Questioning the Text:
Supporting Reading Comprehension for EFL Dyslexic Students
Reading comprehension, understanding what the printed words mean as a whole rather than understanding individual language units, is considered fundamental in order to develop second language (L2) literacy. Whilst developing textual understanding can be a demanding task for many L2 learners, it poses extra difficulties to dyslexic students who are challenged by word recognition and therefore might spend too much time and effort in sounding words out. Relevant theory proposes that using prior knowledge can be an important part of reading comprehension instruction for students with dyslexia as they relate the written word to their previous experiences to make reading more personal, helping them to both understand and remember what they have read. The aim of this presentation is to show how dyslexic learners can maximize their textual understanding, formulating their own questions about the text so as to relate the text to their background knowledge and experiences (for example, to identify people’s personality traits, feelings, and motivations). It is also suggested that this practice can help them develop their critical thinking and reasoning, and provide students with further opportunities to continue building background knowledge about the world.
Vasiliki Lismani (BA, MA in Special Education, MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL, CELTA) is an EFL teacher working with dyslexic adolescent students. She is a former TESOL Greece Board Member and currently, one of TESOL Greece SpLDs SIG Coordinators.