Teaching ESL

Breaking old reading habits
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Author:  Estherbarne [ Fri May 23, 2014 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Breaking old reading habits


I am currently at a high school in India and I have been asked to help the children improve their conversational English as well as improve their reading skills. I want to introduce a phonics based system for the two kindergarten classes and possibly for Grade 1. The problem I have is trying to break old habits. The system currently in place in the school is one of rote memory learning (typical for the Indian educational system) where they are taught to spell words out and then retrieve the correct word from their vocabulary memory bank of learned words. It is extremely frustrating to listen to them read and then guess the word based on the letters. Often the word they come up with bears no relation to the word that I am looking at.

I believe putting in place a phonics based system for the youngest learners will hopefully improve their reading in the long term but it is with the older learners that I am more worried and it is here that I need some advice. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or techniques to help improve their reading skills as even by 13/14 years they are still spelling out the words, not to mention their general lack of comprehension. My fear is that these habits are so ingrained that whatever I do now is never going to get to the core of the problem. Luckily most of our teachers are very willing to learn and change how they teach, although it is incredibly hard for them.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Many thanks


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