Reading means different things to different people, for some it is recognizing written words, while for others it is an opportunity to teach pronunciation and practice speaking. However reading always has a purpose. It is something that we do every day, it is an integral part of our daily lives, taken very much for granted and generally assumed to be something that everyone can do. The reason for reading depends very much on the purpose for reading. Reading develops students’ intelligence. It helps to develop their memory, will, imagination. Students become accustomed to working with book, which in its turn facilitates unaided practice in further reading. Reading ability is, therefore, not only of great practical, but educational, and social importance, too. While reading a text students review sounds and letters, vocabulary and grammar, memorize the spelling of words, the meaning of words and word combinations, they also review grammar and, in this way, they perfect their command of the target language.
Reading is considered one of the most important skills that university students of English as Second Language need to acquire. Reading is important not onlinedeveloping language intuition and determining academic success, but also for completing a certain task. Therefore, it is obligatory for students, especially those who study in colleges to have good reading skills. They should acquire such an ability that they can easily handle any reference they need for accomplishing every task given to them. In addition, it is avoidable that they will deal with accomplishing writing academic paper which finally forces them to read various books and references. In short, it is crucial for the students to acquire reading skills. “Identifying reading is often connected with the process of reading itself. The process is the interaction between a reader and a text which is normally silent, internal and private”.It means that there are many things happen during reading. It is about how people interpret the written text in order to acquire knowledge or understand messages. These processes involve three components which are the writer, the text and the reader.
The readers need to draw their predictions, intelligence, and experiences to see the overall purpose of the text and interpret the writers’ intention.So, when the readers deal with a text, they should understand what the letters are, how the letters combine to build a word, and what the meaning of the word combination is, then they can understand the sentence. The last they can call their past experience or background knowledge to help them interpret the meaning of the text. Here, rather than the text is at the heart of reading process, the readers become an active participant in which their background knowledge plays an important role in reading process.Although there have been a number definitions of reading, it is not easy define reading in one sentence. It is an active process between the writer, text and the reader. There are interactions between them during reading. Interaction between the writer and the text is conducted by the writer in which he uses language to produce text that conveys meaning. Then the interaction between a reader and the text happens when the reader tries to make sense of the text to get the writer’s intended meaning through their background knowledge.In the teaching and learning process of reading, learners recycle vocabulary, grammar, and knowledge of discourse markers. The lexical, grammatical, and discourse features that have been known are reinforced and practiced, hence becoming more understood and acquired. By monitoring learners’involvement in reading activities, teachers are also able to assess learners’current perceptive ability of the target language. In addition, by reading English texts, learners can improve their knowledge about the world and add experiences. This is especially true when the texts are authentic materials. What are the authentic materials? “An authentic text, oral or written, is to communicate meaning”. The author emphasizes that authentic text must possess an authentic communicative objectives, as opposed to the purpose of foreign language textbooks, which is to teach language rather than to communicate information. We can safely conclude that authentic materials are produced for real communication and the purpose of such materials is to create the communicative atmosphere rather than to teach language. But we would like to emphasize that it is acceptable to adapt an authentic text, if necessary, to suit the proficiency level of our students. And some researches state that “authentic materials can provide meaningful exposure to language as it is actually used, motivate learners and help them to develop their reading skills and enhance positive attitudes towards the learning of a language”.
Choosing material is a difficult task and teachers must be aware of many aspects before selecting specific material for their students; for example, whether the level is appropriate, the activities meaningful, or the material helpful for the students to reach the stated objectives. However, other important elements are not necessarily represented in textbooks, such as the fact that readings should contain language as it is really used since students will eventually be exposed to authentic texts outside of class. This aspect forms part of the research that has been carried out in which I have analyzed whether theories or information established by experts are present (explicitly or implicitly) in the texts available.
There are two kinds of materials that can be used for teaching Reading: authentic materials and pedagogic materials according to Tomlinson’s theory.As we have mentioned above authentic materials are those which are taken from real life communication, for example: newspapers, magazines, shopping flyers, advertisements, brochures, product wrappings, menus, train schedules, e-mails, announcements, manuals, invitation cards, poems, short stories, novels, journals, reference books, etc. Pedagogic materials are those which are designed for language teaching and learning purposes. Their main characteristics are topical and/or linguistic simplification, modification, and adjustments according to the level and experience of the target learners, such as: text books, students’ work sheets, supplementary readers, abridged novels, graded materials, and teacher-made texts, etc.
Created material refers to textbooks and other texts specially designed for learning purposes. It is designed generally based on the syllabus and provide a systematic coverage of teaching items. The language of created materials has usually been modified and adjusted according to the learning objectives and level of learners and their ability. There are some advantages of using authentic materials in teaching reading in the classroom, they are: original, interesting, motivating and useful. The term original relates to authenticity. Authenticity means that nothing of the original text is changed and also that its presentation and layout are retained. Authentic materials are often regarded as more interesting than the textbook materials because they can be up to date and related to the everyday issues and activities. In the process of teaching reading the use of authentic materials in the classroom can motivate the students because there are three layers of learning that are: language learning, the structure and vocabulary, cultural insight, and have a good chance to make practice. Authentic materials are useful because they help students to break the gap between the language classroom and the real life situation. While reading an authentic text they introduce students to the culture that surrounds them and provide them the opportunities to see where different grammatical structures and types of discourse are used. Along with the advantages, the uses of authentic materials also bring some disadvantages. The grammar and vocabularies in authentic materials may be too difficult for foreign language learners because authentic materials are used for communicating and informing in the society, thus they might use some abbreviations, slang or informal words. Besides, the content of the text sometimes is not appropriate for the students. In order to avoid the disadvantages, the teacher should be selective in choosing the materials before delivering them to the students. Teachers should consider the suitabilityand the readability of the text. Additionally, in teaching and learning process, the teacher guides the students in understanding the text and also in finding the difficult words. To help the students cope with the materials, the difficulties that the students found in the text are discussed together with the whole members of the class. These texts provide a new experience dealing with the language inside the classroom. They are also ideal to practice the micro skills such as skimming and scanning. They also keep students informed about what is happening in the world and give authentic cultural information, so the students have an inherent value. After all, authentic materials have a positive effect on the students’ motivation with the help of improving reading skills. They encourage reading for pleasure because they contain topics of interest to learners.
Reading is one of the important speech activities in language learning. Teaching reading is a matter of improving learners’ communicative skills rather than just transferring knowledge about the contents of the texts. Therefore, the activities in this focal phase should be focused on meaning making processes and made in such a way so that learners authentically use the target language as if they deal with real life activities. To make the reading task authentic and communicative, for instance, learners must have purposes to read, which have been set by teachers. At the same time by being busy with reading, learners can also absorb vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and etc. In teaching reading, the usage of authentic materials has a great importance. Authentic reading materials motivate students’ further reading and give the sense of achievement.