Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

“Untargeted input”: a nonstarter for Chinese

So, here’s the thing with targeting. You know, planning what you’re going to teach before the teaching happens. And having teaching happen, as opposed to just “saying that” and hoping it will stick by the end of the year. Why do I always sound so negative about those “nontargeted” techniques? Surely many teachers are doing […]

Naturalistic comprehensible input: does it work for Chinese?

On a language teachers’ list, the statement was recently made by a teacher interested in the debate about naturalistic CI versus optimized CI: I have some plans to work with some Mandarin teachers to test this [naturalistic input] out.  They have not been trained in CI at all but they are eager learners.  I am […]

Is more support needed to read Chinese?

On a teachers’ email list, the comment was recently posted: I definitely need more than the text to understand even simple Chinese stories. Translation is ONE way of making tests more comprehensible. But I think we need to exploit other ways as well, including gestures, pictures, body movements, etc. Or not. This is a basic […]

Cold Character Reading: Conditions for Success

Cold Character Reading is very simple in theory: get some oral language into the students’ heads, then have them directly jump to reading that same language (but a story or text they have never seen or heard before, not something they already know the meaning of) using a non-phonetic writing system like Chinese characters, or […]

Is your last name Brown, by any chance?

The question was recently asked on a teachers’ group: What do you find is more beneficial for students from your experience? Typing up the class story as it is told and having student read it for step 3 or creating a similar story and have them read it? To answer this, let’s think about what […]

1. Pre-teach the new words with a TPRS story…

But what IS a TPRS story, anyway? Before reading a novel, we want the students to know the language in the novel. Heck, before reading much of anything, we want the students to know the language in the reading. And in TPRS, the way we get the language into the students is (usually called) a […]

10 Myths about Whole Class Reading

Whole Class Reading  (WCR) for the purposes of this post refers to using any modality of reading instruction with the entire class at once, including the various types (yes, plural) of reading instruction detailed in the Reading chapter of TPRS With Chinese Characteristics, which apply (really!) to all languages. 1. Whole Class Reading is boring. […]

Adding Legs to the Snake

There’s a reason there isn’t one of these in every American living room these days. Besides the fact that we’re now looking at DVDs and not VCRs, that is. On a teachers’ list during a discussion of cold character reading, a teacher recently suggested — with great enthusiasm and support — “Maybe when you read you […]

Paper or Digital for acquisition?

What’s the difference? Reading is reading, as long as the brain is making meaning from visual language. What is the line between a billboard and an enormous outdoor LCD screen? A book and an iPad? I think the level of comprehensibility and the transparency of the writing system are more important than the specific medium […]

Accent or Decoding Error?

On a teachers’ mailing list, someone recently commented that some students were reading the Spanish word “hace” (pronounced Ah-say) to rhyme with “face” in English. This error is very interesting to me. In reading Chinese, we don’t have interference from spellings, so we get the pronunciation that is “stored” with the word. Sometimes that can […]

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