Gobbledygook – 19th April

Today we looked at a piece of writing. We tried to read the text.

  • We identified that we were trying to use phonics to identify the first letters then last.
  • We felt sick/queasy reading this as it took so much concentration and focus – I also found it difficult to concentrate as I could hear other people talking in the background, and I could hear the words I was trying to read. This annoyed me as I wanted to decode the text myself.
  • All mental effort was on decoding and as a result, we didn’t really understand what we were reading, but ‘barking’.
  • The context is important! – Once our schemata was activated, it was easier to try to decode the text.
  • We made guesses from the context – once we know what the text is about, we can use top-down processing.
  • Once we had read some words, it was easier to read them if they were then repeated in the text.
  • We made syntactical guesses – when trying to decode, we made guesses on what we thought would make sense grammatically.
  • Confidence came at a later stage.
  • Recognition of common words when repeated frequently.

It made me appreciate how it must feel for learners if they aren’t able to decode, and highlighted the importance of establishing the right starting point for learner. It was also interesting analysing how our brains decode and make sense of what is read. I am going to add this activity into my YWCR training for volunteers as I think it highlights the different processes involved in reading well. Also, by activating our learner’s prior knowledge, we give them a major heads up. I do this quite naturally in ESOL sessions, but need to make a conscious effort to collect activities to help my literacy learners with this.

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