p129).Besides,teachers need to mix incidental learning and explicit teaching together.Schmitt claimed:“explicit teaching can supply valuable first introduction to a word,incidental learning can broader understanding collocations and other high�level knowledge”(Schmitt,2000,p137).For frequent words,teachers can use explicit teaching,while using extensive reading to teach less frequent words.However,students are required to develop vocabulary recognition,teachers need to give students freedom to choose the right strategies.�
  In the essay,I showed my student�s problem of difficult to get pleasure from reading.Based on it,I analyzed the reasons:insufficient vocabulary in L2 reading,the transfer from L1 to L2.Then,I outlined some solutions to solve each problem to build readers� reading skills.While in my solutions,I noticed some solutions are not really linked to vocabulary,but they can improve learners� vocabulary knowledge.I think basic vocabulary knowledge is necessary for L2 learners,while reading skills,background knowledge are important as well.Through introducing some basic knowledge,a teacher can help students become skilled readers. �
  Alderson,J(2000)�Assessing Reading� Cambridge:CUP�
  Birch,B(2002)�English L2 Reading:getting to bottom� London: Longman�
  Candlin,C(1988)�Vocabulary and Language Teaching� London:Longman