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Reading as a Part of Language Acceptability

Reading as a Part of Language Acceptability | ITTT | TEFL Blog

The study of language acquisition has long been a topic of interest to both psychologists and linguists alike. The manner wherein we acquire language is broken into two categories, depending on the developmental stage of the student being thought. First language acquisition refers to how children learn their native language. Second language acquisition refers to the learning of another language differing from their native language. This essay is concerned with the effect reading has on language acquisition. Reading is a core area in the acquisition of language. However, the statement is interchangeable as the language acquired by a student greatly predicts their reading acquisition. This essay will discuss briefly the manner a student firstly acquires knowledge of the language, included in this will be an overview of Chomsky’s hypothesis’ related to the innate acquisition of language. The interchangeable link and undoubted effect of reading on language acquisition will then be discussed, to illustrate the essential role reading acquisition plays in language acquisition.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Eoghan O. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

FLA and SLA

Language acquisition whether it is a child’s first or second language depends on four skill areas that must be addressed, continually, and consistently by a teacher or authoritative model within a language lesson. A great lesson plan would interchangeably incorporate all four, these are The Productive skills of writing (including grammar) and speaking, followed by the receptive skills of reading (including vocabulary) and listening. The way we acquire this knowledge has been hypothesized famously by Noam Chomsky. in his ‘’Innateness Hypothesis’’ Chomsky alludes that the human species is pre-wired with a ‘Language Acquisition Device’(LAD). According to this view, all children are born with a universal grammar, which lends itself to the acquisition of the common features and structures of the language. Many reasons have led to this hypothesis particularly the ease and speed with which language is acquired regardless of impoverished or overactive input. All children will learn a language, additionally possessing the ability to acquire more than one if they are exposed to it. Essential to Chomsky’s idea of an innate LAD (language, acquisition, device) is the hypothesis of a Critical age. This suggests that there is an age-specific threshold for language acquisition without the need for special teaching or learning. Within this critical period, language learning proceeds quickly and easily. However, after this period the acquisition of grammar becomes difficult, and in some cases never fully achieved. Beyond this age, humans find it much more challenging to acquire some areas of syntax and inflectional morphology. While the critical age is important to consider while learning about language acquisition, it most certainly does not pertain to all of language acquisition, instead of specific parts of grammar and structure.

Also Read: Difficulties in English Phonetics and Phonology: How Foreign Learners Can Master it

Receptive Skills Overview

Now that a good understanding of language acquisition has been formed, this essay can undoubtedly suggest that reading influences it, and vice versa. Reading is a receptive language skill; it is oral language in a visual format. Therefore, it makes credible sense that the acquisition of the reading process intermingles, with the acquisition of language enhancement and dexterity. There are three key literacy skills acquired through the learning of a language that influences the acquisition of reading skills. These skills include phonological awareness which is the ability to pick out phonemic sounds within vocabulary; Print recognition, which is the ability to recognize match and correlate symbols to sound; an Oral language which refers to the ability to listen to process and learn new aspects of the language.

The language acquisition of a student heavily affects the reading ability of a student, therefore the most effective way to help a student acquire a good, accurate competent reading ability would be to focus upon these three literacy skills. As such it is the foundations of language that envisage unhampered progress through, learning to read, the fluency of the reader as well as reading comprehension, and ultimately the ability to read with metacognition. Metacognition refers to a student’s ability to understand or comprehend a piece of work without having to think exactly why they know it, in short, they are aware of their awareness, or ‘knowing about knowing’. However, it must be noted that metacognition should only be the goal of intermediate to highly advanced classes. Not only that, but it must also be understood that the accuracy of use within a classroom is far more important than perfection.

Also Read: 8 Things I Wish I had Known Before I Started Teaching English Online

So, it may be said that reading does affect language acquisition, as reading is just another format for the brain to receive written language. Furthermore, reading ability is superimposed upon language ability. The same regions we use to learn and use language within the brain are identical to those used within the reading. Therefore, it would be an act of sheer ignorance to suggest that reading does not affect the language acquisition of a learner; their reading ability gives a clear lens into the acquired language of the student.

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Overall it is clear that reading affects and comes to effect in correspondence with language acquisition. The receptive skills of reading and listening rely upon the productive skills of writing and speaking. In-fact as suggested in my first paragraph there are four skill areas essential in the learning of a foreign language, great teachers incorporate all four as often as pertinent. Native speakers do not learn these skills separately, nor are they used independently of themselves. It is paramount then that these skills are not taught separately, nonetheless, a teacher must remain cognisant of the pitfall of teaching about the language rather than teaching it. To conclude, through a brief overview of language acquisition this essay found that reading does affect language acquisition because it quite simply enacts upon all other skill areas in tandem. As an EFL teacher, it must understand that the acquisition of language relates directly to the acquisition of reading.

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