Sunday, 29 July 2012

Article 4: Reading matters: What is reading?

It’s interesting that we rarely (in my experience) discuss the kinds of reading that most people naturally do in their L1 in the L2 class. Living in a bilingual country, there is actually more French around us than students might think. It can be found on nutrition labels, information manuals and pamphlets, and national signs and TV or news websites. I wonder if the reason we rarely discuss these kinds of reading is because it seems so natural and straightforward in our L1.

I like the idea of using Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” to emphasize that it is possible to make sense of something even if we don’t understand a lot of the words. When I spoke a lot French in class, I kept emphasizing that the whole point was not to understand every single word but for students to piece together the general sense of what I was saying using what they already knew. Students still felt uncomfortable with not understanding everything so showing them they can understand an English poem with words that don’t even exist if they get the sentence structure would help me emphasize that the same applies in French. I also think it would be neat to try the “What’s the purpose 1” activity in an FSL class using and see whether students could identify different types of text in French and use clues that stay the same across language (such as “40° C”) and then piece together the rest of the meaning. For instance, I could stay by simply showing students the text alone and then go on to show them a picture of the text in context and then ask them to piece together what the words meant.

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