[Suggestion]: Improving reading comprehension using guided reading, comprehension exercises, & Student Portfolio
I was thinking about how many users seem to voice their issues with sentences that do not seem useful, and makes it hard to evaluate if they truly know something. So I thought of a three step plan to deal with this issue, namely, adding comprehension exercises, guided reading, and student portfolio.
1.Guided story/text reading:
Rather than only using random sentences from the database, I suggest that sentences or words from stories(also texts,dialogues, etc) can also be used. So a user is shown sentences or words from the texts while doing the lesson practice, and at the end of each skill, he gets to read a small passage from the text, and try to translate. After which he can proceed to step 2. A site such as this(http://www.abcteach.com/) could offer some good material.
2. Reading comprehension exercises
This step would rely on comprehension exercises that involve reading a small passage and answering simple questions. Of course the student would need to have passed a few skills to even understand the passage.
3. Student Portfolio
As each story is read, and questions are answered, a portfolio of the student's answers and the stories the student has read is stored. Allowing the student to go back and revise. Once a student reaches a certain level or skill, the student must read and answer the random questions from random stories/texts/dialogue. The system can also use this information to gradually track the progress and learning comprehension, and provide a report on the student's progress.
This would improve the student's reading comprehension, and also allow students to view the growth of their reading ability, in addition to offering more context to the course material.
Which part seems to be big? Duolingo already does most of it anyway. The immersion shows all words we know as we attempt to translate it, the opposite is not really very hard. Reading comprehension, well that would need to be created, users could help with that. The portfolio is just a matter of storing responses, much like how the immersion stores our individual translation histories. Creating simple passages is not extremely challenging:
"John and Mary like apples. They see red and green apples. John eats a red apple. Mary eats green apples. "
All the words in the above passage are taught very early. At least in the courses I've gone through.
I agree that it might take some effort, but I imagine it wouldn't be too much of an effort. To me, it seems like it would just be reevaluating the format for a slide to also allow multiple sentences.
To Dessamator: For these sorts of stories, I don't think that students should have to translate the whole thing, Dessamator, but instead they should have to pick out certain words to complete the sentence. There is an exercise like that in Rosetta Stone slides, where users have to complete the sentence with multiple choice. That, or they could incorporate something like in the app where the words are arranged from a list. If the stories get too long, then there is a bigger possibility for students to translate it incorrectly if there is no word bank.
(Side Note: Lately I've seen slides where I was supposed to translate a sentence from English into German where the sentence was almost 3 lines long! I haven't gotten one right.)
Agreed, the student could perhaps translate just a few random words that the student learnt. But the comprehension questions would not be the normal read/translate kind of thing. It would be more like, "what color was the apple that Mary ate?"; "John ate what?", and so on. As a student progresses through the trees the stories become more complex and with more complicated questions.
There are already online resources with such exercises, and it shouldn't be too hard to source such questions from past grade 1-3 tests as some of these exercises may be available in libraries or public schools.