Listening and Reading are known as the ‘receptive skills' whereby the reader or listener receives information.
Approaches to Reading and Listening
Reading is a ‘receptive skill' that should be done individually, as opposed to reading out aloud. It is however important to remember that students read at different speeds and in
very different ways. When considering a listening activity on the other hand, a tape or CD takes a definite length of time to play through.
There are two approaches to be adopted to the ‘receptive' skills:
1. Reading and Listening for Gist: Here, students read or listen for an overall, general understanding of a particular text, story or tape-script. Students are encouraged to devote less attention to the individual meaning of words and phrases. With regard to reading, this idea is also referred to as skimming. Students may be asked to “speed – read” through a particular text in order to answer a general question such as ‘Is this text about the advantages or disadvantages of CCTV surveillance?”
Students must develop a tolerance for guessing. Give the students time limits in order to ensure that they skim. Listening to an entire tape-script, with the intention of acquiring an overall understanding of what it is about, may be referred to as “extensive listening” or “listening for gist.”
2. Reading and Listening for Specific Information: Here, students read or listen for specific information. Students are encouraged to understand information or specific language items in more detail. With regard to reading, this idea is also referred to as scanning. Students may be asked to read through a particular text in detail in order to answer a specific question such as ‘At what time did the train depart the station?” “Intensive listening” or “listening for detail” is where the students concentrate on a small part of the tape-script in order to understand some subtle points of detail. Moreover, it is important to raise student awareness that it is not essential to understand every word when completing either a reading or listening activity.
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