Reading as a Key to Language Acquisition
Reading is one of the receptive skills with the other one being a listening skill. According to some scholars, the acquisition of language is believed to be a natural way of acquiring knowledge and learning is that acquired in the classroom. However, for this summative task, I am treating the two the same.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Onias M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Ways of Acquiring a Language
Based on this definition, language acquisition is mostly done through listening as explained by how our children get to know their native language. The motivation they have to speak their native language is because their parents, who happen to be their role models, will be uttering some certain words which they hear continuously and end up mimicking as try to emulate them. They just listen to their parents who become the major source of language and with time acquire more language. Even the way teaching is being conducted today under the ESA methodology, more emphasis by teachers is on having students listen to the teacher for pronunciations, role plays to understand the proper usage of grammar, students encouraged to speak. This but confirms the importance and relevance being attached to listening in influencing language acquisition. There is not much in terms of teaching reading lessons given to students. This limits the influence of reading on knowledge acquisition and at the moment, listening has more influence on language acquisition than reading, though they complement each other.
Reader’s Approach to Reading
On the other hand, it is a conscious effort that is taken by the reader. As established, there two main reasons why people read, either for a specific purpose or for entertainment. While reading has so many advantages such as the acquisition of new vocabulary, pronunciations, the meaning of the words, how and when to use, it is not being regarded as such by both parents and teachers. I believe the teaching model should also emphasize reading with students expected to have completed reading some set books and presenting findings in class or through exams. Libraries must be fully stocked and teachers are to be given targets for reading lessons. There should be ways of tracking the student effort in reading. Activities such as debates, general discussions must be encouraged so that students find time to research and come up with points for discussion. Currently, we are aware that besides listening, language acquisition is influenced by other factors such as student attitude, motivation to study, age, and intelligence. It is a known fact that there comes a time when even the one who would have acquired language through listening has to read for themselves to seek directions, new vocabulary. Reading because very important.
To reading to influence language acquisition, I believe parents and guardians of young children play an important role. In a way they influence language through the words they speak, they can also start encouraging their students to read from an early stage through buying books for them. Just like the way they are reading bedtime stories for their children, they can assist their children in reading before children going to bed. Teachers will then carry on from where the parents would have left. Using the various teaching techniques such as visuals, pictures, they can create the necessary curiosity required by the student to want to research and increase language. Once they have acquired the knowledge through reading, they can then begin to gain confidence in sentence construction, grammar, punctuation. Parents also have to take an active role in supervising the students, assisting with homework, thereby taking an active role in their children’s language acquisition initiatives. Encouraging children to read should start at an early stage, the same time they are learning how to speak. World reading day must be promoted vigorously and children encouraged through participating in some competitions. I believe if these two receptive skills, reading, and listening receive equal attention both at school and home, they will have a positive influence on the productive skills. When they come to school, students must be encouraged to read more, so that they improve their vocabulary, grammar and general use of language. More vocabulary will be able to be channeled towards writing and speaking using the knowledge of the language they would have acquired through extensive reading for both entertainment and identified purpose.
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