Last Saturday our Teachers' Association in Tucuman (APIT) organized a seminar conducted by Claudia Ferradas who has a vast experience as lecturer, presenter and scholar.

She has also worked vastly in teaching training as well as in distance education. She is also recognized for her great success as material writer and developer and her books have been used by EFL students in different countries in Latin America.

The seminar's name was "Don't leave that text alone: integrating active reading and creative writing". She based her lecture on the premises of active reading and creative writing. "Active reading" refers to the assumption that reading is an active meaning-building process. I immediately remembered Mario Rinvolucri's words from his blog which you can read by clicking on the following link: "How Umberto Eco sees the reading process"

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/mario-rinvolucri/how-umberto-eco-sees-reading-process

Similarly Claudia stresses the fact that reading is not a passive, receptive skill, but on the contrary a skill that requires constant work and participation on the readers' side. Mario explains this fact clearly in his posting above; authors can never be sure about the version readers will have in their heads after finishing reading what has been written, especially because they undergo different reading processes, namely deletion, distortion, generalisation, reframing and elaboration.(Rinvolucri:2008).

When referring to "creative writing", Claudia wants to emphasize the importance of going beyond the commonly used comprehension activities in order to produce creative responses to the texts already read. In this way students can find the aspects from the texts that are relevant to their lives and express themselves freely about them. She also mentioned the importance of encouraging independent reading by developing reading strategies, which are of great relevance if we want our students to become autonomous readers and learners in general. (Ferradas:2008)

I specially enjoyed her reference to skills integration by pointing out that as teachers we have great resources if we exploit gaps of indeterminacy (Iser:1971) and textual intervention.
"Gaps of indeterminacy" were explained as those silences in the texts that can be filled out by readers, for example when they can add a scene that was not included by the author in the original text. "Textual intervention" was explained as the activities in which our students can adapt the text, change or rephrase it following creative ideas. (Ferradas:2008)

All in all it was a very fructiferous and enriching morning we spent with Claudia, because she also illustrated these short theoretical explanations, with lots of practical ideas and examples based on the use of a great variety of original and appealing texts.

I hope you find this comment interesting to read. It would be great to read your own comments as regards which reading strategies would you develop with your students if you were to apply these ideas. In following postings I will also comment on the strategies proposed by the author. Receive my kind regards,

Paula

 

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