Not All Readings Are Created Equal 各種不同的閱讀

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

It has been our sixth week together in Cantonese Circle Time, and I am so glad to see kids share happily and singing and gesturing together! Of course, I love to see learning communities grow and share good books with you all! (Pardon my exclamation points—I just can't hide my excitement!) I would also like to thank you for your feedback and questions. One interesting topic raised was the kind of reading we did in story time. As a language/music teacher+learner+lover, I am aware of the importance of including different reading experiences in my students' and my lives. 時間過得真快,我們的廣東話圍圓圈時間已經到了第六週!看見小朋友開心地分享,又一起唱歌、做動作,我真是很高興啊!還有,我看見我們慢慢形成一同學習的群體!還有,我愛和大家分享好書!(不好意思,好多感歎號,因為我真是很興奮!)我還想謝謝大家的回應和提問。其中,大家對閱讀感興趣,特別是我們的故事時間,究竟我的目的是什麼?作為一個語言、音樂老師+學習者+愛好者,我知道不同種類閱讀的重要性,所以,在我的生活中、教學中,我盡量提供不同種類的閱讀體驗。

We read for different purposes. One simple example is how we look for a telephone number in our contact book. We scan for the friend or company we are looking for only, without studying every entry carefully. We do not read everything in this case. 我們閱讀,有不同的目的。舉一個簡單的例子:如果係想找一個人或公司的電話號碼,你不會把電話簿從頭到尾看一次,你只會掃讀(scan)找出目標。

我們為不同的原因閱讀。We read for different purposes (Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash)

The following are five common types of reading that language learners or parents usually do: 下面是五種語言學習者或家長常遇的閱讀種類:

Pre-Reading 預備閱讀

Pre-reading is preparing to read. We look at the book cover, title, back cover, or even flip through a few pages to see if we are interested in the book. This is usually considered a "before reading" activity, but I have included it in our list because of its importance in developing one's identity as an independent reader. Pre-reading provides key background information, which activates schema (i.e., allowing your brain to pull out prior knowledge so that you can understand the text you are going to read more easily and better).

This also applies to picture book reading. It is important for adults or teachers to read the title clearly, allow children to look at the cover and even the first few pages before the beginning of the story—you see me turning these pages slowly during storytime. These pages might look meaningless, but the illustrations provide background information such as time and place and set up the mood for the story. Apart from activating schema, this helps your children acquire the habit of pre-reading, preparing them to be good readers who pre-read when they are ready to read on their own.

Prepare your kids to be good independent readers (Photo by Picsea on Unsplash)

Text Appreciation 文本欣賞

There is musicality even in written texts. You may be familiar with rhymes and poetic meter (rhythm), alliteration (using the same beginning sounds) and assonance (using the same vowels or consonants), too? Apart from these, pace of the writing is large neglected. Writers use repetitions, vary their sentence lengths or structures, use punctuations, or purposefully do not write anything on a page to change mood, arouse a feeling or convey a message.

In our circle time, I am trying to provide this text appreciation experience for our young kids. When the author is silent, I do not say much so that our little readers can feel the power of pause in writing. When the writing is going fast, I go fast, hoping to keep the excitement going and sustain our little readers' interests. I only add in brief notes when kids ask questions (sadly, it is limited to my daughter in this virtual setting). My goal is still to keep the flow of the reading. In fact, you will be surprised to see how much they understand even though they may not understand every word in the book—they are practicing an important reading strategy here!

Don't forget to hear the music in written texts (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

Reading for Comprehension 理解閱解

Written texts are meant to be re-read, especially picture books. There is just so much in a good picture book. Parents can help young children understand the book better by reading more slowly this time. Instead of turning the page yourself, you may ask your kid to turn it. Allow them to look at the pictures—these help understanding greatly—and ask questions. Answer their questions, and you may even ask questions—to check their understanding or to help them understand the story better! For individual reading, readers are to read slowly during this reading stage. If there are no comprehension questions for you to check your understanding, make yourself write a summary, design a poster, or draw a picture to describe the book.

Please note that it is easy for readers to feel frustrated at this stage. They might be disappointed at themselves or feel ashamed of not understanding everything. Parents or teachers should let them know it is normal to not understand everything of a text. There are different reasons for difficulty in comprehension such as not having the same life experience or the author intentionally makes it hard so that we need to re-read and re-read. Offer help or discuss reading strategies with the readers, if necessary. If a text is long, making it too hard to remember all content at once, close reading strategies are needed.

Read slowly to understand (Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash)

Close Reading 細讀

Close reading is to study a text for special learning purposes such as learning a new topic, gathering information for a project, examining writing techniques, etc. This is common especially in academic settings. During close reading, readers should highlight, annotate, write down questions, or jot notes in order to help themselves think and remember their thoughts.

Help yourself think and remember during close reading (Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash)

Reading for Pleasure / Extensive Reading 悅讀/廣泛閱讀

This is self-explanatory. Read for enjoyment! :)

Photo by Dan Dumitriu on Unsplash

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. There are also different categorizations for different purposes.

Let me know what you think. Talk about your experiences. Or ask me questions! I hope we can build a lovely learning community here.

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