Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog posts for English language learners

One idea I'm considering for some posts on this blog is writing short English texts for the benefit of people who are learning English.

As someone who is trying to learn Japanese, one problem I encountered in the early days of my studies is deciding on what Japanese material to read to get my reading comprehension off the ground, and how and where to get a hold of those materials. I found that, for a beginner, it's not necessarily easy to find reading material which match one's reading ability, and which can still hold one's interest. It can in fact be a frustrating task. But not being able to easily access beginner-level material—however I defined it—forced me to read what was readily available—online Japanese articles. And I believe that turn has been to my benefit. Perhaps matching the reading material exactly to one's reading ability is not too important, and that some amount of mismatch can be tolerated and result in benefits, at least when it comes to reading short text.

Still, it's not easy. One format which has kept me reading throughout my Japanese learning journey is one which consists of a short text and an accompanying image. Those two features are constants. Sometimes there would be more than one image, or maybe even a short video, but one image was sufficient. The image would hook me in, give me some idea of what the article was about, and would make me want to read the accompanying text. The text, not being geared at all toward Japanese language learners, would usually be chock-full of unknown words, but it was usually short enough so I could still plod through it within a reasonably short time even though I had to look up many of the words. And I was reading something that interested me.

My idea is to replicate that simple format on some of my blog posts at regular intervals as a resource and contribution to the online community of people who are trying to learn English. Let's say about 100 to 200 English words per post, plus an image. I won't dumb down the text, since I don't think that would be very useful. The image would preferably be my original content most of the time, although I wouldn't preclude using other available images. Since I dabble in photography when inspired, that would hopefully not be a problem.

In my quest to learn Japanese, my dealings with Japanese people have been nothing if not productive, eye-opening, and inspiring. This would be just one way I could give back to others.

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