The Process of Reading English Text and Its Major Benefits
Reading sometimes seems to be the big missing part of learning foreign languages. However, reading involves the complex processes necessary to really improve in English! We have summarized for you the principles that illuminate the process of reading and its major benefits.
How do we read?
Once you have passed the threshold of routine reading in primary school, the process seems almost automatic to us. However, automatic does not mean simple, quite the contrary.
‘Semioticians like Umberto Eco’ as well as cognitivists have agreed for several decades on the fundamental role of the reader in the reading process. Many skills are used to interpret a text: linguistic, but also socio-cultural. A text is therefore never read in the same way depending on the reader’s prior knowledge, his psychological state and the context of his reading.
Each person thus takes their own path by entering the literary forest, which, according to Eco, a narration represents. To extend this beautiful metaphor, not only do the paths differ, but so do the ways of crossing the forest. You’ve already experienced it: depending on whether you go picking mushrooms, looking for a lost key or trying not to miss your bus, you don’t travel a path in the same way.
The same goes for reading: for each reader and for each objective, there is a specific strategy. And when you read an English-speaking work, it’s also the level that counts! We have selected some of the most commonly described strategies in language teaching.
The importance of a reading strategy to improve in English
Skimming reading aims for the overall understanding of a text and involves searching for key words. This is the strategy we use when reading a press article to get information, and it is suitable for people who are new to learning a foreign language. No need to understand everything in detail to improve in English, general understanding reassures us. And then, it is by getting used to the exercise of reading that we later manage to understand everything.
Targeted reading, on the contrary, serves to find very precise information, and it is the method that works when the language level is high enough. It allows us to go into details, to understand the author’s attitude, and, finally, to read between the lines.
These different approaches guided us in the creation of South-Asia Magazine Our magazine (web and mobile) is designed so that everyone will find something to suit them, whatever their level of English.
For those who are beginners (from level 1), short and easy to understand texts, to dare to read in original language and learn dozens of words and expressions from the first article read.
More substantial texts (level 1-2), for learners who already feel comfortable but who still have a way to go before understanding everything;
Finally, L2-L3 students will practice on longer and more complex texts and improve their written comprehension.
But whatever article you choose, News line’s features are designed for the reader. If necessary, a contextual translation of “difficult” words or expressions helps you instantly. An interactive vocabulary notebook allows you to review words and expressions that have given you problems at any time until you have memorized them.
What you need to know about reading in original language
You have probably already tried to read in original language and given up. The exercise was too tedious and you wasted too much time looking up words in a dictionary to understand their meaning according to the context. You may also have become discouraged when, despite your efforts, the meaning of certain sentences still escaped you.
You should know that systematic recourse to a dictionary, even online, is not a relevant method for starting to read in original language. The time spent searching for the meaning of unknown words according to their context slows down the pace of the activity too much for It can be considered as a reading exercise in itself.
In terms of “e-training”, to improve in English, it is more effective to read a lot without necessarily understanding all the subtleties than a little text over a long period of work with perfect understanding.
Researchers in language teaching have in fact realized that understanding a text does not only depend on the reader’s skills that we discussed above. It also and above all relies on certain basic cognitive processes, such as lexical access, that is to say the recognition of words. If it is too slow, it “monopolizes most of the reader’s cognitive resources”, result: by concentrating on words, we lose the thread of the subject and we risk experiencing no pleasure from reading.
On the contrary, if recognition is easy and quick (as when reading in the mother tongue), we can mobilize our reading skills to grasp nuances and get to the heart of the subject, that is to say, to be an effective reader. .
What does this theory teach us? That to fully understand a written text and progress in language; you must read regularly, in order to improve your lexical recognition which will eventually become automatic. It is on these acquired automatisms that certain tests are based in which respondents recognize words with inversions of letters or omissions of vowels.
Scientists therefore suggest being in “intense contact” with the language, particularly with the texts, in order to get as close as possible to the immersion of native speakers.