What is the Importance of Reading in EFL Teaching?
Among the four main language skills, reading is considered to be influential in the process of language acquisition. Indeed, reading is one of the best contributors to the journey of learning a new language, and its advantages are not exclusive to reading comprehension. It enhances the other skills of language to a higher degree.
Book reading has been found to have the power to create interactional contexts which nourish language development. There has been a famous quotation by Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), which says, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
Benefits of Reading
Reading, even at a slow pace, exposes students to more sentences, grammar, and vocabulary to compare with the average short class, TV show, or song. Reading essentially supports and feeds the brain with the correct language structures and offers students a wider range of vocabulary and writing skills. In addition, reading can improve listening skills through expanding the vocabulary, as limited word knowledge is one of the main reasons for not understanding listening texts.
❖ There is this vitality to remember that books contain a richer and more refined form of language.
Unlike speaking and conversational forms, most books have been written, drafted, and re-drafted until they convey the intended meaning; while in speech, the meaning can be ambiguous, as when speaking, we don't take that much time to think before relaying the information.
Going back as early as 1995, researchers Moeller & Meyer researched the positivity of using books in second language acquisition (especially for young children). They found that since literature makes use of natural language patterns in familiar contexts that the students can relate to, it also helped the students to make connections and recollect those language structures much faster. Reading books helps people to develop their language skills. For instance, for children reading increases their exposure to language. Stories that rhyme are very helpful for teaching speech and language skills, and also they can help children to discover a love of language.
Moreover, reading helps children to work out their feelings about the world. Many children's books are on topics that can open up valuable discussions between a parent and child, such as books about sibling rivalry, nightmares, or dealing with difficult emotions.
Teaching through reading allows students to engage with their teacher, cultivating a rich learning process. An educator is aware crucially that the type of reading material plays an important role in the efficiency of the activity, and whether authentic or non-authentic, the context needs to be appropriate to the level of the learner.
When one reads a text, many areas of language and brain operate simultaneously. However, reading may be a source of frustration, students who make it a ritual to read gain language skills much faster than their counterparts.
As mentioned before, throughout the reading, learners can build speed and fluency by systematically learning vocabulary and by doing lots of easy and vast reading. Furthermore, reading comprehension is critical for long-term academic success, which is dependent on language abilities that emerge early in life.
The only negative side of reading comprehension must be that for all types of reading, the reader needs' automaticity' both of recognizing the word, its meaning, and its lexical access; in other words recognizing the word so as to find its meaning in memory, and silently activating its pronunciation, which at first sounds frustrating and time-consuming.
Learning to read requires the skill to differentiate between two main aspects of reading: word recognition and comprehension. Word recognition consists of knowing how a word is pronounced, while comprehension is the need to be able to interpret the meaning of the printed text. This means if this connection of comprehension and recognition does not appear, the learner would not be able to acquire the knowledge of the context (the knowledge that he/she was aiming for to gain).
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