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Language Institute of Georgia

OUR METHOD

HOW GRADED READER METHOD WORKS

In Graded Reader Method you analyze wide variety of sentences. This expands your vocabulary and understanding of the structure of the target language. You will learn how to build your own sentences. In real world speaking you have to build your own sentences to express yourself. Graded Reader method will empower you to do so. Graded Reader method will also enable you to read on your own. Reading leads to fluency and fluency leads to speaking. Graded Readers come with CDs. Listening to what you read and understand will also improve your pronunciation and speed of comprehension.

Let's suppose you see a word or a structure on page 1 of a Graded Reader. If you continue reading you may see it on page 6 and then again on page 11 and so on. If you keep on reading, you may see the same word or the structure repeatedly. This enables you to understand and retain that word or structure permanently in your memory and it becomes easy for you to recall words and structures while speaking.

You need a lot of input as an adult before you can speak. Reading is the most effective way of getting this input, especially if you are not in a country where you are surrounded by the target language all the time. Graded Reader Method divides the process of learning a language in three stages.

STAGE 1: UNDERSTANDING

Understanding a language that you hope to speak, is the most important aspect of learning a foreign language. Speaking, reading , listening and writing all depend on it. Understanding is vital for a conversation. There can be no conversation, unless you understand your conversational partner. Our set of four courses will give you a very good understanding of the language. You will acquire the ability to read on your own.

STAGE 2: INPUT

Typically you have to see or hear, a word or a structure, whose meaning you already know, 10 to 15 times before you can retain it permanently in your core memory. Once its in your core memory, you can recall it with ease for using it in a conversation. If you read between 10 to 15 Graded Readers, you will have enough reinforcements that would enable you to speak fairly well. Graded Readers come with CDs. Listening to what you read will help you with pronunciation as well. Many language teachers and students ignore this important aspect of learning a language.

STAGE 3: SPEAKING PRACTICE

Through speaking practice, you will fill gaps in your knowledge of the language. You get stuck occasionally and your conversational partner can help you with the right word or structure. If you get stuck too often or can't speak at all, the problem is poor retention or poor vocabulary. Input activities like reading and listening are the best ways to solve this problem. 

You need a vocabulary of at least 2000 words and good overall understanding of the structure of the Spanish language to be at this stage. Many language teachers will tell their students, regardless of their understanding of the Spanish language, to practice speaking. Common sense will tell you that if you can not speak at all, you can not practice speaking either.


WHY YOU SHOULD PREFER GRADED READERS OVER A "CONVERSATIONAL" SPANISH CLASS

If you do not have a commonly used word or a structure in your active memory, you can not recall it and use it in speaking, no matter how much your language teacher forces you to speak. The key is to get commonly used words and structures in your active or core memory. 

Most conversational classes consists of repeating commonly used phrases. In an actual conversation, you run out of phrases in less than a minute. If repeating after the language teacher could make someone conversational, every body could become a fluent speaker in matter of days. You can speak out thousands of words in a day. 

This approach of forcing students to speak without enough input, is quite widespread among language schools. Administrators of the language school are only interested in signing you up. Once you have signed up for a  Spanish class, you will be forced to repeat few sentences. This is the easiest way for the teacher to do his or her time in the class.  Unfortunately the blame for failure usually lies with the students. Communicative  Approach and Total Immersion are the two biggest contributors to the widespread failure to learn a foreign language in the United States. 

THE TRUE FACE TOTAL OF TOTAL IMMERSION
The first step in learning a foreign language is to internalize commonly used words and structures. It is quite obvious that when you see a structure in a foreign language, you will have questions and you will need explanations. Things can only be explained to you in a language that you understand. Things can not be explained to you in a language that you have not learned yet. 

The reason Total Immersion is used is that a language teacher can not speak the different languages of his or her students. The only choice he or she has is to use  his or her own. Being immersed in a language that you do not understand is not very helpful. 

Once I was taking a German course in Germany. One of my classmate was from Japan, one from Poland, another  one was from Ivory Coast. The class also had students from Italy and Greece and some other countries. No wonder the only language the teacher could speak in the class was his own, namely German. It is quite obvious that the school would not say the real reason for using "Total Immersion". They would say that "research" proves that Total Immersion is the best way of learning a foreign language. The reality is that vast majority of language students subjected to Total Immersion fail to learn a foreign language. Total Immersion does not make any sense. If someone starts speaking Russian in front of you and you do not know Russian, it would annoy you. Imagine how annoying it would be to be immersed in it. Adults do not learn a language like children.
FOCUS OF ACADEMIA

Academia has to present learning a foreign language as a complex and problematic phenomenon. Problems lead to research and research leads to funding via taxpayers money. Careers of language professors depend on writing research papers and books. Many times they would invent topics.  The language skills of their students is not their top priority. Unfortunately these are the people who train our language teachers as well. Scrutinizing a language program before signing up would help you make the right choice. Trust logic not "Authority", because logic does not have vested interests. 


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USING GRADED READERS

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Language Institute of Georgia
3355 Lenox Rd Suite 750
 Atlanta, Georgia 30326.
404-520-8754

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