Capítulos de libros
EFL Literacy Instruction: Integrating Strategic Reading and Academic Writing
English for Academic Purposes and Language Skills: Research and Classroom Applications
El Copista
Lugar: Córdoba; Año: 2009; p. 1 - 209
Literacy is necessary for improving one´s personal, professional and occupational opportunities. In fact, individuals with poor literacy skills face formidable barriers to success, beginning with their postsecondary education (Pugh, Pawan & Antommarchi 2000). More specifically, EFL reading and writing are vital to academic success as English continues to spread as the language of science, technology and research. Williams and Snipper (1990:8 in Pugh 2000:26) define academic literacy as: "the ability to interact with a body of artifacts and ideas preserved within the specific domains of educational institutions. It is a set of behaviours peculiar to the formally educated. Academic literacy reflects the notion that literate people are those who read (...) the very sorts of texts college students face during their first two years of undergraduate work. It reflects the notion that they can also write about these texts in some fashion." Literate individuals are then those who can work effectively with texts interpreting and synthesizing information gained from reading and applying it to new situations (Clifford 1984 in Pugh 2000). Nevertheless, several authors stress that students of English for academic purposes are weak in these language skills which are essential for academic success (Grabe 1986, Johns 1981, Ostler 1980, Robertson 1983 inGrabe 1988). The purpose of this paper is to discuss ways of fostering the development of strategic reading and integrating it into academic writing in the context of EFL studies at university level. In this context, reading is implicitly understood to develop. Students are given texts to read and expected to transfer their knowledge and skills to new situations. This reflects the commonly held assumption that L1 reading skills transfer automatically from the L1 to the L2, which is true with skilled readers. However, research reveals that this is not the case with poor readers (Grabe & Stoller, 2002). Such students evidence minimal intellectual engagement with the content of the texts they read. Their understanding usually remains too text-based and they minimize the interaction with their background knowledge; as a result, their ability to integrate reading and other skills, especially writing is impaired. As Tierney and Pearson (1994) suggest, they perceive the task of reading to be detached from self and tied to a text. Consequently, they do not integrate information from their background reading texts with their experience: they do not question the assertions in texts or their beliefs, and do not transfer ideas from texts to other situations, i.e., their academic writing in which they resort to copying as the main method of text integration. The motivations for undertaking this topic are twofold. First, I am interested in literacy instruction and firmly believe that it is a powerful tool to succeed in academic and professional contexts. Second, this is, in my view, one of the areas in which students have most difficulties and, therefore, the one they often fail in their exams. Generally, low-performing students evidence lack of reading skills which might stem, among other things, from lack of explicit instruction. This paper aims to tackle that problem. I first explore the nature of reading and factors affecting it. After that, I review early and current models of reading and their pedagogical implications. Next, I refer to ways of integrating reading and writing within the framework of an integrated skills approach. Finally, I propose practical applications to classroom teaching and the design of instructional materials by means of sample activities. I hope the suggestions in this paper can fruitfully inform practice and be used to satisfy students' needs helping them to improve their performance and learn to learn on their own.