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Tema 8

Written communication . The reading- writing process.

Reading comprehension : skimming and scanning.

Writing : from controlled to free practice.

First of all, it should be said that to have a good command of a language, we need to
develop different abilities. When teaching a foreign language like English, four major skills
are taken into account to be developed in the classroom. In this sense, we focus on
listening, speaking and oral interaction following the natural order of language acquisition
but now we are going to put special interest on reading and writing.
I will analyse the written receptive and productive skills, reading and writing, also adding
some didactic considerations about how to work these skills using news technologies like
one didactic resource else. Then, Ill comment on the advantages of working the skills in an
integrated way encouraging our students in order to develop reading habits

in their lives

And finally, Ill explain the concept of Communication and Communicative Competence and
its necessary achievement in our studentss life.
It is clear that we need to integrate all of these skills in our lessons, trying to get a
good balance so that our pupils can improve their English. Therefore, the main goal is to
develop our pupils communicative competence so they can talk about personal issues or
about specific information with someone else. Simply with learning and repeating words they
will not be communicative competent.
As the Organic Law 2/2006 3rd May, states, our pupils will develop their
communicative competence progressively. In fact, the four o

five

mentioned skills are

included in the two first blocks of contents of the Spanish Curriculum;


In fact, nowadays our Curriculum for the teaching of a Foreign language prescribe
a communicative approach which focus on communication and interaction giving a functional
aspect to the language. Writing comprehension is the fourth objectiver in Our Crown Decree
1513/2006 7th of December, which sets the Minimum Contents requirements for Primary
Education and the Order 9th May 2007, which establishes the Aragonese Curriculum for
Primary Education are taken into account, too. In the same way, the Council of Europe and
the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRFs), consider that
communicating in a second foreign language is essential as well as developing a Basic
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Competences approach so that our students will be able to succeed in having more
opportunities as European citizens.
At the same time, this topic is very much related to others in this exam, numbers
1 and 2, which deal with language as communication, and verbal and non-verbal
communication, respectively. Topics 3 and 8 also deal with communication and language
skills: The concept of communicative competence is also developed in topics 2, 13 (didactics
of Foreign Language Teaching) and 14 (methods and techniques of Foreign Language
Teaching related to the acquisition of communicative competence).
The development of this topic will focus on the development of
speech

Writing and

as alernative system of expression which show some differences.Most obviously

they contrast in physical form.This difference in medium serves as a basis for the
classification of the linguistic skills into aural or written ones.Written language has to use
the language system in such a way as to compensate for the absence of the variety of
paralinguistic elements available in spoken languae.It has also to compensate the lack of
feedback due the absence of the addressee. Therefore reading comprehension cannot take
place unless the reader understands the meaning of the linguistics elements as well as the
communicative function.Moreover as we know , communication is a complex cognitive task
which implies comprehension and production stages at the same time
For instances when our students are doing a dictation in our classroom, they are writing ,
reading and listening at the same time.For that reason comprehension stages ,which are so
important as production ones ,will need the following steps in order to became the input in
intake later:

Perception: it focus on the sounds of the letter for getting meanings.If our students
operative memory has to pay attention to more than one process at the same time it
becomes difficult to achieve.

Analysis : our students reconstruct the sense of the text by means of their previous
knowledge, so that way the operative memory is free for other functions.

Use after our students have incorporated new information to previous ones, new
schemes are created about macrostructures that are more complex and complete than
older ones

Following Venezky ,we can say that the readers job is to obtain meaning from print and this
task is a cognitive one, I mean the task of decoding written symbols, the reader must
combine first words and then , sentences in order to make structures.
However ,it is important to make the learner aware that he must learn to read at
different speeds and for different purposes because understanding a language , etither
written or spoken requires both knowledge of the language system and konwledge of
the manner in which it is used for the purposes of communication.The second kind of
knowledge is what has been called by Hymes and Lyons communicative competence
which coulb be described as the ability the language user needs in order to recognize what
the linguistic elements mean when they are produced in an act of communication
Traditionality English shows a particular difficulty for Sapnish speakers because of
a much greater degree of inconsistency between phonology and spelling.It is imposible to
know for sure how a word is pronounced from the way it is sepelled , or its proper spelling
form pronunciation.This lack of consistency is the result of

historical-linguistic

circumstances.English has a Germanic origin, but it adopted Celtic and especially Latin
vocabulary, but it also received North European influences.
As English teachers we have to take in account the importance of selecting a
good text , which will be easily comprehended for the students .In addition children who
have already learnt to read in their mother tongue will transfer reading abilities and will
apply them to F..L
It is clear that our duty consist on selecting carefully those texts( Krashens
imput ) and create a fiendly atmosphere providing opportunities to use real language in order
to achieve the acquisition of the F:L through a adequate exposure to it.
Therefore , our work with these texts will be divided into three stages which will
prevent students from translation the text into their mother tongue and will help them to
become effective readers.Acording to Harmer 2001, These methodological guidelines set 3
stages to be followed: ( methodology)
o Pre reading tasks: the teacher creates expectations and arouses students interests
taking in account their needs, previous knowledge, characteristics,Ex : tell your
partner what you know about the topic.Brainstorming.

o While reading tasks.: the aim is

to process the text in depth deciding where to

pause ,listening themselves as they read, or asking questions while reading.We can
combine skimming and scanning.
o Post reading tasks:the aim is to help students internalise the lenguage of the text
combining reading with a productive skill , writing or speaking .Ex: take part in a role
play.
In the same sense and Following to Harmer 2002 we will show different subskills which
will be very useful to achieve our objectives :

Predective skills.: students will predec what they are going to read .

o Skimming: general idea without being to worried about the details.


o Scanning: specific idea
o Intensive comprehension.: the total comprehension of the text.
o Deducing meaning from the context.
o Infering opinions and attitudes.
Besides, Brewster propose some reading comprehension activities which I will explain
now:
o Read word and arrange them to form sentences.
o Matching two halves of a sentence.
o Crosswords , bingo , anagrams .
o Read aloud
o Silent reading.
o Reading and guess , draw, actions,classify, sequence and transfer information.
o Reading aloud is read without understanding bu it can be suitable for spelling and
articulate sounds.
On the other hand we have to make our students get used to reading real texts
from the beginning and discover the meaning of the unknown words by means of the
context.We have to choose the right text previously taking in account their needs

and

encourage them to use the dicitionaries only for difficult tasks. We have to take in account
the text selected must not be very long and encourage our students to use the differente
strategies to understand and enjoy the reading / listening stage.They have to be able to
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criticize and give their opinions , either in a positive or negative way and to establish the
relationship between the text and its author.
Apart from this , Is under our responsibility to introduce our students authentic and
non-authentic materials on different formats in accordance with the age, the interests and
the abilities of the students, because this way they will be more interested and motivated
.We can use both , traditional resources and materials but new tecnologies will be very
motivated to then because they are part of their lives.
In addition and Taking in account the Widdowsons opinion , reading a tex is a
linguistic and conceptual interaction between writer and reader because it is not only a good
way to improve the students knowledge , but also a sharper of thought and vehicle of
ideas.This way they will feel the languge they are learning is useful ,intersting and easy to
use in their lives outside.
In our culture , reading has often been regarded as a pleasant activity, although few
people actually engage in reading as such.We could classify the purposes of reading in the
following categories: reading for instructions, reading for information, and reading for
entertainment.In real life these different ways of reading are not mutually exclusive , so
when devising exercises for our pupils we should take into account not only the type or text
studied by also the purpose in reading it.When we say that a pupil is good at reading
comprehension, we mean that he can get the maximun information fron a text with the
minimun of misunderstanding.
For that reason arguments in favour of introduction the four skills in a integrated way in
our clasrrom are from different types:
1. Sociocultural arguments :It is very useful to make our students can see the
different

forms of linguistics variations as well as the values associated with

them.Another importan aspect is that students are brought into contact with the
creative use of language which will develop their linguistic abilities.
2. According to Canale 1983 the study of reading will also improve the following
pedagogical and psychological aspects:

The linguistic , sociolinguistic,socilcultural,discourse adn strategic competences.

The development of the four skills.

Areas of weakness can be revelead.

Solving problems.

Reinforce the education.

Get reading habits.

To encourage students tolerance towards differente cultures .

Motivation improves the attention and concentration

Open our studentsmind

Positive attitudes towards English life and people.

It reduces the domination of the class by the teacher.

It is a powerful tool for communication.

Therefore, children need a wide variety of activities,different patterns of interaction and


opportunities to maximize reading habits in and out the classroom .Teachers should provide
a balance between reading for instructions and reading for intertaintment as well as varied
models of reading texts.