On professionally-oriented reading

With the development of international cooperation there appeared the necessity to look at the English language as the means to achieve other aims than the language mastering.

The changes in the information age is so drastic now that students address their teachers for helping them is science, economics, computers, business correspondence, etc. So a teacher is the first person to deal with this or that problem making the right choice to achieve the main goal, i.e. to get a good education and become a highly-qualified specialist.

A professionally – oriented reading has forced English teachers to formulate new methods of language teaching connected with other subjects. That is why a professionally – oriented reading should be considered as a special project possessing the following features:

  • it is professionally – oriented;
  • it gives an opportunity to learn a language in a meaningful and communicative way;
  • students have a good language practice in the chosen integrated subject.

Students should be aware of interrelationships between a language study and other subjects like science or economics. [1]

It is known that a foreign language curriculum at University puts forward training of a professionally-oriented reading as one of the most important practical problems.

Since reading is considered to be one of the ways of speech activity, they are called upon to perform; practically a specialist in his work with a foreign literature needs at least three main types of skills:

  • scanning the text to get some general information;
  • reading material fluently for getting some new information;
  • reading full information from the text of special interest.

From the very characteristics of reading types it is clear that a different nature of skills does not necessarily imply mastering all of them.

It should be noted that students must be oriented to achieving their ultimate goal of reading – understanding literature on speciality not only with the help of a dictionary, but mostly without it. [2]

The way to the most effective reading lies, to our mind, through a wider introduction of reading without using a dictionary when reading and understanding occur synchronically.

So, how can a student be taught to read professionally – oriented texts?

While working on original texts under the guidance of a teacher students should master some technique of synthetic reading. From the very beginning of a teaching process it is necessary to develop a sense of language, a language guess, an ability to grasp some general information from the text.

Let’s name some of them actively used in our work.

  1. Recognizing the international words
  2. Translate the following international words without a dictionary paying attention to the roots:

Human, priority, contribution demonstrate, problem, progress, vision, meeting, period, specific, region, principle, cooperation, etc.

  1. Look up the meaning of some italicized words:

Current, measure, substance, pressure, unit, detect, scale, instrument, restrain, resistance, pole, strength, etc.

  1. Let us consider the following elements: Reading the text to yourself;

Looking through the large extracts without using a dictionary;

Grasping the context of the text without translation;

  1. Determining morphological signs of the following words and derivative models:
  2. Name the derivatives and translate them into Russian:

What are the words that are formed by the following derivative words and translate them: Cooler, compression, conventionally, desirable, durability, ignition, performance, powerful, signature.

  1. Fill in the blanks with appropriate words with one root:

Annual – annually, lack – lacks – lacking, accept – acceptable – acceptability, create -creation

– creative, reduce – reduction – reduced.

  1. Understanding the words in a word combination sentences or microtexts based on the context.

Now let’s start working with the text. First of all it is important to know the structure of the text. In a properly-organized text the main idea usually lies in the first paragraph which is followed by an idea development, some additional details and finally its conclusion.

The main way of controlling is not a word for word translation but an ability to speak on the content of the text in a native language. We also practice a written translation of some short extracts from non-adapted texts using a dictionary but it is usually done as technique-translation exercises.

The next step involves reading the selected texts on speciality.

A teaching manual could be built on a thematic basis, which consists of several sections, including additional texts. The selection of material for the teaching manual that pursues practical training objectives is aimed at ensuring simultaneous general and educational objectives. [3]

So, in what way should we choose texts without being translated? First of all, they should be free from grammar rules and unknown words.

According to some experts these texts must not contain more than 5-10% of unknown words. Yet, from grammatical point of view such text cannot be completely «sterilized» as students are given an original non-adapted text. [4]

As far as grammar material is concerned, some rules are used in rare cases. So, the curriculum could be reduced by eliminating the structures and phenomena that can be understood without studying them specifically. E.g., if we know the meaning of «Present Continuous» and «Simple Future» of the verb «to be», «Future Continuous» could be understood without being studied. In other words, there are two layers in grammar:

– Grammar that is subjected to a study and potentionally understandable grammar that cannot be studied.

Using a dictionary does not teach either thinking in a foreign language or its peculiarities even working with a large context. Students treat a word as an isolated unit that leads to various mistakes. While using a synthetic reading students determine functions in a sentence and realize their meanings that contribute to the development of both intuition and logical thinking.

A number of words in the curriculum (2500 units) is quite sufficient for creating a real possibility for reading at the end of a foreign language course that requires a careful organization of the work using a dictionary. So, a potential glossary must be compiled, based on the most frequently used derivative elements and models. We can suggest one of the effective ways to master words and terms.

A student writes a new word on a special card according to the scheme: A word or a word combination – a phrase from the text – the meaning of the word. For mastering the terms you can do the following: on one side of the card there is a term in a foreign language. On the back you can find an explanation of the term as well as an example of the word combination or a sentence from the text.

Depending on the training level the glossary can be presented both in a native or a foreign language.

Thus, by the end of the academic year every student has got his own glossary which could be widely used when reading some new material on speciality. If students start reading a foreign text without a dictionary from their first lessons later when they gain enough experience they will be able to understand these texts without any difficulty.



  1. Robert J. Baumgardner and Andrey E.H. Kennedy Creative classroom activities. Selected articles from English Teaching Forum 1989-1993.
  2. Фоломкинa С.К. Чтение кaк цель обучения. – М., 1987.
  3. Aндронкинa Н.М. Использовaние рaзличных форм и приемов контроля в обучении чтению. – М., 1992.
  4. Greenhall S. Rye D. Reading Cambridge University Press. 2003.
Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2016
City: Almaty
Category: Philology