Teach English in Peiwei Zhen - Suqian Shi

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When looking at receptive and productive skills, they neatly pair up, one receptive to one productive; reading and writing to listening and speaking. They also have a curve of difficulty for a student to become fluent in that particular skill. Reading is the easiest, with speaking topping that list as the most difficult to accomplish fluency. Because of this, it can be easy to ignore reading and, assuming that the students will naturally achieve the skill, focus wholly on the more complex skills. But what benefits are students missing out when a teacher decides this? Not only do they undercut a student's foundation and a safe way for a student to practice their English, but they might be removing a potentially large source of motivation to learn more English. Lest it appear that this essay posits reading as the only receptive or productive skill that should be focused on, there are a variety of problems that would arise should only reading be taught. Pronunciation would be nonexistent to those students who only learned new words from reading, unless they kept a dictionary on them at all times. Once they attempted to hold a conversation, they would quickly become lost as an average speaker doesn't transcribe their speech in real time or at all. However, all of these issues fade away when reading is only given its fair due, rather than raised above the other skills. To this effect is this essay written. Reading as a safe space for English practice is one of its most vital uses, where a student is free to go at their own pace and in a comfortable place, usually at home. It is in this space, rather than a classroom, where they are able to freely “cheat” and look up words online or with a dictionary when they encounter one that they do not understand. There is little to no pressure on them to finish by a certain time or date. Instead, they can tackle them as slowly as they prefer. Fortunately for them, the goal is not for them to engage with as much English as possible, but rather to build up a steady base of words that they can readily draw from even for the first time. Much of the time these words are stored, where they can be activated once the student hears another speaker use the word. They now have a much larger vocabulary due to their reading. Reading can also be effective in a different fashion, mainly that of incurring interest and motivation to succeed in capturing the English language quickly. In this manner it is also tied to reading as a safe way to practice English, for in this safe space a student's imagination can be captivated, ignited as to motivate them to gain a mastery of this language so that they do not misinterpret the words they read. If they are introduced to literature that causes them to become more curious as to what is happening in the book, they will want to engage with what interests them on their own time, gleefully spending out of class hours building up an investment into learning more English and a solid base of words. While it is not the only aspect of teaching English that should be taught, a healthy respect and enjoyment of reading is a necessary step to cultivating a class of students that enjoy learning English and succeed at it as well.