The Reading method
In the late 1920s, people concerned with education began to realize that few students spoke any foreign language correctly and fluently upon leaving high school or even college. So the educators recommended that reading skill should be given emphasis – both intensive and extensive reading – and that only the grammatical structures found in reading selections should be presented, primarily to ensure recognition. Readers (instead of grammar texts) containing simplified and adapted or original stories were used. If the books selected were interesting and at the appropriate reading level, many students derived a positive feeling of achievement from the reading method. It is interesting to note that the market has recently begun to be flooded again with simplified readers at the 1000-word, 1500-word, and 2000-word levels and higher. In some instances, the words are simple, but the sentences in which they are embedded are quite complex and therefore difficult for students to decode. Thus the reading method appeared, and was used primarily in theUnited StatesandCanada, though developed by the English methodologist(1886-1973) for the mass school in India and described in his book “Learning to Read a Foreign Language”.
The basic principles of this method:
1. Only the grammar useful for reading comprehension is taught.
2. Vocabulary is controlled at first (based on frequency and usefulness) and then expanded.
3. Translation is once more a respectable classroom procedure.
4. Reading comprehension is the only language skill emphasized.
5. The teacher does not need to have good oral proficiency in the target language.