Methods of Teaching Reading to Learners

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This qualification paper is dedicated to the problem of teaching reading at the 6th form stylistics, especially to the types of methods of teaching foreign language.
The subject of the qualification work is to develop the usage of methods of teaching reading in our educational system.
The object of the qualification paper is to study main methods of teaching reading and also the useful sides of these methods for the young pupils.
The actuality of the qualification paper is determined teaching reading with the help of exercises at the 6 form.


1.1. Approaches to teaching reading skills ……………………………..
1.2. Main methods of teaching foreign language………………………..
2.1 The content of teaching reading. …………………..……………….. 27
2.2. Some difficulties pupils have in learning to read in the English language. ………………………………..……………………………………..34
2.3. How to teach reading…...……………………………………………..38
3.1. Methods of Teaching Reading to Learners
3.2. Approaches to Correcting Mistakes………………………………….41
3.2. Practical works for the 6th form at school……..50

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When adopting the practical aims for a secondary school course  the following factors are usually taken into consideration: the economic and political conditions of society, the requirements of the state ; the general goals  of secondary school education; the nature of the subject, and the conditions for instruction.

Cultural aims.  

Learning a foreign language makes the pupil acquainted with the life, customs and traditions of the people whose language he studies through visual material  ( such as post cards with the views of towns, countryside, people, filmstrips, for example, “Great Britain “ . “ What Tourists can see in London” ) and reading material dialing with the countries where the target language is spoken. Foreign language teaching should promote pupils’ general educational and cultural growth by  increasing their  knowledge about foreign  countries, and by acquainting them with progressive traditions of the people whose language they study. Through learning a second language the pupil gains a deeper insight into the nature and functioning of language as a social phenomenon.

In conclusion it should be said that practical, educational, and cultural aims are intimately related and form an inseparable unity. The leading role belongs to practical aims, for the others can only be achieved through the practical command of the foreign language.

Educational aims.

Learning a second language is of great educational value. Through a new language  we can gain an insight into the way in which words express thoughts, and so achieve greater clarity and precision in our own communications. Even at the most

elementary level learning a second language teaches the cognizance of meaning, furnishes a term of comparison that gives us an insight into the quality of language. When learning a foreign language the pupil understands better how language functions and this brings him to a greater awareness of the functioning of his own language.

Since language is connected with thinking, through foreign language study we can develop the pupil’s intellect. Teaching a foreign language helps  the teacher develop the pupils’ voluntary and involuntary memory, his imaginative abilities, and will power. Indeed, in learning a new language the pupil should memorize words, idioms, sentence patterns, structures, and keep them in long-term memory ready to be used whenever he needs them in auding, speaking, reading, and writing.

Teaching a foreign language under conditions when this is the only foreign language environment, is practically impossible without appealing to  

 Pupils’ imagination. The lack of real communication forces the teacher to create imaginary situations for pupils, to speak about making each pupil determine  his language behaviour as if he were in such situations.

Teaching a foreign language contributes to the linguistic education of the pupil, the latter extends his knowledge of phonic, graphic, structural, and semantic aspects of  language as it is through contrastive analysis of language phonema.

The direct method appeared as a reaction against the grammar – translation method.

The prerequisites that brought about the appearance of new method are as follows. The rapid development of various branches of industry and the tremendous development of international trade and colonial expansion required plenty of officials who had a practical mastery of the language, people who could speak and write a foreign language and able to communicate with foreigners. Therefore practical mastery of a foreign language becomes the main purpose of teaching this subject at school. The rapid development of pedagogics, psychology, namely, apperceptive psychology, and linguistics promoted the appearance of new methods.

The characteristic features of the direct method are as follows:

1 ) the practical direction in the teaching of foreign languages which is understood as teaching language skills and speaking in particular, therefore spoken language becomes the basis of teaching;

2 ) the ignoring of the existence of the mother tongue as it is assumed that the mother tongue and learning a foreign language are similar processes, merely undertaken at different ages;

3 ) restricted application or very  often complete elimination of translation as a means of teaching a language which plays a leading part in the grammar – translation method; instead of translation, visual aids and various oral and written exercises are recommended on a large scale.

4 ) the inductive approach to teaching grammar, i.e., the learner may discover the rules of grammar for himself after he has become acquainted with many examples ( in the grammar – translation method the rule is first stated, and then sentences embodying the rule are studied; later the rule is put into practice by writing new sentences, generally by translating sentences from the mother tongue into the foreign language ) ;

5 ) great care in teaching pronunciation throughout the course, and especially the first weeks and months; correct pronunciation must be constantly practiced since comprehension and speaking is possible if the learner has adequate pronunciation in the target language;

6 ) great attention to the subjects of the texts, especially a topical arrangement of the material with the purpose of ensuring speech development.

The method is called direct because in teaching a foreign language an attempt is made to establish a direct connection between a foreign word and the thing or notion it denotes without the aid of the native language.

The teachers who accepted the method, involve the pupil from the first step of learning a new language in conversation and supply meaning by referring directly to objects and picture charts; they act out the meaning of sentences in order to make themselves understood.

The direct method found ready supporters. It stimulated enormously the pupil’s curiosity to learn and make progress. But there were too many difficulties in the use of the method, the main of them being the following:

  1. No scientific principles were applied to selection of study material and vocabulary in particular. The only principle applied was the topical one, i.e., the material was arranged in topics. As a result of such arrangement of vocabulary, the pupil had to assimilate a great number of words. For example, in textbooks compiled according to F. Gouin system  the vocabulary listed 8000 words.
  2. School conditions did not favour the development of pupil’s speech habits ( too few periods a week, overcrowded classes,  lack of visual materials )
  3. In the hands of inexperienced and ill – equipped teachers the direct method did not work and the teachers had to return to the old grammar – translation method.

      The main points in Palmer’s method are:

  1. In learning a foreign language the pupil must tread the path he has followed in acquiring the mother tongue, i. e, starting with oral language.
  2. The teaching of a foreign language must be based upon carefully selected material. H. Palmer was one of the first methodologists who tried to work out principles of vocabulary selection on a scientific basis.
  3. Great attention should be given to the rationalization of study material to make the assimilation of a foreign language easier.

H. Palmer compiles a series of study guides for teaching oral language:

English Through Actions – where a system of exercise drills based upon the concrete showing of things and actions is given.

100 Substitution Tables – in which typical English sentences are arranged in tables for pupils to make up their own sentences, following the pattern. Since Substitution Tables is one of the innovations introduced by H. Palmer and they are widely used in contemporary methods, it is relevant to mention what such tables allow the learner to do while using them:

1. To present the most frequently used English words and word groups in such a manner as to form the greatest number of useful sentences of general application.

2. To serve as practical ear – training exercises, by the use of which the pupil will come to understand the most rapid speech.

3. To serve as a series of pronunciation exercises, by the use of which the pupil will acquire fluency and rapidity of expression with the appropriate stress and intonation.

4. To provide a simple context for each word in such a way as to encourage the pupil to learn words not as isolated elements but as component parts of sentences.

5. To serve as a simple scheme for analysis in which the function of the various parts of speech and the nature of group – words are clearly shown.


1.2 Contemporary methods

      All the points mentioned above are undergoing further development in contemporary Methods abroad.

      There are many methods of language teaching and a considerable amount of controversy as to the best way of foreign languages teaching  abroad at present. However it is possible to group them into  ( 1 ) traditional methods which have their origin in the grammar – translation method, and ( 2 ) audio – lingual methods which are considered to be a further development of the direct method line.

       The traditional approach to foreign language teaching is characterized by ( 1 ) the use of the native language for explanation, retention and checking; ( 2 ) the deductive explanation of grammar and the use of grammar exercises; ( 3) the development of all the language skills, i. e., hearing, speaking, writing, reading

from the beginning of the course. This approach is called  t r a d i t i o n a l because it has been prevalent in schools for a long time. The traditional methods, although they are adopting some kinds of innovation in teaching techniques and teaching materials, still retain  those distinguishing characteristics which were mentioned above. Since these methods are often contrasted with  a u d i o – l i n g u a l  methods, and the latter are considered to be contemporary ones, we shall dwell upon the audio – lingual methods more thoroughly.

         The main features of the contemporary methods are:

  1. The development of audio – lingual skill first, i. e., listening comprehension and speaking, that is why the methods are called audio – lingual. The justification of the priority of spoken language in foreign language learning  is found in the observation that a language is first of all a system of sounds used for social communication; writing is a secondary derivative system people use for the recording of spoken language. Children normally learn spoken language before they learn written language. Even if the learner’s aim is only to read  or write the language he can attain a surer mastery of the foreign language if he passes through a substantial stage of work with the spoken language. It is thought that reading and writing might, at least in the beginning, interfere with the development of audio – lingual skills, and that especially the use of writing may lead to spelling pronunciation. The amount of delay between presentation of the spoken and the written material may vary from a short time to a very long time which depends on the aim of teaching, the pupil’s age, the organization of the course, the conditions of instruction, etc.
  2. Great care in teaching speaking so that the learner could use the spoken forms as accurately as possible, that is, with native – like sentence patterns and pronunciation. For this purpose the pupil should have some adequate model of speech – preferable in the person of a native or near – native speaker of the language, or in the form of a faithfully recorded voice of such a speaker . This is now becoming possible because of modern teaching equipment such as radio, television, language laboratories, and teaching machines.
  3. The rejection of translation as the main tool of instruction. All the exercises performed by the pupil are usually  within the target language. The use of the pupil’s native language is minimized. It is admitted to supply meaning to the pupil, although, even in this case the target language supported by whatever props, pictorial materials, or pantomimic gestures, is preferred.
  4. Teaching grammar through pattern practice. The grammatical exercises usually take the form of drills in which the pupil is asked to substitute words for other words, or to make  changes  in sentences ,  e. g., from singular to plural ,  from past to present , from active  to passive,  following   

the model. Grammatical  descriptions  of patterns are taught only after the patterns are  well on  the way to being mastered  at a purely  oral level, and the only when it is felt that such  descriptions will  hasten the learning process or help ensure retention. Pattern  practice with varying elements provides drill in the conscious application of structural elements and leads the pupil to the “automatic”  use of the structural patterns. Such an approach to teaching grammar is justified on the basis of theories and observations as to how children learn their mother tongue, and how they use well-practised  patterns of their native language.

  1. Extensive use of  “real-life” communication situations for stimulating  the

pupil’s language activity. The is done to involve the pupil in the act of communication in the target language, and in the way to arouse his interest  in language learning and increase his motivation. Modern teaching aids and teaching materials make such situations accessible,  e.g.,  a filmstrip with foreign language sound track can represent realistic situations and context and “engage” the pupil in conversations.


  1. Development of reading and writing first using the linguistic material the

     pupil has learned orally, and than the material characteristic of written                                               language with the aim of getting information (reading) and sending information (writing).

           These features of contemporary methods may be illustrated by Voix et images de France.

           There are quite a number prominent methodologists who have contributed to foreign language teaching, and English in particular. Some of the most interesting articles and chapters from  well known books have been translated into Russian and published under the title












2.1. The content of teaching reading

Reading is one of the main skills that a pupil must acquire in the process of mastering a foreign language in school. The syllabus for foreign languages lists reading as one of the leading language activities to be developed. It runs: “ To read, without grammar a dictionary, texts containing familiar grammar material and no more than 4-6 unfamiliar words per 100 words of the text the meaning of which, as a rule, should be clear from the context or familiar word- building elements ( in the eight -year school ). Pupils are to read, with the help of the dictionary, easy texts containing familiar grammar material and 6-8 unfamiliar words per 100 words of the text ( in the ten year school ).” Therefore  reading is one of the practical aims of the teaching a foreign language in schools.

Reading is of great educational importance, as reading is a means of communication, people get information they need from books, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. Through reading in a foreign language the pupil enriches his   knowledge of the world around him. He gets acquainted with the countries where the target language is spoken.

Reading develops pupils’ intelligence. It helps to develop their memory, will, imagination. Pupils become accustomed to working with these books, which in its turn facilitates unaided practice in further reading. The content of texts, their ideological and political spirit influence pupils. We must develop in Uzbek pupils such qualities as honesty, devotion to and love for our people and the working people of other countries, the texts our pupils are to read must meet these requirements. Reading ability is, therefore, not only of great practical, but educational, and social importance, too.

Reading is not only an aim in itself, it is also a means of learning a foreign language. When reading a text the pupil reviews sounds and letters, vocabulary and grammar, memorizes the spelling of words, the meaning of words and word combinations, he also reviews grammar and, in this way , he perfects his command of the target language. The more the pupil reads, the better his retention of the linguistic material is. If the teacher instructs his pupils in good reading and they can read with sufficient fluency and complete comprehension he helps them to acquire speaking and writing skills as well. Reading is, therefore, both an end to be attained and a means to achieve that end.

Reading is a complex process of language activity. As it is closely connected with the comprehension of what is read, reading us a complicated intellectual work. It requires the ability on the part of the reader to carry out a number of mental operations: analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, comparison.

Reading as a process is connected with the work of visual, kinesthetic, aural analyzers, and thinking. The visual analyzer is at work when the reader sees a text. While seeing the text he ,, sounds it very “ it silently, therefore the kinesthetic analyzer is involved. When he sounds the text he hears what he pronounces in his inner speech so it shows that the aural analyzer is not passive, it also works and, finally, due to the work of all analyzers the reader can understand thoughts. In learning to read one of the aims is to minimize the activities of kinesthetic and aural analyzers so that the reader can associate what he sees with the thought expressed in reading material, since inner speech hinders the process of  reading making it very slow. Thus the speed of reading depends on the reader’s ability to establish a direct connection between what he sees and what it means. To make this easier to understand it may be represented as follows:

                    Visual  --------------------------thoughts        analyzer


analyzer ------------------- aural    analyzer

There are two of reading: aloud or orally, and silently. People usually start learning to read orally. In teaching a foreign language in school both ways should be developed. Pupils assimilate the graphic  system of the target language as a means which is used for conveying information in print. They develop this skill through oral reading and silent reading.

When one says that one can read, it means that one can read, it means that one can focus one’s attention on the meaning  not on the form: the the pupil treats the text has a familiar form of discourse and not as a task of deciphering. ,, The aim of the teacher is to get his pupils as quickly as possible over the period in which each printed symbol is looked at for its shape, and to arrive at the stage when the pupil looks at words and phrases, for their meaning, almost without  noticing the shapes of the separate letters.” A good reader does not look at letters, nor even at words, one by one, however  quickly; he takes in  the meaning of two, three, or four words at a time, in a single moment. The eyes of a very good reader move quickly, taking long ,, jumps “ and making very short ,, halts “.We can call this ideal reading ,, reading per se ”. Reading per se is the end to be attained. It is possible provided:

1 ) the reader can associate the graphic system of the language with the phonic system of that language;

2 ) the reader can find the logical subject and the logical subject and the logical predicate of the sentences:

The man there is my neighbour.

There were many people in the hall.

It was difficult for me to come in time.

3 ) the reader can get information from the text ( as a whole ).

These are the three constituent parts of reading as a process.

As a means of teaching reading a system of exercises is widely used in school, which includes:

1.graphemic – phonemic exercises which help pupils to assimilate graphemic- phonemic correspondence in the English language;

2 ) structural –information exercises which help pupils to carry out lexical and grammar analysis to find the logical subject and predicate in the sentences following the structural signals;

3 ) semantic – communicative exercises which help pupils to get information from the text.

The actions which pupils perform while doing these exercises constitute the content of teaching and learning reading in a foreign language.

    2.2. Some difficulties pupils have in learning to read in the English language

Reading in the English language is one of the most difficult things because there are 26 letters and 146 graphemes which represent 46 phonemes. Indeed the English alphabet presents many difficulties to Russian speaking pupils because the Russian alphabet differs greatly from that of the English language. A comparison of the two languages shows that of the 26 pairs of printed letters (52- if we consider capital and small letters as different symbols ) only 4 are more or less similar to those of the Russian alphabet, both in print and in meaning. These are K, k, M, T, f, G, g, h, L, l, I, i, J, j, N, n, Q, q, R, r, S, s, t, U, u, V, v, W, w, Z, z. The letters A, a, B, C ,c, E, e, H, O, o, P, p, Y, y, X , x occur in both languages, they are read differently. They are, therefore, the most difficult letters for the pupil to retain. Obviously in teaching a pupil to read English words, much more attention should be given to those letters which occur in both languages but symbolize entirely different sounds. For example, H, p… (Pupils often read How as ( nau ). Therefore, in presenting a new letter to pupils the teacher should stress its peculiarity not only from the standpoint of the English language  what sound or sounds it symbolizes ) but from the point of view of the Russian language as well.

It is not sufficient to know English letters. It is necessary that pupils should know graphemes, how this or that vowel, vowel combination, consonant, or consonant, combination is read in different positions in the words  (window, down).

The teacher cannot teach pupils all the existing rules and exceptions for reading English  words. Nor is it necessary to do so. When learning English pupils are expected to assimilate the following rules of reading: how to read stressed vowels in open and closed syllables and before r; how to read ay, oo, ou, ow; the consonants c, s, k, g, ch, sh, th, ng, ck, and tion, ssion, ous. The rules are not numerous, but they are important to the development of reading.

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