In my view, teaching reading is one of the best practices for EFL students, because it is a kind of an exercise of reason. As an expert said, it is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain, and provides huge advantage for EFL students (Harmer, 2004).
In my context, I have experienced many activities dealing with reading practice. Mostly, the main objective is to understand a reading text or to get the important information from it. For this goal, I always convince my students that English text can be understood if they keep on reading it until the last sentence of the passage. For me, an English text can be comprehended even though there are new vocabulary and structures that my students have never seen before. They have to guess and predict the meaning the context and train their brain to digest the information on the passage. I usually make an illustration for them: they are just learning how to get to Blok M by car, and I told them the way to get there and that they just need to drive according to the instruction. Do not stop over if they find something strange or need to know (it’s the new vocabulary or structure), because the more often they did that, the longer it will be to get to the destination. To get the idea of what a text is about can be done in shorter time if they are skilled, or keep on reading for comprehension rapidly.
After they get the idea of the text, I usually ask some questions to check whether they can extract the information on the passage. It can be a combination between open-ended questions and Yes/No questions. This activity can be a practice for speaking for my students.
In other objective, I can also use reading as communicative task, i.e. activity to foster my students’ ability to communicate in English. For example, I give a text, and my students are asked to discuss it in small groups as the task assigned for them, such as:
– to get a clue in a case study,
– to rearrange the jumbled paragraphs into a good story
– to discuss their stand points after reading certain issue
– to discuss the moral value of a folk tale
– to find the suspect in a crime story, etc
The last objective and also the most important for me is to stimulate them to pronounce better while reading aloud (another exercise for speaking). It’s a good practice because I can monitor my students’ progress in speaking by doing this. I can know easily whether my students keep on improving or not. (I usually motivate them to practice reading aloud at home, read bedtime story, or recite a poem. It’s a good exercise for pronunciation, stresses, and intonation). Reading a text aloud can indicate our speaking proficiency.
So, teaching reading is also a kind of teaching skills to my students. I like teaching reading, because it will also encourage me to keep on improving. In reading, we will continue to find something new: it can be some difficulty, some new skills, or more information that can widen our horizon.
This photo was sent by my former student in 2007, saat ini mereka sudah banyak yang sudah selesai S2 nya di luar negeri. Sengaja upload karena ini kelas paling berkesan, pesertanya sedikit dan lucu2. Dalam diklat TOEFL iBT Preparation itu saya hanya memberikan tips2 dan strategi menjawab soal TOEFL iBT listening dan kita banyak latihan soal saja. It was fun weeks belajar bersama mereka.