Teach English in ShAnhu Zhen - Taizhou Shi

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There are two types of skills involved in language learning and acquisition, receptive skills (reading and listening) and productive skills (writing and speaking). Students tend to cope better with receptive skills than they do having to produce the language. For the purpose of this essay I will discuss reading as a receptive skill; how and why is it important when learning a second language. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go.” -Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!” More often than not reading is a neglected skill to people who wish to learn a new language, this may be because when acquiring our first language we start by uttering sounds, until those sounds become words and those words form sentences, all before we learn to read or write. Learners of a foreign language or even some teachers may try to simulate what happens naturally when acquiring our first language, as we learn a second. (Popkins, 2020) According to an online language blog, reading exposes learners to the correct language structures better and faster than a single lesson, a song, or television shows and films. (Blog.lingobus.com, 2018). Learners are exposed to a great deal of vocabulary and grammar when they read and this can reinforce language points they may have learned in lessons. Reading helps with fluency as well as accuracy in that text is available for learners to read and re-read as often as they need to in order to understand, this is known as repeat exposure. Learners are less likely to produce language until they are sufficiently familiar with it and confident enough use it and this is where reading comes in handy. Books provide the opportunity for an unlimited amount of repetition. As the learners move up in their language levels, they may wish to know more sophisticated language for use in both business interactions and casual interactions, this brings me to my next point, the different types of reading materials that aid in information retention. It is important for learners to read information that is interesting or useful to them in order to retain the language points they learn from the reading material. Learners are more likely to remember language points if they are affiliated with a pleasant reading experience because materials that are of interest or of use to the learner will hold their attention best. There are some who may argue that encouraging learners to read more may reduce their speaking time and it may eventually hinder their ability to pronounce words correctly. (Popkins, 2020) This may be remedied by encouraging learners to read out loud, not necessarily in front of their peers and fellow classmates but perhaps on their own. This method may increase a learner’s confidence in not only their vocabulary and their syntax but in their pronunciations as well. To conclude I would like say that all teachers should encourage their learners to practise all skills both receptive and productive equally. Listening and speaking may be the more natural language acquisition skills that many favour, but that is not to say that those skills are more important than reading and writing. References Blog.lingobus.com. (2020). The Importance of Reading in Second Language Acquisition | Lingo Bus. [online] Available at: https://blog.lingobus.com/learn-chinese/the-importance-of-reading-in-second-language-acquisition/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018]. Geisel, T. and Seuss (2014). I can read with my eyes shut!. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers. Popkins, G. (2020). How important is reading for learning a foreign language? - How to get fluent, with Dr Popkins. [online] How to get fluent, with Dr Popkins. Available at: https://howtogetfluent.com/how-important-is-reading-for-learning-a-foreign-language/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].