Holistic approach (as a “whole”) to teaching efficient EFL reading.

The holistic approach emphasizes global understanding of the text, focusing students’ attention on meaning. It is holistic because it starts with the general survey of the text, going from general to specific, enabling students to see trees through the forest. It is cyclic because it consists of several cycles.


Cycle I. Class work. The whole process can be shown in the following way.


Sampling by surveying Prediction

the title, pictures, diagrams etc à based on sampling



Skimming to confirm

or reject prediction




further prediction

second reading at or revision of

average speed prediction



After prediction there is a discussion of different predictions. After skimming there is a discussion of global questions. After the second reading there is a discussion of comprehension questions.

Cycle II. Homework. Students study the text for full understanding.

Cycle III. Class work. Questions to check full comprehension, inference and conclusion and evaluation and /or appreciation are discussed.

Cycle IV. Homework (written assignment). Students write a summary or an outline of the text. Sometimes they have to transfer the information from a linguistic to a non-linguistic form.

We can see that the cycles are not simple repetition but a spiral. With each cycle students’ comprehension of the text deepens. The strength of this approach is in the fact that it can kill two birds (speed and comprehension) with one stone (teaching efficient reading skills), and that enables students to become flexible readers.

For our students reading is more useful than the other skills because all of them will have to read in their future work, although only a small percentage will use the other skills. Therefore teaching of EFL reading is more meaningful, and improvement is more urgent and worthwhile.



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