A Structured Approach to Form-focused Instruction for Reading Comprehension in EAP
The Case of Complex Noun Phrases
Keywords:English for Academic Purposes, Reading comprehension, Form-focused instruction, Complex Noun Phrases, syntax
Complex noun phrases (CNP) are a major vehicle of academic written discourse (Halliday, 1988/2004). However, despite the view that they pose significant challenges to English language learners, they are rarely taught in college-based English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs, especially for the purposes of improving reading comprehension. This article presents a teaching intervention that integrates explanations on and practice with the structure and use of these types of CNP in an EAP program at a large Canadian college. This specially designed teaching intervention was integrated within a standard curriculum in a non-credit preparatory EAP Reading course. Drawing on the research that has identified elements of syntactic parsing ability instrumental in successful processing and interpretation of CNP, this article describes the reading strategies taught in this intervention and reports on student feedback. It concludes with a discussion on potential improvements to the learning tasks.
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