Sunday, 6 February 2011

Part 3 -English language reading provision for EAL Students who are not literate in their first language

Notes on the reading
(1)   The missing words are shown in brackets.
(2)   Repetitions are shown in bold
(3)   Graphophonic miscues are shown in italics
(4)   Syntactic mistakes are underlined.
(5)   Semantic miscues are highlighted.

He repeats some words such as; with (3 times), was in (twice), when Ben came (twice) he (twice), police came (twice) asked question (3 times). Repetitions are shown in bold. Malik is an over cautious reader. He is scared to make mistakes; therefore he repeats the words until he is sure of them. He made syntactic (grammatical) mistakes such as; Ben house, instead of Ben’s house. He also had semantic miscue such as; they ask instead of they told.
His graphophonic miscues are; tall: told, curly: cuddly. After reading tall as told, he corrects himself quickly. This shows that he is reading the text for meaning not just as words. He was able to retain the story and found out that ‘told’ did not fit in, therefore he corrected it immediately. When he was creating his character, Malik did not describe how his hair was. When I asked if Ben had straight or curly hair, he replied “Cuddly hair”. He used his own interlanguage to pronounce this word. During reading he remembered the word and pronounced it the same way.

With learners still developing and changing their English so that it approximates to a desired target, i.e. with ‘true’ E2L learners, the situation is different. Nonetheless miscues attributable to the learner’s interlanguage, like dialect miscues, should not be corrected during the reading lesson.
(‘Learning to Read in a Multicultural Society’ C. Wallace, 1988; Page74)
Although he made some mistakes as well as miscues, Malik had a successful reading session. He was able to read the most of the words without difficulty. He enjoyed his reading because it was a story he created and it made him more sense than any other stories. Malik has a very rich cultural background. He has been to two countries: Ethiopia and Somali. He also experienced a lot of different events throughout his life.
 According to C. Wallace, learner-readers can get the words wrong and yet be effective readers; the nature of the errors tells us that they could only have made such an addition, omission or replacement because they had understood. Conversely learners can get all the words right and yet not be making any sense of the text.

In order to analyze Malik’s comprehension in detail I asked some questions and transcribed his answers below;                     T – Tuba    M- Malik

T: We talked about the story before; you described Ben to me, didn’t you? So can you tell me how Ben looks like?
M: Black, skinny, tall, cuddly hair. (He means ‘curly’)
T: What does he do?
M: He is a fireman.
T: What happens then afterwards? What happens in the story?
M: After that they told him to not to leave his children. He married, wife.
T: Why do they tell him that? What happened?
M: Cause it was serious, matches, seriously, might the baby die.
T: But, but tell me about what happened. Why is it serious? What happened?
M: Those were playing with the matches.
T: Who were playing?  
M: His children
T: His children were playing with matches. And than what happened?
M: Police came, and they stopped the fire. They take off the fire.
T: So when the children played with matches, what happens?
M: The house was fired, and the thingy, Ben came back to his house and he gets shock and called the police and fired like the people make them stop.
M: Them lot called the police as well, and the Ben was, The Police was asking them the questions.
and they  told him not to leave his children at home.
T: OK. And do you think Ben will follow this advice?
M: Yeah…
T: If you were Ben, what would you have done differently?
M: I would change quickly. I would have a wife an all that.
T: So you think that Ben did not have a wife. He only had children.
M: No, Ben had a wife. Ben like children, mum died.
T:OK, so Ben’s wife died.
W: And he is gonna get another wife.
T: But at the moment he is not married to another one.
M: Yeah.
T: So if you were Ben, in the same position. You got kids and you don’t have a wife, what would you have done differently?
M: I would like take them to my work.
T: If they are allowed to, but he works as a fireman. It is a very dangerous job. He can’t actually take them to work, can he?
M: I’d just take them to a cousin or something...
T: So you would ask one of your relatives
M: Yeah, yeah, to take them and let them stay until I come back to work.
T: And what do you think the children should have done?
M: They shouldn’t play with the matches.  
T: They shouldn’t have. How old are the children?
M: 5, 5 and half and 7.
T: How many children?
M: Three.
T: So he has got three children.       
M: Yeah
He is stage two in English Acquisition Stages; developing bilingual. He is able to express himself orally in English quite successfully, but he needs considerable support in writing and reading English. 

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