Nicholas Northall

      Hi Aytaj,

      Thanks for your post. I’m glad this unit has changed your mind about including reading in your lessons. I guess this lends itself to another question – what type of reading? I am a bit advocate of extensive reading (see my reply to Robert above) and have often asked students to simply read for most of a lesson; however, as you can imagine, this could potentially cause quite a few problems! I think the main thing is that when we include reading in our lessons we both teach and test reading!

      Yes, the three approaches are very similar. Both Harmer and Scrivener suggest asking learners to fully complete the gist reading tasks before asking them to read in detail. They also stress the importance of background knowledge (i.e. top down approaches) to reading. Scrivener admits that this approach isn’t always necessary or useful (he gives the example of the train timetable) as often readers are looking for detailed information and don’t need to ‘gist’ read a text.  Nuttal discusses using both top-down and bottom-up strategies to read longer texts – i.e. perhaps ones not used in the classroom. This approach, I think, is quite different to the other two, as she implies that reading for gist and detail support each other. However, she does make it clear that not understand the main context can result in learners being unable to understand the detail. What do you think?

      Yes, information gaps are great ways to develop a range of skills – not just reading. I think that it is almost impossible to have a ‘reading’ lesson in which learners only develop reading skills – unless of course, we just ask them, as soon as they enter the room, to open their books and read for the full lesson! There might be some listening in that though too!