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1 The IELTS Academic Reading Module Background information Question types Skills Challenges Helping Ss prepare Questions?

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Presentation on theme: "1 The IELTS Academic Reading Module Background information Question types Skills Challenges Helping Ss prepare Questions?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The IELTS Academic Reading Module Background information Question types Skills Challenges Helping Ss prepare Questions?

2 2 An overview of the IELTS Academic Reading Module Format 3 passages and 40 items (questions), each worth one mark Timing 60 minutes: no time given for transferring answers to answer sheet Texts based on authentic texts including magazines, journals, books and newspapers aim to represent material encountered in academic study may include diagrams, graphs, illustrations etc Length total word count for three passages: words.

3 3 Question types Multiple Choice Short-answer questions Sentence Completion Notes, Summary or Table/Flow-chart Completion Labelling a Diagram

4 4 Question Types, cont. Choosing Headings for Paragraphs or Sections of a Text Locating Information Identification of Writer’s Views/Claims or of Information in a Text Classification Matching Source:

5 5 Weir, C. & Khalifa, H. (2008). A cognitive processing approach towards defining reading comprehension Weir & Khalifa: a cognitive processing approach to defining reading comprehension “Bottom up” and “Top down” Goal setter: identifies PURPOSE for reading, e.g. reading for gist-> strategies employed Knowledge of the language, of the world, and of text structure Both are utilized in the… Central processing core: L1 reading behaviors that the L2 reader is moving toward, from word recognition to the construction of a mental model of the text and creating “an organised representation of the text”

6 6 Reading types: easy to difficult. 1.Scanning/searching for local information 2.Careful local reading 3.Skimming for gist 4.Careful global reading for comprehending main idea 5.Search reading for global information 6.Careful global reading to comprehend a text 7.Careful global reading to comprehend texts Weir, C. & Khalifa, H. (2008). A cognitive processing approach towards defining reading comprehension, p. 9. EASY DIFFICULT

7 7 Skills tested The candidate is required to identify the writer’s overall purpose, target audience, sources etc. identify and follow key arguments in a text identify opinions and attitudes as opposed to facts locate specific information read for detailed information extract relevant information distinguish the main idea from supporting detail

8 8 Skills tested, cont. Skills tested, cont. recognise key points for a summary group pieces of information in a text in accordance with salient criteria extract information from a prose text to put into a diagrammatic representation make inferences use correct spelling and correct grammar in answers Source: IELTS Teaching Resources, available at academic_reading/aboutthepaper/academic_read_skills_strats.htm

9 9 Challenges for candidates text types content Metacognitive skills and strategies Fluency/speed Application of background knowledge

10 10 Challenge for the instructor

11 11 Washback ? washback: measurement-driven instruction Chen and Curtis

12 12 Or symbiosis? Using IELTS to practice academic reading Or symbiosis? Using IELTS to practice academic reading Pair work Synonym matching Annotation Discourse analysis Ss write test materials

13 13 A sample of academic reading activities Vocabulary tasks Summary writing Interpreting charts and graphs Writing test materials Comparing texts Critical reading Reading for research: annotated bibliography

14 14 References Baker, A. & Brown, L. (1986). Metacognitive skills and reading. In P. Pearson, (ed.), Handbook of reading research, , Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ. Cheng, L. & Curtis, A. (2004), Washback or backwash: A review of the impact of testing on teaching and learning, in L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe, & A. Curtis. (eds.), Washback in language testing: Research contexts and methods, 3–18 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ. Grabe, W. (n.d.). Foundations for reading assessment. Retrieved 7 May 2009 from IELTS Teaching Resources IELTS Teaching Resources (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2008 at academic_reading/aboutthepaper/academic_read_skills_strats.htm Nation, P. (2001). Vocabulary learning strategies and guessing from context. In P. Nation, Learning vocabulary in another language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Weir, C. & Khalifa, H. (2008). A cognitive processing approach towards defining reading comprehension. Cambridge ESOL: Research Notes, 31, Retrieved 7 May 2009 from

15 15 Useful websites for IELTS Reading The British Council Holmesglen Institute IELTS Reading Practice City University of Hong Kong Cambridge ESOL Polytechnic University of Hong Kong


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