Monday, May 28, 2018

Reading Eye Movements & The NGSL

Partner Reading Observation

  • How often do they move their eyes?
  • How would you describe their eye movements - smooth, jumpy, flowing, other?
  • What else did you observe?

Reading Processes

    We do NOT read letter by letter but rather by recognizing whole words by sight. To illustrate the point we use this 'fi yuo cna raed tihs' handout. This is why comics are often harder to read for second language learners of English because they are in capital letters giving no tall/tail letter patterns that the mind uses to recognize words.

    There are three basic eye movement processes involved in reading
  • fixations
  • saccadic jumps
  • regressions

    Slower readers have longer fixations, shorter saccades and more regressions. Hence fluency activities aim to decrease the time of fixations, increase the length of saccades to an appropriate level and reduce the number of regressions. Good readers therefore read at 250-300 words per minute. If people are reading faster it is termed 'expeditious reading' which is like skimming or scanning.

The original General Service List of 2000 words was created in 1953 by Michael West and this is used by most graded readers in the development of their level system.
This list includes the list of 300 sight words which cover 50~70% of most texts.
(Dolch Sight Words About   Word Lists)

The New General Service List is an updated version that includes 2818 words. It is a "list of the most important high-frequency words useful for second language learners of English, ones which gives the highest possible coverage of English texts with the fewest words possible."

NGSL Quizlets
50 word blocks here
100 word blocks here
560 word blocks here
  • The most common vocabulary size for foreign test-takers is 4,500 words
  • Foreign test-takers tend to reach over 10,000 words by living abroad
  • Foreign test-takers learn 2.5 new words a day while living in an English-speaking country

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