Discuss some of the most salient approaches to teaching reading in EFL, highlighting students' strengths and weaknesses.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The teaching of reading in EFL is a teaching practice that continues to be revisited over and over thanks to the advent of teaching aids and assistive technology that enhance the process as a whole.

ERPs- Extensive Reading programs in the L2 classroom aim to expose L2 learners to a myriad of resources in print within an in-class library that include magazines, opportunities for research, and for-fun reading. This practice aims to proactively commit the L2 to long term memory by utilizing as many visual and cognitive cues as possible.

Phonemic Awareness-Words are better understood when they are well-known, and immediate to recognize. Enforcing syllabic breakdowns and word chunking as well as sound to symbol relations are practices that have worked for generations. Not just because they are old means that they need to be changed; despite the wonderful gains students make in whole-language or immersion models, phonemic awareness is key for success in reading.

Graphic organizers- Using vocabulary is one thing, but to apply organization to vocabulary recognition is a must for L2. When words are categorized and recognized by their worth and value within the information the L2 learner is prone to make faster and more intrinsic connections that build actual schema. When literature is organized, categorized, and synthesized the author's purpose and style are easier to recognize and, eventually, to compare and contrast.

Collaborative learning- Rather than cooperative learning, collaborative is a system where a small group of students will be assigned a specific role to approach a piece of literature. While one student can be the choral reader, another can draw out key words, while another student works the thesaurus or dictionary to aid with meaning. The teacher helps as the facilitator of the group, suggesting passages and asking key questions for the students to find in the text. This is an excellent process of students who are at different lexile levels.

The only thing that could turn these strategies into hidrances is the teacher. If the teacher is prepared ahead of time, gets rubrics in place, assessments of and for learning, and consistently applies a system in the classroom, these and any other techniques will work. If, on the contrary, the teacher is working "as he goes" and does not prepare learning centers adequately, or has enough resources, these strategies will proof frustrating and negative.