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Numer: 10644

Using motivating and authentic reading materials. How to make lessons more interesting?

Ewelina Wysoczańska, Legnica
Topic: Using motivating and authentic reading materials. How to make lessons more interersing?

Using motivating reading materials
Students will only read a lot if they are interested, whether in comics, detective stories or thrillers, so give them books they don’t want to put down. If they are studying English literature, prepare their set books and try to generate enthusiasm before they start reading ( Haycraft, 1986, p.120).
Bowen and Marks (1994) concentrate on the teacher’s role to choose texts which students find attractive to read. Selection of reading materials may be done in accordance with what students look for, e.g. linguistic or lexical items, vocabulary or enjoyment (p.123). Reading is one of those skills which are not popular among students, who often find it boring or difficult because of the text itself. Bowen and Marks (1994) present some options of how to encourage students to read. They also put emphasis on sustaining students’ curiosity by choosing texts which are not only familiar but also books which have new pieces of information for students. Firstly, the teacher must decide what kind of material he/she will use in order to catch the attention of students. An option in which there is new information for the learner are specialist magazines, technical journal and newspapers. Such materials provide learners with the authentic language as well as attractive topics. Secondly, the teacher may suggest other authentic materials to read, e.g. advertisements, menus, recipes, instructions, notices, texts with which students are familiar everyday (p.122). Also Ur (1996) stresses the role of the teacher in encouraging students. They should be given a wide range of occasions to read a lot so that it becomes successful in time. The reading material ought to be diverse, motivating and adjusted to student’s level of proficiency (p.147). The term authentic materials is broader than one may assume. Authentic materials also include songs, web pages, radio and TV broadcasts, films, leaflets, flyers, posters (Shephard, 2004, 2). According to Komorowska (1993), reading is essential part of learning a language, a student will read enthusiastically if he/she will be provided with texts used everyday in the target language, e.g., letters, postcards, telegrams, surveys, announcements, leaflets good quality of newspapers and tabloids. The emphasis is put on informational texts which are used every day (p.142).

Using authentic materials to young learners
Reading is of great importance also for young learners who should be given attention-grabbing texts. Depree and Iversen (1994) show significant things such as providing children with the purpose of reading “many children learn to read, but never become regular readers because they see no purpose in it”(p.31). To make young learners passionate about reading teachers must present different sorts of literature, like fiction, factual, prose and poetry. First and foremost, all of them must be of children’s proficiency level and teachers should make sure that such materials stimulate interests and “spark imagination” (p.31). Brewster, Ellis and Girard (2002) claim that thanks to reading young learners learn not only new words but also a bit of grammar. The most popular types of texts are dialogues, descriptions, instructions and short stories accompanied with colorful pictures to make reading more enjoyable and memorable. Children are welcome to take part in activities as gap-filling and comprehension questions (p.113). Furthermore, young learners use authentic materials as well. Among the most popular are menus, greetings cards, manuals and advertisements (p.114).
Thanks to reading “we can access worlds of ideas and feelings, as well as the knowledge of ages and visions of the future” (cited in Alderson & Bachmann, 2000, p.x). This short sentence shows the essence of how valuable reading is. Quite often students treat reading as something that must be done because the teacher gives such a task. Students must start treating reading as something challenging and worth taking part in. Motivation is the key to encouraging students to read. Therefore, the teacher’s role is of utmost importance. He/ she must provide learners with as many techniques and strategies as possible so that learners can choose the most appropriate one for themselves. The truth is that students are not fond of reading and it is easy to guess why. On one hand, unattractive texts used during the lesson which are not adjusted to students’ competence level, on the other hand problems when students are not aware of techniques and strategies which can boost their reading abilities. Although reading is one of the most difficult aspects of language to teach, it is essential to pay attention to reading efficiently and getting students acquainted with a list of different type of texts. The paper presents beneficial techniques of successful reading as well as helpful strategies. Some examples of motivating and interesting reading materials are given. Such materials are recommended by methodologists because of the fact that students must be provided with something new, they will be eager to read and willing to expand on more texts. It is widely believed that learners become good readers when they read a lot. Teachers ought to do the best they can to promote efficient reading which is of great value to students who are given the opportunities to try to apply specific reading techniques and strategies in practice.
In conclusion, reading can bring lots of advantages if, firstly, students are motivated properly and, secondly, right techniques and strategies are applied. All in all, on efficient reading has a positive impact on attitude to learning English as well as the fact that students can enjoy it.

1.Alderson, Ch. J., & Bachmann L. F. (Eds.) (2000) Assessing Reading, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2.Brewster, J., Ellis, G., & Girard, D. (2002) The primary English teacher’s guide Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
3.Bowen, T., & Marks, J. (1994) Inside teaching. Options for English language teachers. Great Britain: Heinemann.
4.Depree, H., & Jveresn, S. (1994) Early literacy in the classroom. A new standard for young learners, New Zealand: The Wright Group Publishing, Inc.
5.Haycraft, J. (1986) An introduction to English Language Teaching, Essex: Longman Group UK Limited
6.Komorowska, H. (1993) Podstawy metodyki nauczania języków obcych, [ Basic principles of learning foreign languages]. Warszawa: EDE- Poland.
7.Shepherd, S. (2004). Using authentic materials.
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/using-authentic-material (2010, May 09).
8.Ur, P. (1996). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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