helping students to make inference through context and through word formation, understanding relations within the sentence and link sentences and idea. He also suggests using of timed-reading to improve students’ speed reading. He further offers the teaching of skills of predicting, previewing, scanning, and skimming to make students more confident and efficient readers.
Chastain (1988) classifies teaching reading into three stages as follows:
Prereading, the purpose of pre-reading activities is to motivate the students to want to read the assignment and to prepare them to be able to read it. Because the major emphasis in the past has been on the product rather than the process, the teacher is assuming that meaning resides in the reading itself. Too often, pre-reading preparation has consisted little more than the following: “Tomorrow’s reading is really interesting! Read the whole text, pages 32 to 38, and write in complete sentences the answer to the questions on page 39.” A quick analysis of this assignment reveals that it is based on certain assumptions that the reading experts are currently questioning. First, the teacher is assuming that students know the vocabulary and grammar and they are already prepared to read the text. In such an approach to reading the ultimate pre-reading activities may include word definitions, to clarify the meaning of difficult words; and/or some syntactic explanation to help the students to understand complex structures in the text.
Reading the assignment, in which the students receive some material as homework; the class time is regarded more valuable and it is reserves for communication practice that students cannot get out of class. It is important, at this stage, that teachers teach the students how to tackle their reading. Sanacore ( 1985) as well enumerates the techniques that teachers have to convey to their students as a) teaching students to generate questions s they read, b) teaching students to create story-specific questions from schema-general questions, c) teaching students to monitor and resolve blocks to comprehension, d) guiding them to use strategies that increase their comprehension and retrieval of information, such as the SQ3R Process which itself consists of survey, question, read, recite, and review, and e) teaching students to learn and recall valuable information by adhering to the text structure (p. 56-58, cited in Chastain, 1988, p.227).
Postreading, whose purpose is to clarify the meaning of any unclear passage and their relationship to the author’s overall massage by focusing on meaning without calling students attention to grammar and vocabulary, except as a last resort, further, students should be encouraged to ask questions at this stage (p.229).
Brown (2000) mentions that “strategies are those specific attacks that we make on a given problem”. They are the moment-by-moment techniques we employ to solve problems when confronted by second language input and output. He further distinguishes between two types of strategies in the field of second language acquisition as learning strategies, which is related to input (processing, storage, retrieval, taking message from others), and communication strategies, which pertains to output (how we productively express meaning, how we deliver messages to others). There are three learning strategies, namely metacognitive, cognitive, and socioaffective strategies, and two types of communicative strategies, such as avoidance and compensatory strategies.
Brown (2000) also makes a distinction between style and strategy. According to him, style “refers to consistent and rather enduring tendency or preference within an individual. styles as those general characteristics of intellectual functioning (and personality types as well) that especially pertain to one as an individual that differentiates one from someone else, like being more visually oriented, being more tolerant of ambiguity, and being more reflective” (p.88). While strategies are defined as “specific methods of approaching a problem or task, modes of operation for achieving a particular end, and planned designs for controlling and manipulating certain information. They might vary moment to moment, or day to day, or year to year. Strategies vary intra-individually, each of us has a number of possible ways to solve a particular problem, and we choose one or several in sequence for a given problem.
Nunan (1999) defines strategies as “the mental and communicative procedures learners use in order to learn and use language. Underlying every learning task there is at least one strategy” (p.171). He further adds that knowledge of strategies is important because the greater awareness you have of the processes underlying the learning that you are involved in, then learning will be more effective. He believes that explicit strategy training, coupled with thinking about how one goes about learning, and experimenting with different strategies can lead to more effective learning.
Furthermore, a distinction between skills and strategies has been established. Williams and Burden (1997) consider that strategies operate at a level above skills. They are “the executive processes which manage and coordinate the skills.” A learning strategy is like a tactic used by a player. The learning strategies involve an ability to monitor the learning situation and respond accordingly. Guessing the meaning of a word or skimming a text are skills, but the learner has to be able to use them in a purposeful way when appropriate. In other words, strategies are purposeful and goal-oriented” (p.145).
Brown (2001) provides a list of 10 strategies, some of which are related to bottom-up procedures and others enhance top-down processes.
Identifying the purpose in reading.
Use graphemic rules and patterns to help in bottom-up decoding.
Use efficient silent reading techniques.
Skim the text for main ideas.
Scan the text for specific information.
Use semantic mapping or clustering.
Guess when you aren’t certain.
Distinguish between literal and implied meaning.
Capitalize on discourse markers to process relationship (p.306).
Janzen (1996), while describing about teaching strategy use in reading, says, “Strategy use develops over the long term. It’s estimated that it takes several years for second language student to develop as a strategic reader. Certainly, the decontextualized teaching of individual strategies for a short period is not likely to have long-term impact on students or to effectively help them develop as strategic readers” (as cited by Richards and Renandy, 2002).
All in all, strategy training has proved helpful and successful in first, second, and foreign language settings in most cases. Instruction of strategies mostly helps learners attain greater proficiency by making the learning process easier, more efficient, and more self-directed. Research on strategy training with second and foreign language students, however, is in its infancy.
Any existing system of strategies is only a proposal to be tested through practical use and through research. At this stage in the short history of language learning strategy research, there is no complete agreement on exactly what strategies are; how many exist; how they should defined, demarcated, and categorized (Oxford, 1990).
126.96.36.199 Learning Strategy
Oxford (1993) defines learning strategies as “behaviors, techniques, or actions used by students, often consciously, to enhance their learning. Although different people use different kinds of strategies for the same task, the fact is that people actually use strategies for learning regardless of their differing degrees of effectiveness for learning” (p. 95).
Different researches have fined learning strategies differently. Nyikos and Oxford (1989) state that learning strategies are operations used by learners to aid the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of information. Chamot and Kupper (1989) hold that learning strategies are techniques which students use to comprehend, store, and remember new information and skills. But it seems that the O’Malley and Chamot’s (1990) definition is more through: “learning strategies are the special thoughts and behaviors that individuals use to help then comprehend, learn, or retain new information” (p.73).
188.8.131.52 Reading Strategies
Some researchers in language learning have narrowed down their domains of investigation and have focused on the strategies involved in language skills; e.g., speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Literature in this area reveals that, as far as systematic research are concerned, reading is relatively rich and writing is the least-touched area. But what are reading strategies? By definition, reading strategies indicate how readers conceived of a task, how they make sense of what they read, and what they do when they do not understand. Such strategies are used by the reader to enhance reading comprehension and overcome comprehension failure. It was on the basis of such approaches to reading that readers are classified as “good” or “effective” versus “poor” or “ineffective” readers.
As put by Duffy (1993), reading strategies can be defined as “plans for solving problems encountered in construction meaning” (p.57). Perhaps J. Richard (1990) is the first scholar who revamped the notion of reading strategies. Of course the fact that we take Richards as the starting point should not imply prior to him such terms were out-and-out alien to the world of L 2 research. Others like Rubin (1975) and a few other earlier scholars, e.g. Brown (1994), have utilized such terms as strategies, or good/poor readers as well, yet they employed them in sense completely different from that