Research article
Issue: № 5 (41), 2023


This article discusses such an important aspect as home reading and its role in the formation of students' speech skills in a foreign language and understanding of a foreign culture. The author reveals the concept of home reading, gives a generalized description of the types of texts used for it. The article analyzes tasks based on what has been read, and target tasks aimed at discussing what has been read. The opinion is expressed that the complication of tasks in the senior classes should go along the line of deepening the content of the issues under discussion and the introduction of literary analysis. On its basis, one of the most important types of oral speech activity is taught: oral unprepared speech. The author comes to the conclusion that work on home reading has a positive effect on the natural motivation of speech acts during discussions, and the discussion of moral and ethical problems is of great interest to students.

1. Introduction

Home reading is one of the most important aspects of the language training of students. This type of reading should not be taken as an addition to the classroom activities. This is an organic inclusion in the content of the entire cycle of lessons, an important element in the education of students, which largely determines their qualitative level of language proficiency, because “learning a language outside the language environment is possible only on condition of regular, daily and abundant reading”


It is the reading of adapted fiction that plays a leading role in understanding a foreign language culture, in maintaining students' interest in learning a foreign language. And why should you choose fiction for home reading? The fact is that a literary text, like any other text, is a verbal product of speech, a complex linguistic sign in which linguistic units of all levels (from a phoneme to a sentence) find their realization. A literary text is created to objectify the writer's thoughts, to embody his creative ideas, to convey ideas and knowledge about a person and the world, to carry these ideas beyond the boundaries of the author's consciousness, making them accessible to other people. Each writer creates his own world in a literary work in accordance with a certain idea, with an individual-figurative perception and depiction of life reality. The fantasy world appears before the reader in artistic images transformed by the author. A literary work affects the reader both rationally and emotionally. The dual impact of a literary text is determined by its content of not only semantic, but also artistic, or aesthetic, information. This artistic information finds its realization only within the boundaries of an individual artistic structure, i.e. specific literary text. Thus, home reading provides "a lot of information necessary for the general development and raising the level of culture of each person, for enriching his native language, for his linguistic and philological education"


Not every reading at home is home reading. The concept of “home reading” has been clearly defined in methodological science since the end of the 19th century, and in relation to our conditions, this definition could read as follows: home reading is extracurricular independent reading of relatively voluminous works of fiction, built (with the exception of a small percentage of unfamiliar vocabulary) on covered material in new contextual combinations, as a rule, thematically not related to the textbook. Home reading is a complex type of work on teaching non-translating reading, speaking, vocabulary and grammar. Learning to understand texts without translation is almost unthinkable if they contain a significant percentage of unfamiliar language material.

Home reading work should make independent reading a habit and a need for students, which is also impossible if understanding is seriously hindered. The special development of the abilities of non-dictionary understanding of texts (semantization without a dictionary and the so-called "surface understanding" leaving some language units non-semantized) is not included in the functions of home reading. These aspects of teaching reading should be carried out by special texts (including newspaper articles), developing such skills as understanding by contextual guess, by word-formation elements

. Meanwhile, the number of unfamiliar lexical items in home reading texts may gradually increase, as students must develop the ability to understand texts without vocabulary based on a linguistic guess. Teaching oral speech in home reading should be based on a discussion of problem situations identified in the content of the work, and their correlation with reality.

It is home reading that is the aspect that makes it possible to practically solve the complex task dictated by program requirements: to teach students ideological and artistic analysis. The solution to this problem is possible in home reading classes, when work is carried out with a whole work of art (story, short story, play, etc.) based on target tasks


2. Main results

So, what is the method of working with literary text? Basically, the methods of analysis and synthesis of literature were used in the work, because at present the decisive criterion in the choice of material is the informational aspect of methodological authenticity. Students are given texts containing the information they need, for example: the history of the ancient world, knowledge about the country of the language being studied, fascinating historical moments, funny stories, and so on. In this case, information is not an end in itself, but a way to increase the motivation of students, arouse their interest through understanding the content of what they read.

Modern books and textbooks present texts that describe the whole range of various life situations. Students learn such texts easily, since they consider and solve actual, rather than methodological problems. In other words, situationally authentic texts arouse interest and a genuine emotional reaction among students, create a positive attitude towards the subject these are letters, and articles from the educational newspaper, as well as fragments from the student's diary, advertising, various recipes, and so on. This diversity allows the authors of books and textbooks to introduce students to different speech clichés, vocabulary, phraseology, linking them with different areas and lifestyles.

Authentic text is an excellent material for acquaintance and further work with the phraseology of the target language. An important role in achieving the authenticity of artistic educational texts is played by the correct choice of phraseological units. Textbook authors offer paraphrased phraseological units for a clearer understanding of the text.

Acquaintance with the phraseological units of the studied language contributes to the development of students' skills of authentic speech behavior, and immersion in English phraseology will certainly lead to an emotional response and increased interest in English lessons. Consequently, the authenticity of a literary educational text is largely determined by the correct choice of phraseological material.

Literary texts occupy a special place among educational texts in English. For many decades, the literary text has played an important role in the teaching of foreign languages.

The traditional (classical) methodology, which includes such languages as Latin and Greek, was based on teaching the translation of written texts and their reading. Basically, the work was carried out with the texts of classical literature. Culture included the following aspects: literature, music, painting, science.

Audiolingual and audiovisual methods, of the mid-twentieth century, used literary texts only at the highest stage of education. Texts that were created for pedagogical purposes occupied a special position. In order to avoid syntactic and lexical difficulties, students were provided with excerpts of works of art in a simplified or adapted version.

So, in order to make the text a possible and productive basis for teaching all types of speech activity, it is important to teach students how to work with the text correctly. In this connection, it is reasonable to refer to all three stages of working with text: pre-text, text and post-text. Let's take a closer look at each of the stages.

Pre-text stage

At this stage, the process of preparing for reading is carried out, that is, the removal of language difficulties, familiarization with the topic of the text and the concepts and realities that are mentioned in the text. An important condition for successful work with the text in the future is the creation of a friendly atmosphere in the classroom, so the teacher at this stage of work should arouse students' interest, involve them in work, creating positive motivation. Techniques for managing the material of the text and the corresponding tasks at the pre-text stage are designed to differentiate language units and speech patterns, to recognize them in the text, to master various structural materials (word-building elements, aspect-temporal forms of the verb, etc.) and language guesswork for the formation of forecasting skills. Pre-text tasks are aimed at modeling background knowledge necessary and sufficient for the reception of a particular text, at eliminating the semantic and linguistic difficulties in understanding the text and at the same time at developing reading skills and abilities, developing an “understanding strategy”. They take into account the lexical-grammatical, structural-semantic, linguo-stylistic and linguo-cultural features of the text to be read. At this stage, the teacher can work with the following techniques: brainstorming, prediction / prediction, association with an illustration or title of the text, identifying students' knowledge of the problems raised in the text, answering questions, etc.

Text stage

In text tasks, students are offered settings indicating the type of reading (studying, introductory, viewing, search), speed and the need to solve certain cognitive and communicative tasks in the reading process. Here it is important to control the degree of formation of various speech skills, language skills and continue the formation of relevant skills and abilities.

Post-text stage.

The purpose of post-text tasks is to check how students understand what they read. It is also important to control the degree of formation of reading skills and the possibility of using the information received in the future. Students should be able to use the situation of the text as a linguistic (speech), meaningful support for the development of skills in oral and written speech.

The main way to consolidate the new vocabulary of home reading is to include it in conversational exercises, primarily in conversations on what has been read. This method at one time met with certain objections from some methodists, in particular E.P. Shubin, who believed that the discussion of what was read in a foreign language is inappropriate, since such a discussion cannot be without many errors and slowing down the pace of speech. However, these negative aspects can be eliminated if special preparatory or, keeping the terminology of M. West, “target tasks” are provided for in home reading, during which students will prepare at home to discuss what they have read

. Simultaneously with the task to read a certain number of pages, students receive a leaflet with target tasks, such as: answer questions on what they read (choose the correct answer from those offered), put these sentences in the correct order, confirm or refute the following theses, correct the following statements, give a brief annotation, using keywords, translate from Russian into English a summary of what you have read (an exercise in repeating tenses and vocabulary learned), etc. To repeat grammar and vocabulary, you can use a lot of exercises based on the material you read: open the brackets, combine two sentences into one with the correct use of certain aspect-temporal constructions, put a question to a specific given sentence from the text, etc.

Target tasks can be specifically aimed at consolidating specific language material (vocabulary, occasionally grammatical constructions), but in this case, with the exception of some lexical and phraseological exercises, they should be in the nature of conversations based on what students have read


As a rule, when discussing what they have read in their home reading classes, students receive two types of tasks:

1) related to the reproduction of the content of the text, for example:

Tell the class everything you learned from what you read about….

- tell us about the main events of the 7 chapters you read based on the pictures provided, etc.

2) leading students away from the direct content of the text. These include the following tasks:

a) tasks for correlating some points in the text with the students' own life experience, for example, a task for expressing attitudes towards what they read, for expressing an assessment of an event, phenomenon, fact (Do you agree that ...?). Tasks of this type are problematic

and unproblematic.

b) tasks based on introducing elements of fantasy into the discussion of the read, for example: what questions could you ask the hero (name, where he was born, education, where he went, why ...).

c) tasks related to the disclosure of the author's intention. They contain mental tasks based on operating with direct content, if necessary, to identify connections in it. Each new proposal must be correlated with the previous one. Such assignments define text links, expressed implicitly, for example:

- tell us about all the dangerous situations in the life of the main character (there are 6 of them). Start with…

d) tasks for determining causality. This is a chain of questions, the purpose of which is to reveal the causes of a particular fact, act or event, for example:

Why did the main character do this?

However, it should be remembered that students' answers to questions, contrary to popular belief, do not help to gather facts together, but, on the contrary, split the content of what they read. Therefore, especially at the beginning, it is necessary to support the expected answers with prompts (in particular, keywords). Home preparation provides a normal speech pace and a minimum number of errors in the classroom discussion of the passage.

Home reading in high school should go along the line of deepening the content of the issues under discussion, which should stimulate and intensify the mental activity of students. This is intended to be facilitated by the introduction of a literary analysis of the works being read


Literary analysis, the purpose of which is to comprehend the ideological content of a work of art, involves a consistent understanding of its immediate content. This means that the process of interpreting a work is based on the intensive mental activity of students. The task is to analyze the text from the point of view of the nature of the mental tasks being solved, the ways of their complication, and the possibilities of problem-based learning to read at home. As for the peculiarities of teaching oral unprepared speech when discussing a literary text based on literary analysis, P.B. Gurvich

, calling thinking “any mental activity carried out mainly by means of language”, believes that “teaching speech is learning to solve mental problems with access to external speech”. At the lower level of education, mental tasks should be simple, allowing for a short solution. Then the tasks should gradually become more complex, acquiring more and more features of problematic issues of an abstract-theoretical nature, which require a clear understanding of the task itself and overcoming serious difficulties on the way to its solution with the help of detailed reasoning in external speech.

According to P.B. Gurvich, unprepared speech is a level of proficiency in foreign language speech communication, in which the speaker is able to use the acquired language material in previously unseen combinations without preparation in time and without direct prompting of the interlocutor to speak

. Teaching unprepared speech consists in the gradual development of three skills:

- skills of new combination (establishment of new speech connections using already familiar speech units);

- proactive speaking skills;

- Skills of quick speech reaction.

Recombination is considered the most important skill, since the other two depend on it. Therefore, the central issue of teaching unprepared speech in general, as well as oral speech when discussing read texts for home reading in particular, is the development of the ability to combine.

The path to achieving the level of impromptu, unprepared speech begins with prepared speech, which consistently including elements of unpreparedness, then it gradually becomes unprepared in the unity of all three of its characteristics.

The skills of oral unprepared speech are developed on the basis of work with target tasks, for example:

I. 1) Content Transmission Tasks

- analysis of the structure of the narrative (into how many parts / paragraphs can the text be divided;

How can you title each section?

- separate important events from minor ones, etc.

2) tasks for compiling a simplified and abbreviated retelling;

3) tasks for annotating what was read (state the essence of what was read in 1-2 sentences);

4) tasks for compiling short messages on title issues (proof of certain theses);

5) tasks to characterize the main characters:

- a presentation of events from the point of view of the narrator (the main characters of the work);

- a change in the situation, place and time of the narration, etc.

II. 1) Tasks to identify the creative ideas of the author (questions can be asked throughout the work if the students read it in Russian or watched the film):

- indicate the causes of the events;

- identify the consequences of events by comparing certain points of the text;

- what events were unexpected for readers, and what they could expect, etc.

III. 1) Tasks for assessing and expressing a personal attitude to what has been read (comparing it with the surrounding reality):

- expressing a general opinion (did you like the text, was there anything similar in your life, etc.);

2) polemical discussion of controversial issues on the content of the reading;

3) tasks for making fantasy changes and additions:

- writing prehistory and sequels;

- guesses about the content of subsequent chapters;

- tasks to change the course of events;

- writing stories that are similar to what you have read, etc.

Let's now look at a specific example of typical home reading assignments. An example of working with a literary text is O'Henry's story "Stale Bread" in a lesson in the 10th grade. Students can use dictionaries.

Handouts are distributed: cards with new words and expressions related to the text; photo of the author of the text; pictures to illustrate what is happening in the text. Thus, each student is provided with everything necessary to work on this text.

Next, students learn that in the lesson they will work with O'Henry's story "Witches' Loaves" and with the help of special questions you can find out what students know about this American writer. If the students are at a loss to answer, it is explained that the name O'Henry is his pseudonym, and the real name of the writer is William Sidney Porter. He was born in 1862 in America and has written over 250 short stories.

At the pre-text stage of working with the text, students receive a set of phrases to use as supports when guessing the meaning of the text and describing the appearance, age and occupation of the characters.

Before starting work on the text, students are given pre-prepared photocopies with lexical material necessary for working in the lesson.

Students put forward their versions of information not presented in the text and, using key supports and fantasy, build their own logical chains of oral monologue statements regarding the content of the text they are about to read. There may be more versions. They are built on different logical relationships between keywords. All answers are listened to, because the more often the key vocabulary is used, the more confidence that all students will understand the text. Now the task of students is to develop their version further or come up with the opposite. Versions turn into a short story. Phrases are repeated over and over, and even weak students can express their opinion or write a short description. After the students have developed their own plot lines, they need to move on to reading the text itself.

When students read a text and then discuss it in English, they know that the teacher is evaluating their speaking skills and are afraid of reading or expressing their thoughts incorrectly. In this case, both speaking and understanding of the content of the text, and reading technique are assessed. At the same time, students perform several tasks: they express their point of view regarding what they have read with the help of new lexical material and previously studied grammar so that the others clearly understand everything said, evaluate and discuss the actions and feelings of the characters, share their impressions with each other.

At the post-text stage, we check how students understood this artistic passage.

To do this, they need to answer the following questions by quoting the text:

1. What kind of woman was Miss Martha?

2. What kind of man was the customer?

3. What made Miss Martha suspect that the customer was a painter?

4. What did Miss Martha do to find out the customer's occupation?

5. Why didn't Miss Martha offer anything good to eat to the customer?

6. How did Miss Martha manage to add butter to the customer's stale loaves?

7. Why didn't Miss Martha recognize her customer at first?

8. How did the customer’s companion explain the strange behavior of his friend towards Miss Martha?

For a more complete understanding of the text, it is proposed to complete the following task:

Complete the sentences with the correct word combinations:

1. The customer... (was polite; was very awkward; was bold; was rude; had bad manners; had good manners; was shy).

2. Miss Martha was sure that the customer was... (an actor; a worker; a painter).

3. Miss Martha was sure that if the customer was a painter the picture would... (surprise him; frighten him; embarrass him; make him angry; attract his attention).

4. Miss Martha did not add anything good to eat to his stale bread because she thought that the customer might... (be surprised; get angry; get frightened; get offended; get excited; be embarrassed).

5. The customer's companion asked him... (to speak louder; to shout at Miss Martha; to calm down; to beat the woman).

6. When adding butter to the customer's loaves Miss Martha... (meant to spoil his drawing; meant well; wanted to please him).

With this type of work with a literary text, the activity of students is high. Throughout the process of work, all students, even the weakest ones, want to take part in the lesson. They have a need to express their opinion, which differs from the opinion of classmates, and a desire to find out everything that will happen, has happened and is happening with the heroes of the story. Students, without fear, express their thoughts, take an active part in the process of the lesson and read with pleasure even short stories of English classics.

Textbooks were analyzed and a list of works of fiction by famous authors was compiled for reading and further discussion at different language levels (Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate)

The Pre-Intermediate level is represented by such works as:

1) "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain

An adventure story about an American boy, Tom, who is constantly looking for new adventures with his friends.

2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A story about a boy named Charlie, amazing imagination. Charlie and the other kids win a ticket to a closed chocolate factory. Adventures, difficulties, not an easy choice and a happy ending await him.

3) "Peter Pan" by James Barry

A story about a boy who loved childhood and never wanted to become an adult. As a child, he escaped from the house through the chimney and went flying in Kensington Gardens with the fairies.

The Intermediate level is represented by such works as:

1) "Forest Gump" Winston Groom

The story tells about a kind and naive mentally retarded man. Despite this, he has life experience and abilities that are inaccessible and incomprehensible to ordinary people.

2) "Fight Club" Chuck Planick

A story about a man living surrounded by a disposable world. He suffers from insomnia. The doctor advises him to go to a meeting of terminally ill people. There he finds peace, but not for long. After these meetings no longer help, the hero organizes a fight club.

3) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

A book about a sailor named Dantes, who was the victim of a conspiracy. He is deprived of everything he loved. In prison, Dantes completely gives up and wants to starve himself to death, he meets a scientist and plans to escape with him in order to take revenge on everyone involved in his imprisonment.

3. Conclusion

Thus, home reading can become a powerful stimulus and help in the formation of skills and abilities of oral speech when teaching students a foreign language. It has a positive effect on the natural motivation of students' speech actions in discussions and is of great interest when discussing moral and ethical problems.

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