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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Exploratory task 2.4

The task under analysis is to read the text and to tick off the "true" statements. Work in small groups. Decide on the “true” and “false” sentences and pick up the information from the text that serves your arguments.

Have you eaten too much over the holidays? You should try fidgeting for a while. Those around you might not like it, but scratching and twitching is an important way of burning up calories. American researchers have found that some people's squirming and wiggling equals several miles of jogging each day. The scientists based at the National Institute of Health's laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona are studying why some people get fat and others stay slim. In one study 177 people each spent 24 hours in the institute's respiratory chamber - a room where the amount of energy people expend is measured by their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. By the end of the day, some people had burned up 800 calories in toe-tapping, finger-drumming and other nervous habits. However, others had expended only 100 calories. The researchers found, that slim women fidget more than fat women, but there was no significant difference in men. Heavy people expend more energy when they fidget than do thin people.

Put a tick next to the statements, which you think, are true. What cues from the text do you use in each case?

  • Heavy people always eat more than thin people.
  • Heavy people do not scratch and twitch
  • Thin people take more exercise than heavy people
  • Heavy people are more effective in expending their energy
  • Squirming and wiggling is better than jogging to take off weight
  • Toe-tapping and finger-drumming is effective to burn up the calories
  • Women are more prone to take off weight than men


Reading activities are organised in the three-phase framework




  • Schemata activation
  • Creating motivation
  • Language preparation
  • Cloze task
  • Sequencing task
  • Restoring task
  • Irrelevance scan
  • Matching task
  • Fitting-in task
  • Information retrieval
  • Summary
  • Information digest
  • Sharing information
  • Artwork
  • Further reading
  • Further writing


Exploratory task 2.5

Match the following tasks with the “pre-reading”, “while-reading” and “post-reading” stage”.



  1. Learners are encouraged to form certain expectations about the text
  2. Learners complete a paragraph
  3. Learners complete a questionnaire
  4. Learners solve a mystery
  5. Learners role-play a plot
  6. Learners write a summary
  7. Background information is provided
  8. Questions to activate what the learners already know are asked
  9. In a brainstorming activity the learners anticipate the main points
  10. Key words are supplied for the learners to guess what the text might be about
  11. Learners write a story inspired by a photograph
  12. Learners recognise the paragraph that summarises the main information in the text
  13. A picture representation of the text is studied and discussed
  14. Learners match headlines with paragraphs
  15. Learners match text with pictures or diagrams.
  16. Learners order jumbled paragraphs
  17. Learners contrast the two texts
  18. Learners take notes
  19. Learners express their views
  20. Learners exploit a text for grammar or vocabulary
  21. Learners discuss and justify different interpretations of the text
  22. Learners distinguish the main idea from supporting details
  23. A listening text on the same topic is presented (Shiels, J. 1993. Communication in the Modern English Classroom. Council of Europe Press)

A/ Pre-reading











B/ While-reading












C/ Post-reading


Exploratory task 2.6

Find in the course-books or produce yourselves the reading activities as shown below.

  1. Pupils read individual short subject-related texts and amplify them into a joint summary
  2. Pupils read jumbled instructions and put the instructions in the correct order
  3. Pupils read recipes and match them with pictures of food
  4. Pupils read an extract from a play and act it out
  5. Pupils match topic sentences with the paragraphs they come from
  6. Pupils read a number of texts and match the texts with the authors who might have written them
  7. Pupils read information and convert it into bar graphs or pie charts

(Adapted from Harmer. J., 1998.  How to Teach English. Longman)


Design an activity for teaching to read in the three-phase framework and run it with your pupils or peers. Reflect on the activity using the given format.

Points of analysis








  • Clear goal
  • Laconic explanation
  • Helpful pre-reading
  • Involved reading
  • Insightful post-reading
  • Adequate language level
  • Adequate task level


Integrated task
  • Describe your teaching situation (classroom or peers)
  • Clarify the goal of teaching to read in your teaching situation
  • Give a rationale of teaching to read in your particular case
  • Design and run your reading activity
  • Reflect on your reading activity and draw recommendations


In conclusion, we want to give some recommendation for improving reading skills. What we should do to develop reading skills:

1. Automatic decoding. Being able to recognize a word at a glance.

2. Previewing and predicting. Giving the text a quick once-over to be able to guess what is to come.

3. Questioning. Asking questions in an inner dialog with the author.

4. Recognizing topics. Finding out what the text is about.

5. Guessing the meaning of unknown words from the context. Using such clues as knowledge of word parts, syntax, and relationship patterns.

6. Skimming. Quickly getting the gist or overview of a passage or book.

7. Paraphrasing. Re-stating texts in the reader’s own words in order to monitor one’s own comprehension.

8. Summarizing. Shortening material by retaining and re-stating main ideas and leaving out details.

9. Reading faster. Reading fast enough to allow the brain to process the input as ideas rather than single words.

10. Adjusting reading rate according to materials and purpose. Being able to choose the speed and strategies needed for the level of comprehension desired by the reader.










In the present qualification paper there has been made an attempt to analyze peculiarities of teaching reading methods in the light of foreign language acquisition and English teaching methodology.

On the basis of the material collected the following conclusions may be inferred:

  • Reading is one of the key language skills that pupils should acquire in the process of learning a foreign language. Moreover, it is not only the goal of education but also a means of learning a foreign language as while reading pupils review sounds and letters, vocabulary and grammar, memorize the spelling of words, the meaning of words and word combinations i. e. they polish their foreign language knowledge.
  • Reading skills are the cognitive processes that a reader uses in making sense of a text. To become a proficient reader language learners should master automatic letter and word recognition and the ability to use context as an aid to comprehension.
  • To make teaching reading effective it is advisable to focus on one skill at a time, explain the purpose of given tasks, establish connection with the previously acquired knowledge and skills, make usage of visual and audio aids, discuss problematic issues etc. Teachers should also keep in mind that reading is not a passive skill, make pupils engaged with what they are reading, encouraged them to respond to the content of a reading text not just to the language, to make sure that tasks correspond to the topic and level of the pupils etc.
  • All in all, there are six important methods of teaching reading and they are as follows:
  • 1. the alphabetic method / ABC method / spelling method,
  • 2. the phonic method,
  • 3. the word method,
  • 4. the phrase method,
  • 5. the sentence method, 6 the story method.
  • The pros of alphabetic method are that it gives the pupils sufficient opportunity to see words and helps them to build up the essential visual image. However, as it is a dull and monotonous process it appears to be a difficult and lengthy method that does not expand the eye-span.
  • The phonic method is based on teaching the sounds that match letters and groups of letters of the English alphabet. It is linked with speech training and helps to avoid spelling defects. Nevertheless, the drawback of the method lies in the facts that meaning is not given priority in this method, additionally, it may delay the development of reading words as a whole.
  • The word method, otherwise known as “Look and say" method, teaches to read words as whole units, rather than breaking the word down into individual letters or groups of letters. It is an easy and natural direct method that facilitates oral work but at the same time it encourages the learner the habit of reading one word at a time.
  • The phrase method lies midway between the word method and the sentence method. It helps in extending the eye span. This method has the same limitations as the word method has. It places emphasis on meaning rather than reading.
  • The sentence method or “look and say method” in other words is often used in situational teaching. It perceives the whole sentence as the minimum meaningful unit. The procedure goes as follows: sentence - > phrase-> words-> letters. Readers find it difficult to read a sentence without the knowledge of words and letters. Thus, it is rather a time consuming method.
  • The story method is the most advanced one. The teacher tells the story in four or five sentences illustrated through pictures. The children first memorize the story and then read it. Before-teaching-practices should not be neglected with this method.
  • Scholars recognize six word recognition strategies, namely, context clues, morphemic analysis, word analysis, ask a friend, skip the word, phonics. Activating or building background knowledge, using sensory images, questioning, making predictions and inferences, determining main ideas, using fix-up options, synthesizing are the seven reading comprehension strategies.
  • The procedure of introducing new vocabulary to pupils may take the following route: step 1: word introduction → step 2: pupil-friendly explanation → step 3: illustrative examples → step 4: checking understanding.
  • Teachers should be very reasonable and careful with error correction and choose the most suitable for the case as it may psychologically influence learners. The correction may be made by the teacher or another pupil during or after reading.

All the things considered, reading is a language activity and ought not to be divorced from other language activities. To read effectively in English second-language pupils need to learn to think in English. The methods of any teaching reading lesson should be chosen according to the learner’s level of skill development. Teaching reading is a job for an expert who has to create conditions whereby learners can learn and develop their reading skills.

The research is only a modest contribution to the issue of teaching reading methodology and thus further investigation into the sphere is highly recommended.



Appendix I.

Anticipatory guesses are predictions made about the text lying ahead

Bottom-up reading strategy is perceiving the text and extracting information

Critical reading is reading with the activated thought processes

Critique is reading for critical analysis

Cued reading is reading the parts of the text, which are relevant to the  given directions

Guided reading is seeking information in the text, which is relevant to the given questions

Interactive reading is employing more than one reading strategy, such as “top-down” and “bottom-up”

Jig-saw reading is reading topic related texts or parts of the same text and subsequent pooling information together

Reader’s response is the change in the reader’s mind that is either made explicit or remains implicit

Reader-oriented reading is the process of  eliciting reader’s response

Reading dynamics is the time-and-motion characteristics of reading

Scanning is reading for details

Schema (schemata) is prior knowledge that channels cognitive processes

Skimming is reading for the gist

Text-oriented reading is using the text as the source of information

Top-down reading strategy is proceeding from prior information and integrating it in the text


Appendix II.

Alphabet Games:

Alphabet Sentences: One S says a letter (for example 'A') and his/her teammate says a word that starts with that letter (like 'Ant'). Then you go on to a sentence that uses the letter A word ('or example 'A nice person would not smash an ant'). This way the children will learn their letters and words that start with the letter.

Alphabet Soup: Place plastic letters in a bowl. Divide flashcards by their beginning letters. Each pupil draws a letter from the bowl and then finds the flashcards associated with that letter.

Alphabet Wave: Divide the a-z flashcards among all your pupils. Put Ss in a line and play the ABC song. As it plays each pupil must hold up their corresponding alphabet flashcard.

Alphabet whispers: The children split up into groups of three, one is at the blackboard, one is sitting down and one is running between the two. The pupil sitting down has a sheet with the alphabet printed out in a disordered manner - s/he whispers the first letter to their team mate who in their turn runs to the board and whispers the letter to their other team member. If the letter is understood s/he writes it on the board. The first team to write it correctly gets a point. This can also be adapted to spelling words. The teams can change positions and get maximum benefit from this game.

Balloon Alphabet: This is a great game that everyone loves. You need a balloon, this is your timing device evoking the alphabet from the Ss unpredictably. This game can get a bit out of hand if the T isn't careful in his/her method of control. T starts and is A, next S is B, then C and so on. Each S touches the balloon and says their letter - this goes round and round until Z. This can be random or in a circle or line, but the balloon goes anywhere, control is essential so the littlies don't trample each other. This can also be used for subject review such as colors, or animals. I usually touch it a few times to gain control e. g. "B B B B" and then pass it on to C.

Make an Alphabet Book: For this you need: Ring binder folder, white paper & old magazines. Each week we choose a new letter to work on. Write the upper and lower case letter on a piece of white paper, then go through old magazines with your Ss to find pictures that begin with that letter. Let them cut them out and glue them on the paper, which helps them improve their cutting skills too! Use a hole punch and put it into a folder to make a book. The Ss love to look at it over and over.

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