Articles of interest
12th August 2022
Book in Focus
A Broad Guide to Reading and Comprehension
By Mahmoud Sultan
Plateau effect; HOTS Top-down Reading; Endophoric and exophoric strategies; Schemas; Text exploitation; Felsch Reading Ease; Opportunistic teaching
This is a brief review of A Broad Guide to Reading and Comprehension. The book consists of five chapters, each of which explores the reading skill in one domain of teaching.
Background of the Book
This book is a unique repository for exploring the teaching of reading in a professional and practical manner, as it directs and guides the whole coaching process by acquainting educationalists with reading theories and approaches.
To begin with, the first chapter probes, in depth, the various reading models and theories that render teaching a more engaging and enjoyable task. The book acquaints the reader with the sociocultural model that socializes the reading process through presenting, interactively, the three components of reading (texts, activities and readers). It also enables teachers to enrich their educational mythologies through guiding them to use various reading theories such as Bartlett’s Schema Theory and the Transactional Reader-Response Theory.
From another perspective, this book is a practical guide for teaching reading from multi-tiered levels, based on the gradation principle. It demonstrates several reading strategies that empower teachers to introduce interpretative tasks from different standpoints and to engage students of multi-leveled linguistic and lexical potentials. Furthermore, this book explicates, in a professional manner, the top-down and the bottom-up reading techniques that enrich teachers’ abilities to present the understanding of texts from the structural and the contextual perspectives. Additionally, it introduces the Linguistic Interdependence and Threshold Hypotheses in a detailed manner, allowing the reader to make use of L1-acquired cognitive reading skills in facilitating and enriching the teaching of L2. This book is also distinguished through its presentation of the organizational method analysis technique that equips teachers and students with more critical reading strategies of analyzing texts based on their organization.
Moreover, this volume will enable teachers to become fully acquainted with the various roles that they can play while teaching reading, in order to lead an enjoyable and engaging professional educational process. It shows that teachers can play decisive roles as guides, facilitators, motivators or even equal participants in this regard. When teachers are aware of these roles and implement them in accordance with the opportunistic, they will achieve the learning objectives with a high level of participation pleasure. As such, students will learn the targeted vocabulary, structures, and textual organization manners through these roles.
Why Did I Write This Book? What Were My Motives for Writing this Repository?
The main reason behind writing this book was to present educationalists with practical rules for designing or shortlisting reading texts since I have noticed that some educational entities choose and implement some books or articles due to subjective, personal or financial considerations. This has led to a serious undermining of reading as a process and skill, which has, in turn, dissuaded students from being independent learners and created illiterate graduates. I have personally noticed that the sporadic choice of reading documents has led to disinterested readers. I started by exploring a plethora of resources in order to construct solid rules for selecting reading texts, based on practical tangible criteria.
The first criterion involves the choice of textbook at the student’s convenience. The text should be student-related since educationalists are to perceive their pupils as core participants in the reading process. Therefore, they should be considered when designing or choosing reading texts. Teachers and book designers should observe students’ levels of competence, since selecting books that are easy for them will lead to the plateau effect (a lack of interest in reading such texts). However, choosing books that are highly challenging will lead to the burn-out effect, where students will be disparate and not engaged in the educational process. Both extremes will result in issues within the classroom.
Another criterion is students’ interest; books should be selected based on students’ cultural backgrounds, inclinations and other schematic considerations since these factors involve students easily in the reading process. Additionally, considering students’ interests will help abundantly in constructing more developed schemas that facilitate comprehension, allowing the students’ mind to absorb the structural and lexical components further. Additionally, when students read books that interest them, they will find the most appropriate techniques to explore and engage with them.
Text-related criteria are the second part of the equation for shortlisting reading textbooks. This book highlights the necessity of examining texts meticulously and professionally before accrediting them as textbooks. Relevance is the first factor that should be considered when shortlisting books, since pertinent books can provide a more recognizable cultural background with more familiar vocabulary and even text structures to students. Accordingly, it is easier to psychologically engage students in teaching and learning when texts are connected to their schematic and background knowledge. The second text-related criterion is authenticity; texts should demonstrate authentic language in order to create a meaningful reading experience. Authentic language can be displayed via the use of realistic words and phrases that fit into readers’ everyday lives or studies. This makes reading texts a genuine authentic mirror of readers’ interests, needs and lives.
As such, this book provides educationalists with clear guides that enable them to shortlist reading comprehension texts based on firm, straightforward rules, allowing such texts to conform with students’ interests, backgrounds and needs. From another perspective, this book also directs teachers professionally to assess reading texts based on authenticity. There are many detailed guidelines attached in the appendices that provide more detailed guidance for choosing volumes.
The volume also equips teachers with a variety of text exploitation strategies that will empower them to deal with transcripts from different outlooks, in order to enhance students’ critical reading potentials. It provides educators with the ability to train students to think critically and try to evaluate texts objectively based on firm criteria.
Why Is This Book Unique?
The book is unique and pivotal because it acts as a complete repository, supporting teachers by equipping them with the essential academic expertise and qualifications for carrying out a successful reading and teaching process. Firstly, it provides teachers with professionally detailed knowledge on teaching reading theories and models. Secondly, it is a practical, handy guide that aids tutors in shortlisting appropriate reading textbooks based on precise and easily implemented criteria. Moreover, showing teachers diverse roles that they can play while teaching reading is another merit as it will allow educators to better teach reading from different perspectives. Further, this book enriches teachers’ expertise by demonstrating multi-leveled strategies to exploit texts that empower them to explore writing from various perspectives. Additionally, it supplies teachers with a variety of assessment tools and techniques that allow them to assess students’ multi-tiered reading comprehension and fluency capacities.
This book aims to guide the teaching of the reading skill process from designing or selecting reading books to assessment textbooks. The author explores, in-depth, a plethora of highly academic resources in terms of books, journals, dissertation, blogs and reports for collecting data in this domain. After this, the collected data are analyzed carefully and made the basis of the book.
Based on the vigilant examination of related resources and the gathered information, it must be noted that shortlisting textbooks, based on the criteria stated, is the core of success for carrying out a successful reading teaching process, culminating in independent critical readers and learners.
In a nutshell, this book provides not only a repository in designing and teaching the reading skill successfully, but it also offers authoritative insights into this domain, which can lead all the phases of the reading teaching process without requiring other resources.
Mahmoud Sultan Nafa was the Head of the English Language Department at Al-Maarif Secondary School, Dubai. He holds an MED in TESOL from the British University in Dubai in association with the University of Birmingham. He served as the President of the TESOL Arabia Toastmasters Club and the Vice-President of the Professional Toastmasters Club, and as a Visiting Lecturer at the Canadian University and Al-Jazeera University in Dubai. He is also a well-known researcher in brain-based language teaching theories, and is currently a Lecturer at the City University College of Ajman, UAE.
A Broad Guide to Reading and Comprehension is available now in Hardback at a 25% discount. Enter code PROMO25 at checkout to redeem.