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Reexamining Authenticity: Authentic Reading Experience or Authentic Text? Lynn Bonesteel, Boston University.

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Presentation on theme: "Reexamining Authenticity: Authentic Reading Experience or Authentic Text? Lynn Bonesteel, Boston University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reexamining Authenticity: Authentic Reading Experience or Authentic Text? Lynn Bonesteel, Boston University

2 What is an authentic reading experience? What is the difference between an authentic text and an authentic experience? How can you select or create reading materials that will provide your students with an authentic reading experience ?

3 What is an authentic text?

4 Definition of authentic text Authentic texts (either written or spoken) are those which are designed for native speakers; they are real texts designed not for language students, but for the speakers of the language in question (Harmer, 1983).

5 A rule of thumb for authentic here is any material which has not been specifically produced for the purposes of language teaching (Nunan, 1989).

6 An authentic text is a stretch of real language, produced by a real speaker or writer for a real audience and designed to convey a real message of some sort (Morrow, 1997).

7 Claims made about so-called authentic texts –They are interesting. –They are written for a real audience. –They motivate students. –They prepare students better for thereal world outside of the classroom.

8 Authenticity Written for native speakers = Authentic Written for language learners = Inauthentic?

9 Another understanding of authenticity (Breen, 1985) Four types of authenticity: 1.Authenticity of the texts which we may use as input data for our learners. 2.Authenticity of the learners own interpretation of such texts. 3.Authenticity of the tasks conducive to language learning. 4.Authenticity of the actual social situation of the language classroom.

10 Another understanding of authenticity Grabe 2009 and Widdowson 1998, 2000 Not at all clear what an authentic text is and who has the right to make that decision Taking any text into a classroom and using it for pedagogical goals removes the context assumed by the writer, rendering the text nonauthentic Goal should be to select texts that are enjoyable, interesting, and attractive, rather than imposing an unsupported authenticity argument on text selection choices for students

11 Authentic Text vs. Authentic Reading Experience Authentic Reading Experience = Same purposes, processes and reactions as when reading in first language –Read to feel –Read to learn –Read to experience another reality Without adequate comprehension, no authentic experience possible Learners need authentic experience at each level of proficiency to maintain motivation and build fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary

12 Which of the following is NOT an example of an authentic reading experience? a. Reading a book for pleasure b. Reading an article in order to practice strategies to guess meaning from context c. Reading a textbook chapter in preparation for a test on the content.

13 Reading Authentic Texts Major goal for many learners BUT Unassisted reading requires ~6000-8000 word families or ~15,000-20,000 words For adequate comprehension ~98% (Hu and Nation, 2000) Assisted ~95% to be able to learn vocabulary from context

14 Dont Confuse Means with Ends We do not begin with authenticity; authenticity is what learners should ultimately achieve: it represents their terminal behavior. (Widdowson,1976)

15 Getting them there Use simplified texts to Increase vocabulary size Increase motivation to read Increase fluency

16 Quality of Texts Objections: simplified= unnatural, inauthentic, boring… Another perspective

17 Many of the criticisms of simplification are criticisms of bad simplification. We need to have standards of good simplification and praise those texts that exemplify them (Nation, 2001).

18 "It is sometimes salutary for those of us who write…materials for language learning purposes to try to regard the restrictions under which we work...rather in the way that a poet would regard the narrow confines of sonnet form...that is, more as a stimulus and challenge to creative endeavor than as a justification for trite work" ( Mortimer 1975).

19 The second language materials writer is…working with severe limitations, but within these limitations it should also be possible to create small masterpieces. We need to see more of these masterpieces (Nation, 2001).

20 Creating an Authentic Reading Experience: Evaluating Texts Quality of simplified reading selections Importance of content Careful attention to vocabulary –Ratio of known/unknown words –Choice of word targets –Recycling

21 Quality of Reading Selections Intellectual challenge appropriate for your students Well-researched Well-written– Maintain connections among ideas Sentence to sentence Paragraph to paragraph

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23 Importance of Content Content-rich texts at appropriate level Content-based goals Content-based exercises Authentic Reading Experience

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28 Careful Attention to Vocabulary To allow incidental learning of new vocabulary, maintain ratio of ~95% known/unknown words Focus on vocabulary before, during, and after reading Provide multiple encounters in different contexts Integrate vocabulary into all activities

29 Original Text: 86 % of words likely to be known to intermediate learner Keep me ____while I finish the sauce, Michael _____, pulling me away from the other guests. I followed, ____the ___of his home. Both it and my new neighbor were pretty ____for ___North Carolina. His house had no inside walls. Its rooms ___ into one another instead of keeping to well-defined spaces as rooms in most homes do. When I sat down among the ____what he called the kitchenit ____me how ____ the open ____ of a ____ ____was in the ___ belt. Yet I suppose it made sense, because Michael taught at the School of the Arts. Artists were supposed to be ____. I quickly ___ with the ___ ___of Michaels house, an ____that ____ up an old ___. I was supposed to wear the ___ mask expected of ____, yet the house spoke to the ___ in me, too, a part that had to express itself with ___. I was glad Michael had invited me to dinner. I had long preferred the company of creative people over that of ____medical types, which is why I liked living next to the ____.

30 Simplified Text: 95% of words likely to be known to intermediate learner Keep me ____while I finish the sauce, Michael said, pulling me away from the other guests. I followed, examining the unusual layout* of his home. His house had no inside walls. Its rooms flowed into one another instead of keeping to well-defined spaces as rooms in most homes do. But this didnt surprise me because I knew that Michael was an artist. I quickly ____with the _____of Michaels house, an ____that _____an old ____. As a doctor, I was expected to be ____, yet the house spoke to the artist in me, too. I was glad Michael had invited me to dinner. I had long preferred the company of creative people to the company of serious medical types. *layout= the way in which a house, building or town is arranged

31 Before reading

32 While reading

33 After reading

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35 Fluency Training Learners use what they already know –No new words –No new grammar Read faster, more efficiently –Record progress for motivation –Teach explicit strategies Extensive reading program

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38 Some suggestions for quality materials http://www.eslreading.org/about/abouteslrea ding.html http://www.erfoundation.org/erf/awards

39 Conclusion Aim for an authentic reading experience at all levels of proficiency Evaluate texts and exercises to check potential for an authentic reading experience Create (and publish!) your own simplified texts using principled standards


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