Online Reading Tools for a second language

Tom Tabaczynski is a language teacher (ESL) with a background in cognitive science, philosophy, and applied linguistics. Here is his playlist about reading a second language.

Tools for online reading:

1.  Google Translate

2.  Translations with Google Docs/Drive

3. Inline text translation with Readline

4. Inline text translation with Lingro

5. Export vocabulary from Google to Quizlet

6. Graded text vs spaced repetition

Tom made me realize that I do not have reading skills.  I work on dictionary skills, but I am a novice when it comes to knowing what to look for when reading.  I struggle with reading anything where I don’t know absolutely every word and grammar structure.  I have difficulty identifying patterns.  Reading very far from the ideal of “comprehensible” for me at this early stage in my learning.  I panic when I see text.  I don’t have any method for saving what I might pick up from the reading.  I never notice collocations and expressions.

There is a skill for reading in a second language that polyglots like Steve of Lingq have.  Steve gets more from reading a text, noticing patterns, and absorbing vocabulary.

Reading a lot, so that you can avoid eternal damnation of flashcard hell, sounds like a good idea.  Read something that I am interested in?  Even better.

Yet at this point, I don’t get anything from my attempts at reading.

I know there is a reason why tutor is having me read Korean folk tales and Korean Digital Academy has me writing out sentences from their reading page.  There is a skill they are trying to teach me.  

Write the sentences, look for patterns, guess at what the meaning is, write a list of questions, and only later seek out the teacher to explain the grammar.  It is a different approach.  It is a learner empowered approach that makes one think.  It is language learning by gathering data (reading), experimentation, and drawing conclusions.

I seek the grammar first, then see examples.  Yet figuring it out on your own is the way to OWN your learning.  You remember what you worked so hard to puzzle out.

[P.S. Computer breakthrus in AI Language, intelligence, and computers.  Fascinating stuff.  Google can look at a picture and translate it into words?  Wow.]

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