How Can Reading Influence Language Acquisition?
Language acquisition is a process that engages different skills and is therefore influenced by them. Reading, which is among the four main language skills, is considered to be influential in this process in many ways. In my opinion, it is one of the best contributors to the journey of learning a new language and although its advantages seem to be exclusive to reading comprehension, it involves other skills to a high degree as well.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Faezeh C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
To begin, it is crucial to note that the type of reading material plays an important role in the efficiency of the activity and whether authentic or non-authentic, it needs to be appropriate to the level of the learner. When one reads a text, many areas of language and brain operate simultaneously. Through reading, the learner becomes familiar with new vocabulary, new structures and new ideas all of which provide them with rich language input for further application.
Benefits of Reading
For instance, reading can improve listening skills through expanding the vocabulary as limited word knowledge is one of the main reasons for not understanding listening texts. Also, it will help them apprehend the usage of each word or grammatical point in context. Furthermore, because every text follows a structure, reading can develop writing skills as well. To illustrate, consider an article which argues global warming and its effects on the ecosystem; when the learner reads such a text, they are exposing themselves not only to new perspectives and specific vocabulary about this subject but also to an argumentatively oriented material which can be used later on to write an argumentative or opinion essay.
The same applies to speaking skills in which one of the most problematic issues is that students do not know how to discuss and share ideas. Discussion requires a structure to be effective and persuasive. It will also encourage reluctant students who used to be silent due to a lack of ideas or vocabulary to talk more and build confidence. Finally, reading promotes reading comprehension skills by making the audience think about and ponder upon different issues and topics trying to grasp the overall message and can activate imagination which leads to creativity.
Also Read: !(Are public or private schools better for teaching English in South Korea?https://www.teflcourse.net/faq/Are-public-or-private-schools-better-for-teaching-English-in-South-Korea/)
Reading as a Way to Master Speaking
However, it is important to bear in mind that reading in this sense is rather an extra-curriculum activity towards which teachers may encourage students and introduce appropriate materials according to their level. Perhaps they can ask students to read an article at home, analyze the text for themselves and then come back and discuss it with the class, write an essay about it or listen to a podcast of the same topic. Particularly, giving a presentation about the text would be a great speaking practice and will engage other students as well, thus increasing the student speaking time and helping them produce language in the Activate stage of a lesson.
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In conclusion, reading, as mentioned above, connects each main skill-enhancing language acquisition and if done appropriately and with a purpose to achieve, can highly motivate students and pave the way for a smooth, enjoyable and effective language learning experience.
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