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- 四川大学网络教育2017年招生简章 |
EFL (English as a foreign language) writing is one of the four basic skills of English learning. However, EFL writing, as a highly complex productive activity, has always been a big problem to students in senior high schools. Most of the students may feel perplexed when confronting EFL writing and always get half the result with twice the effort. Luckily, reading-to-writing approach can effectively enlarge the students’ amount of vocabulary, promote their ability in using words and arranging sentences, enrich their writing materials, obtain writing skills and cultivate their sense of English language and composition structures. This thesis, through an analysis of the present situation of English writing in senior high schools and expositions of the nature of and the relationship between reading and writing, aims to prove the necessity and feasibility of reading-to-writing approach and put forward reading-to-writing approach in EFL writing practice. Adopting reading-to-writing approach in our EFL writing practice persistently, we will improve our EFL writing ability effectively.
Key Words EFL reading and writing; reading-to-writing; writing ability; effective approach
Nowadays, communication between different nations and cultures increases dramatically. English, as an international language, is becoming more and more important and is used more and more widely in our daily life. As Liu Ye (刘烨，2006) concludes that English as a foreign language has become a sure access to information of all sorts and an indispensable means of international communication. As a result, English learning fever sweeps through China in those years. Particularly, students in senior high schools are trying every effort to improve their English competence because they know that English is not only a compulsory course in University Entrance Examination but also a tool in future career.
At present, not a few senior high schools have adopted SEFC (Senior English for China) textbook as the teaching material. According to the New English Curriculum Standards for senior high schools, listening, speaking, reading and writing are four basic skills and requirements for the students. Reading and writing are the most important skills for students in senior high schools. Just as Xiong Jie (熊杰，2005) points out that both reading and writing are powerful and highly individual tools for thinking, learning and discovering and both perform the function of communication. Liu Ye (刘烨，2006) also says “with the shift from the ability of manipulating the linguistic structure to the ability of using the language to communicate in writtenspoken forms in English, EFL writing was considered as a tool for people to communicate in a real situation.” That is to say, EFL writing is vital to our individual development. As a matter of fact, EFL (English as a foreign language) writing has been applied more and more in our English study and future career. For instance, we need to write compositions in exams, to communicate or exchange information with our friends whose native language is English, to write applications for work or study abroad, etc..
However, we probably find that our EFL writing ability is not so encouraging and satisfactory though we have learned English for several years in primary and middle schools. Many of us still do a very poor job in applying English to express our ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc. in EFL writing. Some may even not able to produce a single correct sentence in EFL writing. We may share a same feeling that we actually have something to write and want to write, but we just cannot express it correctly and appropriately in English. Yet, most of us tend to treat reading and writing separately and unaware to combine writing with reading to improve our EFL writing ability. In fact, we read a lot of English materials in our English learning and do a nice job in reading comprehension.
To change the poor performance in EFL writing and improve our writing ability, we are highly recommended to integrate writing with reading. Reading-to-writing approach advocates applying what we have learned in the reading materials to write. It can effectively enlarge the amount of vocabulary in the process of reading, provide us ideas and background knowledge for writing, improve our reading speed and quality, broaden our mind and show us how to use words, how to arrange sentences, how to organize compositions and how to achieve coherence and unity in EFL writing. Appling reading-to-writing approach appropriately, we will find that the EFL writing in our examinations is no more than a piece of cake. In this way, we can improve our EFL writing ability effectively and efficiently.
2 The present situation of English writing in senior high schools
In the first place, most of us lack of sufficient EFL writing practice. In English learning, we have realized the importance of reading and paid much attention to improve our English reading comprehension ability, but we usually tend to ignore the training of English writing. Different from English reading, English writing, as a highly complex productive activity, is an activity that requires much more time and energy. So, we usually don’t feel like to write unless we are assigned to do so. Moreover, owing to the limitation of time and heavy learning tasks, a good many of us spare little time on English writing and develop no interest in EFL writing. Thus, it’s hard for us to form a habit of writing in our English learning. Consequently, we usually feel perplexed and confused when confronting EFL writing and do very poor jobs in our English writing. That’s why we are always afraid of EFL writing and get frustration in English writing. What’s worse, we are afraid of EFL writing due to insufficient practice and we don’t like to practice English writing for our fear of EFL writing. This is a vicious circle.
The other situation is that we learn and acquire few writing skills in our classroom English learning. Our teachers seldom teach us writing skills in EFL writing teaching; they usually assign a writing task for us to write after class without any guidance. After class, we often spend hours on it and at last hand in a piece of writing that discouraging both ourselves and the teachers. Besides, our teachers usually give few comments and guidance about writing skills while evaluating our works so that we get little form our EFL writing practices. Without sound English writing skills, it’s difficult or even impossible for us to write a good English composition.
Moreover, we expose to a great amount of English reading materials in our daily English learning. We have at least five English classes every week; besides, we also do a lot of reading exercises and English tests in our English learning. It’s estimated that we may input 300 English words everyday on average.
The last not least, we do not know how to apply the information and language knowledge learned from English reading materials to improve our writing ability though we read a lot. If we don’t apply what we have obtained from the reading materials, we are actually wasting a nice way to improve our EFL writing ability.
Now it’s obviously that we are not only afraid of EFL writing but also don’t know how to write and how to apply what we have obtained from the reading materials to improve our EFL writing ability while we do a lot of English reading. Thus, we usually perform very poor in EFL writing. In a word, the situation of English writing in senior high schools is not so pleasant and satisfactory. However, nowadays, more and more emphasis has been laid on our productive activities. According to the New English Curriculum Standards, senior high schools students are supposed to be able to write a short English composition about 100 words in twenty five minutes to express their ideas clearly without making serious grammatical mistakes. Therefore, an effective approach is urgently required to change our unsatisfactory performance in EFL writing and improve our EFL writing ability.
3 The nature of reading and writing
To illustrate the effectiveness of reading-to-writing approach, we should firstly make clear about what reading is and what writing is. This section attempts to illustrate the nature of reading and writing.
3.1 The nature of reading
We receive a lot of information in our daily life and study; reading is the most usual and effective way to get it. We read all kinds of reading materials, for instance, newspapers, books, journals or magazines, etc. to get information. But we may never think of the nature of reading. It is necessary for us to make clear about the nature of reading, because “if the students fail to understand the nature of reading, they will adopt inappropriate and ineffective reading strategies (王蔷，2000 111)”.
According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (The fourth edition), the term “reading” can mean “the activity or skill of understanding written words”, “books and other things that you can read” or “your way of understanding a particular statement, situation, event, etc.” (Randolph Quirk, 20031363).
While reading, we not only process the information and store the information in our “database”, but also interpret the reading materials based on our prior knowledge and form our opinions about the reading materials. In reading, we attempt to reconstruct what the writer means as well as to use our own knowledge and experiences to sense and to understand what the reading materials present.
From the above, it’s clear that reading is a process of getting and internalizing information as well as “a cognitive task of interpreting the visual information, relating the received information with the reader’s own general knowledge, and reconstructing the meaning that the writer had meant to convey (王蔷，2000 115)”.
3. 2 The nature of writing
“On a day to day basis, we write many things, we write for various reasons, and we write in various ways (王蔷，2000 136),” but few of us have ever thought of what writing really is. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary (Extended fourth edition), the term “writing” can mean “activity or occupation of writing (esp. books)”, “written or printed words”, “style of written material” and “way in which a person forms letters when writing; handwriting” ( AS Hornby, 20021763).
In fact, different people have different opinions about writing. Some regard writing as a matter of putting words in written form; some think that writing is the occupation of creating a text for publication; while some others believe that writing is printed letters for communication; still others conclude that writing is letters or symbols written or imprinted on a surface to represent the sounds or words of a language, etc.. Xiao Fushou (肖福寿，2007 41) offers us a tentative working definition of writing
Writing is the art of putting words together to form sentences andor paragraphs in an active, creative, and recursive process of communication in which the writer uses a conventional graphic system to convey a context-based message to a reader in a grammatical and rhetorical manner.
This is a nice and comparatively comprehensive definition of writing. From the definition we can see that first, the purpose of writing is for communication; second, writing is an art of putting words together; third, writing is an active and creative activity; fourth, the writing is written for readers; fifth, the writing must be grammatically correct and comprehensible to the readers.
As mention above, we can conclude that the nature of writing is that writing is a piece of printed words created by a writer to the readers for effective communication.
4 The relationship between reading and writing
Listening, speaking, reading and writing are closely related and interacted language skills. Judith Oster (1984 ⅸ) puts forward that good reading is an important step towards good writing. Here he has implied the strong relationship between reading and writing. Knowing the relationship between reading and writing, we will easily grasp reading-to-writing approach.
4.1 The difference between reading and writing
Reading and writing are different in nature. We often get an idea that reading and writing are two different language skills because reading is a receptive activity while writing is a productive activity. Chen Liping (陈立平，2001) also thinks that reading and writing are two comparatively independent skills. While reading, we only focus on understanding the printed words written by writers. On the contrary, we must put our ideas into printed words in writing. Reading is actually a process of input, from which the readers obtain and internalize language knowledge. Writing is a process of output, in which the writers present their ideas, thought, and understanding by the language knowledge that they had learned or acquired. In summary, reading is receptive activity- a process of input while writing is productive activity- a process of output.
4.2 The mutual promotion and coexistence of reading and writing
Writing and reading are closely related activities. Xie Weina (谢薇娜，1994) concludes “writing is an act that imitates reading act because writers imitate the process readers do in writing; reading imitates writing act because readers have to figure out the intention of a writer in reading”. From her conclusion, we can see that reading and writing are strongly related.
As a matter of fact, the close relationship between reading and writing and the positive effect of reading to writing have long been recognized. It can be testified by Chinese proverbs “he who reads tremendously owns a gifted pen” and “one will become a poet if heshe has read three hundred Tang poems thoroughly”. Reading has been regarded as an effective way to improve language learning for a long time. Cai Mingde (蔡明得，2003) says that reading is the basis and presupposition of writing. It’s hard or even impossible for us to produce a piece of idiomatic, unity, concise, coherent and content-rich English composition unless we have read a lot of English materials and internalized sound English language knowledge, writing skills, composition structures, etc.. In fact, reading serves as a period of collection and accumulation. In this period, the writers must first read a great deal of English materials and collect relative information (for instance, the usage of words, the ways of arranging sentences, the sentence patterns, the development of paragraphs, the composition structures, etc.) purposefully for EFL writing. Reading is actually a process of input. Xiong Jie (熊杰，2005) points out “without enough input, good output is difficult or impossible”. In sum, writing—output is hard or even impossible without reading—input; and on the other hand, there would be no reading materials without writing.
Through sufficient writing practice, we can improve our reading speed and reading comprehension ability effectively. There is no doubt that a great deal of input (reading) is indispensable for the students in senior high schools. But if we just pay much attention to acquire English language knowledge but do not use it in reality, what we get may be just a set of unconnected language forms. In fact, we are highly praised to do writing and apply what we have obtained from the reading materials. Cai Mingde (蔡明德，2003) concludes that the promotion of writing to reading reflects on the following two aspects first, writing can effectively promote the readers’ internalization of the language skills and thus improve the quality and effects of reading; second, writing can directly reflect the effects of reading and maximize the results of reading activities. Through persistent writing practice, we can develop our awareness of the organization and structure the reading materials, the development of the text, the sentence structures and patterns and the meaning of specific words. That is to say, writing makes reading more effective and efficient.
All in all, reading and writing promote each other mutually and they are coexistent activities. To improve EFL writing ability, we must first develop our reading ability and do more English writing practice. Most importantly, we must persist in combining reading with writing in our EFL writing practice.
5 The necessity and feasibility of reading-to-writing approach
Xiong Jie (熊杰，2005) points out “without being exposed to extensive and effective reading, it would be difficult and even impossible for one to learn to write.” Luckily, we actually read a lot English materials in our English study. We may read textbooks, magazines, short passages in examinations, etc.. That means we can always get access to a certain amount of idiomatic English. From the above, we’ve got an idea that it’s necessary and possible for us to combine reading with writing to improve our EFL writing ability. In the following parts, I will bring forward the definition of reading-to-writing approach and show us the necessity and feasibility of reading-to-writing approach.
5.1 The definition of reading-to-writing approach
When it comes to reading-to-writing approach, firstly we need to know what reading-to-writing approach is. Liu Ye (刘烨，2006) offers us an idea about the definition of reading-to-writing approach.
Reading-to-write is a way paying attention to both language input and output, which means attaching importance to the development of linguistic competence for communication, which regards students as the centre of the class, task as the way, language functions and skills as the purpose.
Reading-to-writing approach in this study is, in essence, a way to integrate reading and writing to improve EFL writing ability. In reading-to-writing approach, reading is not only a way to understand the reading materials but most importantly a way to learn and master the usages of words, the arrangement of sentences, the organization of paragraphs and a way to acquire and accumulate language knowledge, writing materials and writing skills for EFL writing; writing is a means of expressing ourselves by applying what we have obtained from the reading materials.
In general, reading-to-writing approach in this study emphasizes the integration of reading and writing and the importance of forming a habit of reading for writing and writing to promote reading.
5.2 The necessity of reading-to-writing approach
According to our teaching practice in BoBai Middle School, it is found that the main failures in our compositions are broken sentences, wrong spellings, incorrect usage of words, Chinglish, collocation error, voice error, tense error, wrong references, disordered sentence structures, illogical paragraphs, and so on. The following reasons may account for our failures in EFL writing. First, poor amount of active vocabulary. In fact, we have learned a certain amount of vocabulary in primary and middle schools. The amount of vocabulary we have acquired is enough for us to express our ideas, but we just cannot make fully use of them. That is to say, we do not master enough active vocabularies. Second, poor in applying grammar knowledge. As a matter of fact, most of us know a set of grammar rules and usually do a good job in multiple choice of grammar, but we just cannot use them appropriately in EFL writing. Third, poor sense of sentence arrangement and composition structure. We do not know how to arrange the sentences and develop the paragraphs in EFL writing. Fourth, we used to think in Chinese and then translate the Chinese version into English word by word since the interferences of our mother tongue. Thus, what we write are often unidiomatic English and chinglish are often found in our EFL writing. For example, “Pay attention to your body”, “His relation is strong”, “Good good study, day day up”, etc.. Therefore, we have to improve our EFL writing ability comprehensively but not to attach improvement only on grammars, words or writing skills.
There is a saying says “the best way to improve our knowledge of a foreign language is to go and live among its speakers; the next best way is to read extensively in it”. It’s hard or even impossible for us to live among native English speakers; so we have to read extensively to improve our knowledge of English. Here Judith Oster (1984 ⅹⅴ) offers us the importance and functions of reading
Reading puts us in touch with other minds and feelings and experiences. We also experience the ways in which the writers have organized information, chosen words, structured arguments. We can see how well a good writer expresses himself; what makes that writing so effective, what we can learn from it. Reading gives us ideas we may not have imagined, information we may not have had….It may stimulate us to think, to feel, to read, or even to argue against the writer’s view.
Thereby, it’s never too exaggerated to emphasize the importance of reading. Without sufficient English reading, it’s hard or impossible for us to write good English compositions. In fact, we can get what we want in our English reading, including the usage of words, the arrangement of sentences, the patterns of compositions, the organization of compositions, etc..
Nevertheless, most of us don’t know how to use the reading materials we have read even though we read a lot. Traditionally, we tend to treat reading as reading and writing as writing. Mostly, we read just for comprehension or purely for doing multiple choices and answering the questions about the reading materials. Accordingly, “many students eventually get into the habit of reading only for understanding; consequently, they miss many of the ideas implied in a text (刘烨，2006)”. Confronting EFL writing, we often feel perplexed and a sense of mind-emptiness since we write just to finish the “task” in EFL writing practice.
The poor performance of our EFL writing, the importance and functions of reading and our unawareness of applying reading materials in our EFL writing all urge us to put away our traditional EFL writing methods and find out an effective EFL writing approach.
5.3 The feasibility of reading-to-writing approach
We may have our own writing approach, but a good writing approach may lead us to get twice the results with half the effort in improving our EFL writing ability. So it is necessary for us to grasp a suitable and effective EFL writing approach. Now, let’s first probe into the most prevalent ones in senior high schools the product approach and the process approach.
The product approach “pays great attention to the accuracy of the final product but ignores the process, which the students go through to reach the final goal (王蔷，2000 141)”. The product approach is a traditional one, which follows this pattern the teachers give a topic, a set of requirements, and a time limit—the students finish the task within the time limit and hand in the final product—the teachers evaluate the students’ compositions. In fact, we are quite familiar with this pattern because we are always assigned by our teachers to do so. We may get a clear idea of what to write in this approach, but its disadvantages absolutely outweigh its advantages. For one thing, we don’t feel free to write because the given topic will lead us to imitate or translate the given models or guidance. For another, after handing in our work, our teachers mainly evaluate and correct the words, spellings and grammars but give very few comments on content, structures, organization and writing skills. As Wang Qiang (王蔷，2000137) points out that the students’ work is evaluated based on the accuracy of the final product. That means “the process which the students go through while doing the writing task is virtually ignored; that is, the teacher turns a blind eye to how the students produce the product (王蔷，2000137)”. That is to say, the teachers pay little attention to our problems and difficulties in the process of writing and ignore offering guidance in our writing process. Moreover, most of us put our work aside after it’s handed down. We usually don’t take our teachers’ comments and corrections seriously, not to say rewrite our own works. Thus, the product approach does little good to improve our EFL writing ability because it only trains the usages of words and grammar knowledge but not improves our EFL writing ability.
“The process approach does not only pay attention to what students do while they are writing; it also attaches great importance to what the students (and the teacher) do before they start writing and after they finish writing (王蔷，2000142)”. “The process approach puts much emphasis on the students’ writing process and help to discover, analyze and solve problems in the students writing process (刘上扶，199854)”. In process approach, writing is a process of brainstorming, outlining, drafting, sharing, revising and evaluating. In this approach, we can feel free to express ourselves, get guidance from our teachers or peers, experience every detail of writing and broaden our mind. But it still has its drawbacks. First, it costs a lot of time. Applying product approach, we have to collect information, write an outline, write the first draft, share and discuss with our peers, revise our works and then hand in for evaluation. To a senior high schools student who has heavy learning task, we cannot afford so much time to do so. Second, we cannot form a habit of writing in limit time. As we know, all kinds of examinations, which are significant to us, require us to write in a given time.
From the above, we can easily get a conclusion that the product approach and the process approach are not suitable and feasible for us to improve our EFL writing ability.
Reading-to-writing approach is quite different form the product approach and the process approach. In reading-to-writing approach, as mentioned in the definition of reading-to-writing approach, most of the time we may spend on is to write something simultaneously while we are doing our regular reading. Reading-to-writing approach does have sound advantages. First of all, we don’t need to spend a lot of time to do writing exercises specifically because we are actually practicing writings while doing our regular reading. That is to say, reading-to-writing approach does not interfere much about our study as a whole. Secondly, we will easily find out that our self-confidence of writing is developed. “You will see that as you write more and more, your confidence will increase (Judith Oster, 1984 ⅹⅴ)”. Gradually, we will feel that we are confident not only in our English skills but also in expressing our opinions if we apply reading-to-writing approach persistently. Thirdly, we can enlarge our vocabulary, cultivate our sense of sentence structures and composition structures, enrich our writing materials and promote our ability in using words and sentences. Fourthly, we can get a deeper understanding of the reading materials and broaden our mind at the same time. The last but not least, what we write is based on our understanding and experiences of the reading materials, which would arouse our interest in English writing and motivate us to write.
To sum up, reading-to-writing approach can effectively improve our EFL writing ability and ensure us to write easily whenever we want. Hence, there is no doubt that reading-to-writing approach outweighs the product approach and process approach and it is really a suitable and effective one to improving our EFL writing ability.
6 The application of reading-to-writing approach
Most of the studies about reading-to-writing approach advocate applying this approach in classroom English teaching. Commonly, they suggest the teachers to offer the students a piece of reading material and require the students to read the whole material. Then, the students are assigned to write a composition during the class based on their understanding of the reading materials. My study is quite different from theirs. In the following part, I would like to show how to choose good English reading materials and how to apply this approach in our EFL writing practice.
6.1 The selection of good English reading materials
When it comes to reading materials, “great care should be taken regarding materials selection (王蔷，2000 116)”. The selection of reading materials will have a direct effect on our reading efficiency. So it’s necessary for us to know how to select good English reading materials. Here are some principles for selecting good English reading materials.
First, the English reading materials should be accessible. That is to say, we should select the English reading materials according to our own English competence. It is suggested that we are able to understand eighty-percent of the reading materials without any kinds of help. If the reading materials are too difficult, we will get frustration in understanding it and give up reading easily. While the reading materials are too easy, we would get little from it.
Second, the English reading materials should be well-constructed and well-organized. Those reading materials are always written carefully and serve as models of writing. Through the imitation of those writing models, we are actually writing based on the masters’ shoulders and our EFL writing ability would be improved quickly and efficiently.
Third, the English reading materials should be healthy, practical and intelligent. In this way, we will not only get a lot of useful information from the reading materials but also be interested in reading. Being interested in the reading materials, we must have our own interpretation of the materials and we will be easily motivated to write. Besides, this kind of reading materials would exert a gradual and imperceptible influence on our mind and nurture us to be a knowledgeable and noble person.
Fourth, the length of the reading materials should be about 300 words. A fairly long passage is beyond our English reading competence and patience but worse of all a time-consuming job. Reading materials about 300 words not only match the length of the short essays in reading comprehension in English tests but also agree with our reading habit and competence. If the reading materials are too short, it’s not useful for us to learn about the structures and organization of the texts.
Here I would like to recommend some good materials. The essays in our textbooks, the passages in our examinations, the short passages in newspapers and magazines, the short essays written by famous writers and the articles in New Concept English (2) are all fine materials for us to practice reading-to-writing approach. It’s highly recommend that we should share and exchange good reading materials with our peers.
Through an exposure to a great amount of good English reading materials, we will enlarge the amount of vocabulary, learn to use and choose words, enrich our writing materials, internalize a set of English grammars, cultivate our sense of sentence structures and composition structures, obtain writing skills, and be used to thinking in English. In this way, the good reading materials serve as the basis of reading-to-writing approach and will ensure us to apply reading-to-writing approach effectively.
6.2 The principles of applying reading-to-writing approach
6.2.1 Paying equal attention to reading and writing
The study indicates that there is a strong relationship between reading and writing. However, reading is a receptive activity while writing is a productive activity. One who is good at reading does not mean that heshe can do a good job in writing. A case in point is that most of us are good at reading but often afraid of and poor in EFL writing. “Improvement in reading does not necessary lead to the development of writing, and vice versa. (相廷礼，2007)”. Besides, it’s commonly known that reading and writing share almost the same scores in examinations, especially in NMET (National Matriculation English Test). Therefore, we should pay equal attention to both reading and writing. That means we need to rearrange our previous time spending on reading and writing. Supposed that the time for English reading and writing is fixed, we have to distribute more time on EFL writing practice while less time on reading. To keep a balance on reading and writing will maximize the efficiency of EFL writing.
6.2.2 Paying equal attention to intensive reading and extensive reading
Wei Yanfeng (韦岩峰，2004) thinks that the combination of intensive reading and extensive reading is the key to improve reading ability. However, we don’t input sufficient intensive reading as well as extensive reading. We may receive some intensive reading in classroom learning because the teachers incline to analyze the whole text thoroughly, such as the grammar, words, sentences, etc.. That’s not enough because we don’t read intensively ourselves but the teachers instruct us. Without sufficient intensive reading, it’s hard or impossible for us to internalize the usage of words, the arrangement of sentences, the development of paragraphs and the structures of the text.
According to our teaching practice in Bobai Middle School, it is commonly found that the students read few English reading materials except the textbooks. That means we don’t read extensively in our daily English learning. Without inputting enough English reading materials into our “database”, we will find that we are wordless in EFL writing. This accounts for the reason that we usually feel mind-emptiness when confronting EFL writing. Reading extensively would effectively enrich our writing materials and thus improve our EFL writing ability.
In sum, read intensively, we can make fully use of the reading materials we emerged in; read extensively, we can get abundant materials for our EFL writing. We are highly recommended to read a lot of materials and select some of the materials to do intensive reading. In this way, with sound writing skills and rich writing materials, we will find that English writing is no more than a piece of cake to us.
6.3 Ways of adopting reading-to-writing approach
6.3.1 Pre-writing reading
In this stage, which serves as the most important step in reading-to-writing approach, we are expected to do a lot of work for the preparation of EFL writing and we should do so regularly and frequently. At first, we need to read through the whole reading materials as quickly as we can and grasp the general ideas of the reading materials. Next, we should read the reading materials slowly. While reading, we have to analyze the structure, organization and development of the text. Reading in this way can help us be aware of how the text is developed and organized. Furthermore, we need to read the whole reading materials carefully. In this step, we are highly supposed to analyze the usage of the words, guess the unknown words, look up some of the important and unknown words in dictionary and note down the useful words, phrases, expressions, nice sentences as well as good ideas and examples on our notebooks. It’s important and necessary for us to regularly reread or recite the information we have noted down. Then we should find out the topic sentences of each paragraph or summarize each paragraph’s main idea. Finally, we have to write down our own opinions or comments about the reading materials because we must have our own understanding about it. Here it does not mean that we need to do so as we come across every piece of reading materials. We can select two or three passages to do such critical reading every week.
Here are some tips in using the notebooks. We can use one notebook specifically for noting down the useful words, phrases and expressions; another notebook for good ideas and examples and another one for our opinions and comments. Besides, we should form a habit of classifying the good ideas and examples and our comments and opinions in the light of our own habit, for example, according to education, life, study, science, etc..
6.3.2 Writing from reading
In this stage, we should form a habit of writing a composition about 100 words at least once in a week based on the topics from the reading materials that we are interested in. While writing, we should try to use or imitate the information we have noted down from reading, including the structures and organization of the text, word usages, phrases and expressions, sentence patterns, idioms, etc.. This is actually a process of learning form reading and writing from reading. The writing must be finished in a limit time. It’s all right if we can finish a piece of composition about 100 words within twenty-five minutes, which match the time arranged for composition writing in English tests. Writing from reading is a step for the purpose of improving our quick reaction capacity to the reading materials and applying what we have learned directly. Thus, we will gradually form a habit of organizing our mind quickly and get our ideas run fluently on the papers in English if we keep training like this. In this way, we can improve our EFL writing ability effectively.
6.3.3 Post -writing reading and rewriting
After finishing writing, we have to read our composition carefully by ourselves and compare ours with the reading materials. We should check if there are any mistakes or problems in words, sentences, spellings, structures, etc.. Then, we are expected to sincerely request our teachers or peers to evaluate and make comments on our works. At last, we should make clear about the mistakes and correct them in our compositions. Of course, it’s very nice if we can rewrite our works. This step is very significant to the improvement of our EFL writing ability.
While checking and rewriting our compositions, we can consult the following criteria
1) Are our compositions written for definite readers
2) Is there a clear theme in our compositions
3) Are the words, sentences and spellings correct in our compositions
4) Whether our compositions are well-organized and structured
5) Are the examples or details persuasive and relevant to the theme
6) Can our compositions achieve effective communication
Many attempts have been tried to improve the students’ EFL writing ability in senior high schools, like product approach and process approach, but the effectiveness of these approaches are far form satisfactory. Although reading-to-writing approach has been advocated in EFL teaching, the students know little about reading-to-writing approach and unaware of putting this approach into practice. The thesis mainly analyzes the present situation of English writing in senior high schools, expounds the nature of and the relationship between reading and writing to inform the students that writing can be integrated with reading to maximize what they have obtained from reading materials, discusses the necessity and feasibility of reading-to-writing approach to demonstrate that this approach is an appropriate means to improve EFL writing ability and puts forward reading-to-writing approach in EFL writing practice. To sum up, reading-to-writing approach is not only a means to developing the students’ quick reaction capacity, critical thinking ability and the awareness of cooperation, but also an effective one to improving their EFL writing ability.
No approach is perfect in improving the students’ EFL writing ability, because many factors can influence their writing performance. It does have limitations in my study. First, this thesis is only an empirical and theoretical study of reading-to-writing approach. There are no experiment and data to support the effectiveness of this approach in my study. It is suggested that future researchers choose at least 200 students in different areas to conduct researches to show how effective of applying reading-to-writing approach. In this way, with effective and sufficient data, the effectiveness of reading-to-writing would be more persuasive and more findings will be found. Second, the thesis does not take the students’ English competence, individuality, interest, gender into consideration. Further researches are supposed to probe into these aspects and find out the impacts of these aspects on improving students’ EFL writing ability.
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