Improving Reading Comprehension Skills in ESL Classes through Newspaper Articles

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Improving Reading Comprehension Skills in ESL Classes through Newspaper Articles


ÇAKIR, Abdülhamit


Newspapers offer good chances of reading practice for ESL learners of different proficiency levels.Since newspaper articles are authentic in terms of language they use,experiences they report,and culture they reflect they may attract ESL learners‘ attention with their headlines,content areas,and pictures.On the other hand, they are difficult to handle for exactly the same reasons. To start with, we had beter take a close look into the nature of reading comprehension. Traditionally, in the study of second language comprehension, it has been the text (language to be comprehended)to blame for failures to comprehend not the reader or listener.Failures to comprehend a well-formed text passage have been attributed to some unknown language elements like words and gramatical rules.But today it is believed that it is not the text but the previously acquired knowledge that makes the comprehension possible.Immenual Kant claimed as long ago as 1781 that ‘new information,new concepts,new ideas can have meaning only when they can be related to something the individual already knows‘(Rumelhart:1980). One of the obvious reasons why a reader fails to understand a text is that the schema involved is culturally specific and does not exist for the reader.If the implicit culture content knowledge presupposed by a text interacts with the reader‘s own background knowledge of content, that text is easier to read and understand than rhetorically and syntactically equivalent text based on a less familiar and more distant culture (Anderson: 1979).


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