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Research on Text Literacy
Best Practices in Text Literacy in Chinese

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Research Supported Best Practices in Literacy Instruction

Text level reading involves lower level processes (involving character and word recognition, and syntactic parsing) and higher level processes (involving comprehension of the meaning of the text and the ability to make inferences about it, including the intended audience, the purpose of the text, the point of view of the author, etc. )  Research indicates that readers who have difficulty with lower level processing will have less processing power to focus on text comprehension.  They necessarily focus on ‘decoding’ the text and are not able to focus on text comprehension.  Research suggests the following best practices in literacy instruction to help learners develop reading skills that lead to text comprehension.

1. Develop automaticity and speed in character recognition.
a. Guide students to notice semantic and phonetic cues within characters as well as the other recurrent parts of characters, and ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ arrangements of recurrent parts within a character, to help them to memorize and recall characters. b. Incorporate timed production and recognition activities.

2. Develop automaticity and speed in identifying structural markers within a sentence, and text cohesion markers within a text.
a. Guide students to use structural markers to distinguish main arguments from descriptions and modifiers, to distinguish main clauses from subordinate clauses. b. Guide students to use text cohesion markers to identify relationships of sequence, cause and effect, conditions, contrast.

3. Develop automaticity and speed in identifying word boundaries.
a. Guide students to use syntactic markers to identify word boundaries. b. Guide students to look for semantic relationships between characters to identify word boundaries. c. Guide students to develop automaticity in the recognition of words that they are previously learned.

4. Provide reading passages in which unfamiliar characters and words constitute no more than 5% of the text.  For students whose reading level falls within the ACTFL novice and intermediate levels, this entails the use of texts modified or authored for learners, rather than the use of authentic texts written for native speakers.

5. Coordinate speaking and reading/writing activities so that there is a large overlap in vocabulary in both types of activities to provide reinforcement of vocabulary through recycling and repetition.

6. Lead students to move from basic comprehension of the text (identifying who, what, when, and where) to drawing inferences from the text (identifying audience, author purpose, author assumptions, level of formality, etc.)