Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Recommending a reading resource site

Hi all

As I promised Mark, I am working on a lesson about reading technical material. I also have another handout on reading, vocabulary in context, that is almost ready to post.

In the meantime, here is wonderful reading resource site that I found whil preparing the lesson on technical reading: WiLEARNS, short for Wisconsin Literacy Education And Reading Network Source. Check it out and let me know what you think.

So much to cover! Maybe too much? If it's too much, just pick what you need most and focus on that. You each have different learning needs and goals. I try to post materials for all that I can. (That reminds me, Rajeev promised me a precis that I am still waiting for ;)

And here's a BBC article. "Reading 'can bring social change,'" on the importance of reading.


  1. Hi Ms. Vanessa,

    I have gone through the BBC's Article regarding "Reading can bring social change" and am fully agree with the site that reading can bring change the social status etc. It really makes a difference if we know the different words, their usages etc. and this can easily come through reading different books, etc.

    I think the best way to improve vocabulary is to read one daily newspaper in English. In India we have so many newspapers like The Hindustan Times, The Times of India etc.



  2. Rajeev

    The WiLEARNS is the site I especially asked you to look st. The BBC article was an afterthought. Besides, your comment said absolutely nothing about how or why "reading can bring social change." I though you might be headed that way when you started telling us about the many daily inewspapers in English that are available to Indian readers. How do increased vocabulary and lexical skills bring about social change?

  3. Dear Ms.Vanessa!

    I think that very important to give to children the interest to books in their childhood.
    Those researches are making time to time and are come to same conclusion: the children from not rich families much quick achieve higher scores in knowledge.
    In our time, when PC replaced the books and all games that we have been played in our childhood, this is very important. Quantity of books in home is reducing now.
    The children are sitting more and more time in front of TV. It's disturbs a normal
    perception the skills of reading.


  4. Hello teacher Vanessa

    This is my comment: It´s true "reading can bring us social change" OF COURSE, I think we all know that! reading more give us more knowledge, more domain and more opportunities. Give us the change to improve our social change in the way we are more experts, may be in a special carrer with which we can offer to any body more about us, I mean to help them, ...work with them, study, and advise them, etc, etc,

    I´m not sure if my point of view, my comment can be understood.

    Thank you, for your attention

    Jorge Hdez

  5. Ms. Vanessa, Hi,

    Reading can bring social change in many ways like as we all know that literature is the mirror of society. Whatever happens in any particular moment of time usually gets reflected in the literature of that time. The writers can play a major role in that. Like some centries back, Indian writers used to write mostly about religious philosophy etc. because at that time the class of Priests (Brahmins) strongly opposed the idea of new thinking.

    It was later after the advent of Britishers in 1600 AD and more particularly after the establishment of British empire in India in 1757 (Battle of Plassey), the Britishers with the help of various social reformers like Dada Bhai Phule, Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc. tried to eradicate so many social evils plaguing Indian society like Sati System (burning of widows on the pyre of her husband after the death of her husband).

    It was only because of the literature that modern thinking emerged amongst the various social reformers. The students read the various newspapers, books, pamphalets etc. and influenced the thinking of sleeping Indian masses and the result was a modern India.

    Indian rulers neglected the importance of literature and the power of reading literature that they did not spend even Rs. 500/- for purchaing printing presses.

    The increased vocabulary and lexical skills can also bring about social change because if we know the correct words to express ourselves completely, we can easily convince the masses, public and authorities. But, if we don't know the appropriate words, it can create havoc by creating wrong impression on the minds of public. So, having a good command over vocabulary and the capability to use that vocabulary in various conditions is also essential.



  6. Hi All,

    I read the artical about reading at BBC site. Reading is very important thing in our lifetime. There is no doubt. But, today we leave very fast an we dont have enough time to read so many beatiful books. I think that the most time we only collect information through TV and Internet. Ofcourse, we can and must find time for reading books, articles, newspapers, etc.

    On the site WiLEARNS I finded interesting link about how many words knows average person depends on ages. You can read this on link
    Introduction to Vocabulary.



  7. Hi, Teacher Vanessa,

    I love the website: WiLEARNS. It is very useful. It provides a lot of articles about children's language an reading development, and it also provides many great materials for English learners to study and practice.

  8. Ginyin

    I was just thinking that since some of you have young children and childhood development and parenting are on our topic list, I should develop and post materials on English learning children.

    Besides, learning game sites like GameAquarium, FunBrain, and Grammar Gorillas are perfect for adult beginners and fun for all ages.

  9. Hello, Ms. Vanessa,

    I would like to say something more about "Reading can bring social change", as I said before when we got more knowledge and culture by reading and sharing what we learned; we grow and improve ourselves...

    BUT I was thinking about cubanians, they got high level of scholarship and even share their achievements whith other latinoamerican countries, as they do whith medicine, and whith developing sports at high level and...
    WHAT ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL CHANGE, on the other hand here in El Salvador, and I do know about close countries the youth study at university and at final they can´t find a work not of they studied it but of other any thing... WHAT ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL CHANGE, it grieves me to know this things and I know children are growing up and soon they will realize this awfull truth.

    I´ll follow reading, in english of course but...

    Jorge Hdez

  10. Dear Vanessa!

    I made used of your recommendation for site "Wisconsin Literacy Education and Reading Network Source" and I think this site very helpful for people who will wish to read and comprehend nonfiction. There are very good recommendations for improving reading skills and how rightly to read the technical texts. I not explored this site to the last but I'm hoping there are some good links for practical technical reading.


  11. Hi, joyelgar,

    You seem very fustrated. It seems to me that your people are walking into the same path like cunanians do. I tried to understand why, but I couldn't get the answer from your writing. You mentioned that the achievements cubanians have, and keep asking WHAT ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL CHANGD. Can you explain more, so I can realize what your point was. Thank you.

  12. Hi, Jorge,

    It's Ginyin again. Sorry for not calling your name correctly. Please forgive my careless mistake. I will not make such mistake agian.


  13. Hi, Ginyin

    You are in the correct thing, when I decided to add something about the benefits of the reading for the social change I was frustrated really but for the Cubans, many of them escape from the island toward USA, lately I find out for the news that some medical Cubans requested asylum to colombia or another country of south américa. I admire the Cubans that many of them under Castro's régime prefer not to eat to bend their arm before USA and to continue with their socialist revolution but I fell frustrated by their current situation, there is that I referred.

    I do not know if we take the same road as you say, neither I want to know opinions of the Salvadoreans abroad, because their situation is serious, they are not going for a walk but escaping, I still believe that it is this way with the salvadorena soldiers that support EEUU forces in Irak, I thing many of them; what really do is escape to Iraq, they already know why are they going for and they make it.

    I find it at the end that the social change is determined by the "reality" imposed by the dominant economic forces in the world, and well if we fight against that doing our work, gettin more Knoledge with the reading I realize this is a great fight, and finally we must make it and that puts me bad.

    I wait to have explained my comment a little, later I was sorry about to made it, ( my comment) but it was already written.

    Jorge Hdez

  14. Jorge

    I find your comments a bit confusing and hard to follow. Your meaning is not always clear.

    Knowledge can lead to social does not guarantee it. Consider, however, the alternative. Knowledge is tool - how used depends on us.

    Bear in mind too that social change rarely if ever universally welcomed by everyone.

  15. Hi all.
    “Reading can bring social change” It’s true.
    Everybody in this class as I saw agree with this.
    I believe that the most of the students that their parents have a lowest occupational status, achieve higher average reading scores as the author says. These students known that have to try hard for their life. Many things for them aren’t easy. And they know it. They have values and guts to find for the better life.

    The children from the beginning of their life have to cope with the books. This is a burden for the parents. We have to show to our children how to love the books and to teach them how important is to reading.

  16. Ms Vanessa and all of you my friends.
    I read the comments that you have sent so far in this blog. I’m steel reading. First of all I am gland we are all a team. Second I like the way that we are working. I mean to read some articles and then to tell our opinions. We are working the same way at school in Greece and the name of these lessons is ‘composition or essay”. We read an article and then we have to answer some questions that the teacher give us like: what are the author’s thoughts, which is the author’s point….. To answers to this questions we have to read enough generally at the past to catch the point.
    I think it’s useful to learn new things every day with this way. Thereby we keep our mind open

  17. Mata

    I try to come up with some questions to "prime the pump," but mostly I'd like to all of you coming up with and sharing questions.

    We should also read essays and articles critically - always evaluating credibility, bias, and accuracy.

  18. Ms. Vanessa,

    You haven't commented on my ideas on this page. Was I in the wrong?



  19. Rajeev

    Why do you see your ideas (opinions) as a matter of right or wrong? If you are "right," does that always make different ideas wrong?

    Sorry but I don't always have time to comment on every single post. It would not be fair to the rest of the class if I commented on everyone of your opinions and not do the same for them.

    Besides, doesn't your question miss the point of the blog? What does the other contributors thing of your and why?

    Good vocabulary without judgement, critical thinking, or the ability to evaluate texts is useless. Reading as an agent of social change is only part of a very complex situation. It is also very interesting to note the parallels here between Indian and European history.

  20. Hello
    Teacher Vanessa,

    I went to WiLEARNS, site I found it very helpful not only for me but also for my daughter specially phonics. I learned several things that I did not know before like ‘Running Record Assessment’ that really helped me to prepare my kid that way. They have lot of program for adults as well.

    I would like to write something about ‘Reading can bring social change’ like others I also agree with this. First of all, reading is one of the most crucial part of the learning. It will help to enhance the vocabulary the more we have vocabulary more things can be easy to understand.
    Regarding social change, in our country still illiteracy and proverty is the major obstacle for development there it will be a luxary thinking about other media of knowledge except reading. The people who were not able to go to school in their childhood our government started “Adult Education” for them, and the result is they can only read and write they do not have any specific degree. Age is not a factor of learning. By reading ‘News Paper’ they can know what is happening in rest of the world. News Paper always has been taken a great part for changing our society. News paper and reading is like two side of a string. Reading story book is not that common in our country but everybody wants to read news paper. Now villagers have been starting their home based work (especially ladies) . Reading is not always for entartainment it gives knowledge. The knowledge our villagers acquired from reading different useful things what they wanted to know.
    If this is a change then this change is happening in our villages.

  21. Hi Ms. Vanessa,

    I accept your viewpoint. How come you have so clarity of thoughts on each and every subject? It is amazing. I try my level best to make opinion on any subject/topic but often get confused and conveys the meaning that I don't want to. I don't know where the problem lies?

    Anyways, thanks. I think I will have to do some more introspection.



  22. Hello all,

    I am pleased to see and read so much intelligent and interesting discussion about reading - both how to /techniques (strategies/ resources) and outcomes - e.g. reading as an agent of social change. This is not a debate in which winners will be declared. We are all winners in the exchange of ideas.

    On the topic of reading and social change, historians agree (not something that happens all that often) that Gutenberg's invention of the printing press revolutionized the western world and led directly to the Reformation. Rajeev already pointed out reading's role in the development of Indian democracy and independence.

    Unfortunately, alhough knowing how to read and having access to reading materials is crucial, the quest does not end there. As a teacher, I see all too much reluctance to read carefully and also misreading, sometimes even willful.

    You've heard that expression - "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Well, you can teach reading and lead readers to books, newspapers, written ideas, and so on, but you can't make them think.

    The rest takes place in the mind, intellect, and will.

    PS Rajeev - I am older, have more degrees, and have been doing it longer, so why shouldn't ahe, practice, and experience count for something?


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