Literacy Skills Development Series—

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Literacy Skills Development Series—

Promoting Reading across the Curriculum in the Primary English Classroom

Dr Simon Chan

The University of Hong Kong ssychan@hku.hk

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Rundown of the workshop

Registration

Part 1 – Introduction to RaC

Part 2 – Cross-subject collaboration

Part 3 – (Demonstrations on) effective strategies to develop

students’ reading skills for more in-depth processing of the texts

Part 4 – Hands-on activity Q&A

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Rundown of the workshop

• Reading across the Curriculum (RaC)—What is it and why is it relevant to us as English

Teachers?

• RaC with the use of

– English textbook texts (Exemplar 1) – authentic texts (Exemplar 2)

– real books (Hands-on task)

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Part 1 : Introduction to RaC

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RaC and its relevance to ELT

Reading across the Curriculum (RaC)—What is it and why is it relevant to us as English Teachers?

Dual goals:

• To broaden students’ knowledge base, help them connect their learning experiences and provide

opportunities for integrating and applying knowledge and skills developed in different KLAs/subjects (ELE KLA CG, CDC, 2017, p.9)

• To provide opportunities for students to develop a wide range of reading skills, extend learning of the

content and connect their learning experiences across KLAs (ELE KLACG, CDC, 2017, p. 47)

• c.f. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

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RaC and its relevance to ELT

In implementing RaC, teachers of the English Language Education KLA are encouraged to:

• identify reading materials in both print and non-print

forms with suitable entry points (e.g. themes, text types, language features and vocabulary) for connecting students’

learning experiences in different KLAs;

• help students develop the reading skills and strategies

necessary for understanding and analysing language use in English texts written for general or academic purposes (e.g.

text structures, rhetorical functions and vocabulary);

(ELE KLACG, CDC, 2017, p.61) 6

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RaC and its relevance to ELT

• design reading activities that reinforce students’ ability to integrate the knowledge, skills and learning experiences gained in different KLAs; and

• collaborate with teachers of other KLAs to develop learning activities that provide students with opportunities to

consolidate the knowledge and skills acquired across KLAs, and develop the essential attributes that go beyond

individual subjects or KLAs such as humanistic qualities and entrepreneurial spirit.

(ELE KLACG, CDC, 2017, p.61)

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Part 2 : Cross-subject collaboration

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Are there any common concepts or skills targeted across these subjects?

Chinese Language

Visual

Arts Mathematics

General Studies

English

Language Music

Physical

Education Others?

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Some common concepts or skills between English Language and other subjects for RaC activities:

• Healthy Eating in English Language and

Growth and Health in General Studies; and

• Making Things in English Language and Art Making in Visual Arts

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Possible modes of cross-subject

collaboration with teachers of other KLAs:

• Curriculum mapping, designing and carrying out the cross-curricular learning activities or project work together;

• Teaching the same theme/topic at around the same time;

• Seeking advice on the choice and

appropriateness of reading materials and the schedule of teaching a certain topic;

• Possible collaboration with the school

librarian, e.g. book purchase and book display.

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Points to note:

• It is important to

– expose students to a variety of text types (e.g. on p.

A14, 2017 ELE KLACG)

https://www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/curriculum-development/kla/eng- edu/Curriculum%20Document/ELE%20KLACG_2017.pdf

– develop students’ awareness of text types, their

purposes and characteristics, text features (format &

layout) and organisation of information (rhetorical structures)

• Sources of reading materials (print/ non-print), e.g.

– Theme-based Reading - Suggested Book Lists

https://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/4-key- tasks/reading-to-learn/contribution-of-book-titles/index.html

– Book Lists for RaC https://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-

development/kla/eng-edu/references-resources/RaC/RaCBooklists.html

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Example 1 of RaC across subjects

Let’s examine an example of connecting students’ learning experiences in English Language and General Studies:

• Topic: Healthy Eating

• Input:

– Knowledge and skills learnt from English Language – a leaflet – Knowledge and skills learnt from General Studies – healthy diet,

food labels

– Relevant books are recommended for students’ extensive reading

Task:

• Can you brainstorm another cross-curricular RaC learning activity? What can be a possible topic? Involving which subjects? What are the (types of) texts involved?

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Example 2 of RaC across subjects

• Topic: Making things

• Input:

– Knowledge and skills learnt from English Language – a newsletter

– Knowledge and skills learnt from Visual Arts – creating a piece of art work

– Relevant books are recommended for students’

extensive reading.

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Part 3 : (Demonstrations on) effective strategies to develop students’

reading skills for more in-depth processing of the texts

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What are those skills?

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The lists of language skills and language

development

strategies for KS1-4 are provided in

Appendix 5.

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Reading Skills for KS1 and KS2

1. Understand the basic conventions of written English

KS1 KS2

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KS1 KS2 2. Construct meaning from texts

Reading Skills for KS1 and KS2

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KS1 KS2 2. Construct meaning from texts

Reading Skills for KS1 and KS2

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KS1 KS2 3. Locate information and ideas

Reading Skills for KS1 and KS2

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Exemplar 1: RaC with the use of English textbook texts

Sample Teaching Unit on RaC/WaC based on an English textbook text

• Level: Primary 5

• Theme / Topic: Healthy Eating

• Lessons allocated: 8-10 lessons

• Text type: Leaflet

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Strategic and complementary use of textbook texts for RaC

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Goal:

• Setting and achieving aims of the GE Programme and Reading Workshops for the school-based English

Language curriculum to ensure the development of students’ literacy and critical thinking skills

Means:

• By setting reading tasks based on the appropriate

skills for KS1/KS2 as listed in the curriculum guide for the target learners, thereby developing their literacy and thinking skills through accomplishing those tasks

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What do you think about the table-filling task that comes with the textbook text? Discuss the task

with your partner.

Further questions could be set to develop

students’ reading skills and strategies necessary for processing the text in a more in-depth way.

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Step 1 (Pre-reading):

“Firing up” the chosen textbook text for the

target students, i.e. identifying the topic and the genre (features) of the text, activating their

schemata for the while-reading stage

Strategic and complementary use of textbook texts for RaC

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Pre-reading 26

Have a quick look at the text for 5 seconds.

What kind of text is it?

What make(s) you think so?

Reading skills targeted:

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What is the topic of this text?

How do you know?

There are two main parts in this text.

What are they?

Can you guess what is being discussed in the text, based on these hints?

Now read this special version of the text.

Reading skills targeted:

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Let’s look at the pictures and the words in the

“Word building” section.

Do you know all of them? Circle them as they appear in the text as quickly as you can.

Raise your hand once you finish.

Reading skills targeted:

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Step 2 (While-reading):

Setting reading tasks using textbook information texts with reference to the 2017 ELE KLACG and the English Language Curriculum Guide (P1-P6) (CDC, 2004) and guiding students to accomplish such tasks through purposeful questioning and feedback

Strategic and complementary use of textbook texts for RaC

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While-reading 30

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1. Read lines 4-10. Which of the following is/are TRUE? Change the FALSE one(s) to make

it/them become true.

• David eats fewer snacks than Jenny.

• David does not add any sugar in his drinks.

• David eats the same amount of fruit as Jenny.

• Jenny should eat less sweet food.

• Jenny should eat more vegetables.

• Jenny should drink fewer soft drinks.

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What reading skills can we target through the previous item? How can we guide the students to

reach the correct answers?

(Refer to the reading skills for KS2 in ELE KLACG)

• scan a text to locate specific information by using strategies such as looking at

headings and repeated phrases [Key phrases to look for?]

• fewer, more, less, too much, enough, etc.

• identify details that support the gist or main ideas [What’s the main idea?]

• Sub-heading and thesis statement:

Whose lunch is healthier?

Text grammar achieved

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2. To avoid getting fat, we should not eat too many/too much…

A. noodles and vegetables B. meat and sugar

C. milk and cheese D. fish and bread

Reading skills targeted:

• understand the connection between ideas [Any clues for connecting meat and sugar?]

• The repeated phrase “…make you fat”

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3. What does ‘two plus three’ (line 26) refer to? What does it mean to ‘remember two plus three’?

Reading skills targeted:

• read written language in meaningful chunks

• work out the meaning of an unknown word or

expression by using visual clues, context and knowledge of the world [What clues are there to guess the

meaning of the phrase?]

• understand intention, attitudes and feelings conveyed in a text by recognising features such as the choice and use of language [What does the writer want to do with the use of the expression? Look at the second part of the sentence “… and you will become healthy”] 34

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4. Why does the writer present the different food in the form of the ‘food pyramid’?

Reading skills targeted:

• skim a text to obtain a general impression and the gist or main ideas [Which section to be

skimmed?]

• identify details that support the gist or main ideas [What details can we use to infer?]

• work out the meaning of an unknown word or expression by using visual clues, context and

knowledge of the world [Any features of the text can help us here? E.g. pictures?] 35

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5. The heading of the text ‘Eat smart, eat healthy’

suggests that the text mainly talks about…

A. eating delicious food B. looking smart

C. doing healthy exercises D. choosing the right food

Reading skills targeted:

• skim a text to obtain a general impression and the gist or main ideas [Any clues for skimming through the text quickly?]

• recognise the format and language features of a variety of text types [How about the sub-headings and

pictures typically found in the leaflet text type?]

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Step 3 (Post-reading):

Engaging the students with a new task in which they recycle their understanding of the content of the textbook text as well as the grammar and vocabulary items they have noticed/the teacher has highlighted during the reading process

RaC across subjects (Example 1 of Part 2 above)

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RaC and Reading to write

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An extension to the reading task:

Goal:

• Setting and achieving aims of the writing component of the GE Programme for the school-based English Language curriculum to ensure the development of students’ literacy skills, critical thinking and creativity Means:

• Strategic and complementary use of authentic information texts with reference to students’

learning needs and interests

• Integrating content and language from various

sources of input, using graphic organisers to gather, brainstorm and organise information

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Task: You are working in small groups to make some recommendations on some healthy snacks to be sold at the

school’s tuck shop. Read the ‘food labels’ of some snacks and decide which to recommend based on their

health value.

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“Reading

some food labels”

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From Reading to Writing:

Which is healthy/ier?

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Writing some

suggestions for a healthy diet

A Graphic Organiser

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“Making suggestions” (oral practice of suggestions written)

- To David? For Ourselves?

For our Class/Schoolmates?

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I should eat less

chocolate because it contains a lot of sugar.

We should eat oatmeal because it contains a lot of dietary fibre.

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Tips for developing reading to write tasks:

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• Teachers can use questioning, feedback and graphic organisers to help students process and write information texts.

– Reading different information texts as “input”:

• “Eat Smart, Eat Healthy”

• Different food labels

– Asking them questions to better understand the

“content” of the information texts

– Using graphic organisers to draft / organise ideas for the writing task

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Tips for developing reading to write tasks

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• It is important to show students how to use

appropriate formats, conventions and language features in writing information texts

– Writing task: Give suggestions to your friends on buying healthier snacks (chocolate, instant oatmeal, sweet corn).

• Language features:

– The tuck shop should sell ________________. / You should eat ____________.

– You need ___________________.

– More advanced structure: You’d better buy / should eat / need _______________________because ______________________.

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Food for thoughts:

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• How can we plan an RaC teaching unit with textbook texts and theme-related information texts in the GE programme and Reading Workshops?

– Material selection

• How can we make good use of the texts to set meaningful reading and writing tasks, i.e. using reading as input for writing?

– Material adaptation

• The end products for RaC activities could be diversified as long as they provide opportunity for students to recycle what they have learnt across KLAs, i.e. apart from writing tasks, the products could be oral presentations,

production of multimodal texts, projects, performance tasks (e.g. dramas and role-play) and so on.

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An Overview of ‘Genre and Purpose’

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Text / Activity Text-type Purpose

“Healthy Lunch”

food labels

“Making suggestions”

leaflet

(information report)

to give information

labels

(information report / description)

to give information about food

suggestion to suggest / advise

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Selecting textbook materials for RaC

• The topic “healthy diet / lifestyle” is a very popular topic among primary schools /

teachers.

• It offers an entry point for integrating reading activities into the school-based curriculum as well as other KLAs.

• There is a range of extra resources / materials / aids available under this theme.

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Adapting textbook materials for RaC

• The text is chosen not just for its teaching value.

It can demonstrate how some “far-from-perfect”

materials can be adapted for use in the classroom using an RaC approach.

• Many of the available textbooks contain examples of

narratives. Although narratives are common and can be used as a good starting point, students also need to

broaden their exposure to non-fiction texts.

• By including RaC texts and activities, teachers can provide their students with a more balanced ‘language diet’.

• This also allows English teachers to start with something we are (more) familiar with / have to teach and cover, while still engaging students in reading across text-types

and topics. 49

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Exemplar 2: RaC with the use of authentic (-like) texts (Example 2 of Part 2 above)

Sample Teaching Unit on RaC based on an authentic(-like) text

• Level: Primary 5/6

• Theme / Topic: Fun things to make

• Lessons allocated: 2-3 lessons

• Text type: Procedural texts

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Let’s do things differently this time…

• I’m not going to demonstrate the whole

teaching unit to you, but would engage you in some awareness-raising activities instead,

through which you’ll get some ideas for planning your own RaC teaching units.

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Let’s take a reading challenge first!

I’m going to show you a text for THREE SECONDS ONLY! Try to read as much of it as you can and see if you can identify the topic and genre of the text.

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• What type of text is it?

• What is its topic?

• How did we identify the above in such a short time?

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• Now read Version 2 of the text (on the handout).

• Is it the same as or different from the previous one?

• If you are to suggest one of the two versions for your KS2 learners to read, which one would you pick? Why?

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• Now let’s watch a final version.

• Which of the three versions would you use to build an RaC activity? Why? What kind(s) of activity is it?

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Food for thoughts:

Adopting and adapting authentic texts for RaC:

- Use of multimodal texts to allow the students to sense the meanings of the text from different channels

- Integration of texts so that the texts themselves scaffold each other

- Building explicit links between grammar and vocabulary patterns and the meaning functions they serve in

various common RaC genres, i.e. genre-based pedagogy

Discussion:

How does the reading text connect the GE programme with the other subjects?

What can be a cross-curricular learning activity following

the reading stage? 56

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A systematic framework for guiding reading and writing texts:

The “Genre Egg” Model (adapted from Rose, 2012)

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Genre-Based Pedagogy

What is it and how is it related to RaC?

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Part 4 : Hands-on activity

Application Time

Time to apply what we’ve learnt…

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Hands-on Task: RaC with the use of real books

1. Get ourselves into groups of 3-4.

2. Design an RaC unit based on the real book assigned to the group, using the suggested template. Make sure there are connections with another subject/KLA (10-15 min).

3. Share our ideas with the fellow groups (5-10 min).

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A wrap up

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• Learning and teaching is a dynamic, organic

process. There is no “quick-fix”, or any SINGLE best way.

• However, there are a few principles that we can apply when we select appropriate reading materials to illustrate how RaC tasks can be

designed.

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A few principles for you to consider…

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• That the reading materials are available to local schools (e.g. texts from local textbooks and readers, or materials from the Internet)

• That the themes / topics of the reading materials can be linked to the other

subjects/KLAs

• That the reading materials can be easily

adapted, and appropriate tasks and activities can be designed accordingly.

No one knows your students better than you do!

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What we have discussed in the workshop

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• Principles of RaC—emphasis on content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and identifying common communicative functions and language patterns in addition to text types

• Selection of texts for building RaC tasks, recommendation of

sources of texts, and multimodal resources, e.g. readers for young learners with authentic information texts such as posters

• Incorporation of RaC texts in the General English curriculum, with specific foci on the development of reading skills as well as

grammatical and lexical awareness

• Connecting primary students’ learning experiences, within and outside English lessons

• Designing language tasks (e.g. reading, reading to write) based on RaC texts

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