Teach English in Yihegong Zhen - Chifeng Shi

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The task of reading from texts as part of language acquisition is a useful and important activity for all stages of the learner, whether beginner, intermediate or advanced. By using reading materials, accompanied by comprehensive listening, writing and vocal skills, it allows the student to have a wider view of the language. Reading in a new language can often introduce a new side to the culture of the language they’re studying too. When starting out, a student can take their time with reading. If they are assigned a text to themselves, they can slowly decipher meaning and comprehension at their own rate, without worrying about exterior forces. From this, confidence can grow, and can reduce embarrassment within class. When it comes to school texts to teach their chosen language, this also helps with practicing pronunciation and allows the student to break down word meanings outside of the classroom, which can result in them feeling confident within a class setting, with their peers around them and in front of their teacher. However, an important matter is that they, or their teachers, need to choose the reading material according to their level. For instance, advanced texts for an intermediate beginner would be a great challenge and possibly result in a loss of confidence when they aren’t able to understand. A starter alphabet book for an advanced student would quickly result in loss of interest, due to boredom and lack of challenge. A plus side of language acquisition from reading though, is that a teacher would be able to cement any learning from reading by using the vocabulary from books into their classroom. This would allow students to recognise phrasing that they’re familiar with, and depending on their interest in the text itself, would mean more interest overall in the topic they are studying. eg. reading Harry Potter to children who are familiar with the text and love it, and have the motivation to go to Harry Potter world. Furthermore, it gives them a deepening of their reading text as teachers can give context for situations, and correct any common mistakes. My own experience reading at a pace that suited my capabilities as a child, saw my English skills excel as I chose to read in my own time and for my own pleasure. I was encouraged by my teachers, via book reading lists and sticker treats, that reading was a fun activity and further helped to cement the good skills I was learning. I recall though, I was ahead of my class of students at the time, and often ran out of school texts to read. My teachers had to challenge me via constructing little projects for my time - such as a diorama, or creating my own book in order for my fellow students to catch up. However, I believe that due to this early love of reading, I was able to gain a wider vocabulary with ease, and comprehend through osmosis, how sentences are formed and how to use grammar. For classes that struggle with reading, I believe a reading club outside of the classroom time, may be beneficial, as students at the same level can come together. With a mentor watching over them, they could boost their understanding, and also be able to gain more practice using the language together. Through reading, common sayings, euphemisms and slang can be learnt, as well as a highly focused area of vocabulary. I have found with my own reading, that learning by a subject that I am interested in, it allowed me to hold longer conversations with native speakers, as the depth of the conversation passed the initial shallow introduction or polite inquiries about weather and health. Finally, I believe that reading is very beneficial to language acquisition, as long as it is taught evenly with the other skills. Paired with a teacher, and a balanced approach to learning, student will find that reading is easily accessible. At the end of the day, it is a skill that can be carried over all levels, and even during fluency and often results in the student discovering an area of interest that they previously might not have known about but enjoy.