A Study on some possible effective pre-Reading
activities to improve reading skills for the 2nd -year
English Majors at the Military Science Academy
In many second or foreign language teaching situations, reading receives a special focus. There are a number of reasons for this. First, many foreign language students often have reading as one of their most important goals. They want to be able to read for information and pleasure, for their career, and for study purposes. In fact, in most EFL situations, the ability to read in a foreign language is all that students ever want to acquire. Second, written texts serve various pedagogical purposes. Extensive exposure to linguistically comprehensible written texts can enhance the process of language acquisition. Good reading texts also provide good models for writing and provide opportunities to introduce new topics, to stimulate discussion and to study language. Reading, then, is a skill which is highly valued by students and teachers alike. In process of teaching and learning English as a foreign language in Vietnam in general, and at the Military Science Academy (MSA) in particular, reading has always been offered a great deal of attention both from the teachers and the students. Like many others universities in Vietnam, English at the MSA is learnt and taught in non-native environment, therefore, reading is not only considered as a means to gain knowledge but also a means by which further study takes place. In other words, learners “read to learn” (Burns, 1988:11). According to Carrel (1981:1), “for many students, reading is by far the most important of the four skills in a second language, particularly in English as a second or foreign language”. This is especially true to the students at the MSA, where learners are mostly future interpreters, translators, or teachers of English in others Military Colleges whose desires are to be able to handle subjects related to written materials in English and to work with their English-speaking colleagues and partners. It is essential for them to acquire the ability to read English effectively and efficiently. However, despite the teachers’ and students’ effort, students still often claim to have a lot of difficulties in reading English textbooks or English materials, and therefore, they sometimes read them inefficiently.
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