Gif Lingua was created to provide simple reading material for both struggling and “reluctant” readers and ELLs (English language learners). There was just a dearth of such material despite research showing that providing strong contextual and textual support (through leveled text, images, audio, tools to support understanding) is key to improving students’ enjoyment and comprehension of reading materials.
Too, reading is a receptive skill that is crucial in language development and productive fluency. We need gas in the tank to go places – reading provides that fuel to get students improving their English language scores quickly.
It really all comes down to simple texts.
Students need texts at the right level with strong pictorial support. Not the typical worksheet or reader that doesn’t offer one or both.
It was great to read about Dr. Paul Nation’s upcoming JALT conference session on “Simplified Texts”. He states;
Simplified texts are commonly used in teaching English as a foreign language but many researchers and teachers are concerned about the validity of using such texts, seeing unsimplified texts as being more
authentic. We’ll examine the reasons for simplifying texts and effects of simplification on the occurrence of vocabulary in the texts. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of simplification and examine the nature of validity as it applies to learners interacting with texts.
We need more cheerleaders espousing and promoting proper reading material in the English language classroom. I highly recommend taking a look at Paul Nation’s textbook of stories “The 4,000 words of English” or the EnglishCentral course of these stories.
Reading DOES provide such a simple way for students to improve their language skills (and knowledge!!!). We have to keep it simple. Providing students with simple texts that engage them mentally and fire their curiosity is the way to this.