Iwate JALT met on April 20 to discuss “Supplemental Reading Material for Secondary Textbook Lessons.” Our guest speaker was Peter J. Collins, and he had plenty to say about using and making supplemental reading material to complement high school and junior high school textbooks. He has an extensive background in developing readings for high school students as well as working with textbook makers.
His talk focused on ways English teachers in Japan can move away from the traditional ‘translate and memorize’ method of doing reading assignments, and introduced a new process for which students get a richer background on optional reading assignments through additional readings that are created by JTEs and give more meaning and context to the material the students are trying to learn. Instead of simple grammar and pattern practice, this method challenges the students to comprehend the passages without the weight of previous ‘yakudoku’ learning to hold them back. Additional supplemental readings can be adjusted for the skill level of each classroom.
While the talk was designed for teachers and ALTs who work with high school and junior high school students, the information could also be useful for those who teach college and private lessons as well. The meeting had participants from all walks of English education, from private teachers to university lecturers.
We want to thank Peter for taking the time out of his busy schedule and sharing his research with us.
Reported by Jason Hill
All photography ©2014 Jason Hill