Give Your Students an Authentic Reading Experience

Paul Nation Paul Nation

Lynn Bonesteel Lynn Bonesteel

Give Your Students an Authentic Reading Experience

One of the main goals for many learners of English as a second language
is to be able to read what are commonly referred to as authentic texts.
By authentic texts, we refer to texts of all genres that are written
with a native speaker audience in mind. …

These include texts such as novels, academic papers, blogs, websites, textbooks, newspapers, and magazines. Reading such texts is of course a very useful learning

However, research has shown that unassisted reading of such authentic
texts requires a very large vocabulary, approximately 6,000-8,000 word
families (Nation, 2006). Clearly, second and foreign learners of
English will have to do a lot of learning before they can read
authentic texts with ease. The question is: how can we as teachers and
materials developers most effectively assist students in achieving this
quite legitimate goal?

Research on first and second language reading processes makes it clear that in
order to build the skills, vocabulary, and fluency necessary to read
authentic texts, learners must practice reading texts that are written
or adapted to suit their level of language proficiency. Such texts make
reading possible, useful, and pleasurable for even low-level learners
with a very limited vocabulary. As they are written for second rather
than first language learners, these types of texts are sometimes
dismissed by teachers as being “inauthentic.” However, this misses the
point. Such texts, when well-written, are authentic in a far more
important way: they provide learners with an authentic reading

Creating an Authentic Reading Experience Real Reading,
the newest reading and vocabulary series from Pearson Longman, puts
established research-based principles into practice. Request a sample

Read more
Continue reading “Tips for Teaching Reading”  download a PDF copy of this article.

Nation, I. S. P. (2006). “How large a vocabulary is needed for reading
and listening?” Canadian Modern
63(1), 59-82.



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