The benefits of a standard reading exercise, whereby students regularly answer the same set of questions by applying them to a variety of different texts, were first explored by Scott et al. (1984). The Foundational Literacies Advanced Stream curriculum design project at Kanda University decided to experiment with such an exercise, as it is felt that introducing students to a range of different texts can be a useful method of learner empowerment. The research will attempt to understand the cognitive processes the students go through while formulating their answers. In particular, the second section of the SRE is of interest. This section allows students the freedom to create a ‘concept map’ that demonstrates their understanding of the organisation of ideas, the author’s purpose in writing, and the tone of the text. An example framework is given, but learners have total freedom (e.g. digital or paper-based, use of written language or pictures) to write or draw whatever they wish to demonstrate their understanding of the text. The research hopes to look into these choices in more detail. Why do some students follow the example framework, but not others? Why do some students prefer to use pencil and paper, while others make use of iPad technology? Additionally, the research will look into the ‘affordances’ idea: what does use of imagery or language afford the student that the other does not? The paper hopes to be of benefit to anyone teaching reading classes, particularly those who have an interest in Multiliteracies pedagogy.
James Owens, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
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