What is Text Adaptation and How It is Done?

Text adaptation is one of the techniques of teaching reading comprehension. It is a process of modification of text (reading text) to match students’ learnability.

What is Text Adaptation?

Text adaptation is one of the techniques for teaching reading comprehension. It is a process of modification of text (reading text) to match students’ learnability. This is a teacher-initiated activity which involves simplification of vocabularies/jargon with synonyms, translations, summarizing, paraphrasing etc. text adaptation is done with aim of making reading more understandable and making it suitable to learners learning levels.

Moreover, text adaptation is a process of making the text accessible to all the students. It is the concept of keeping students’ age, grade and level in mind and encouraging them to read happily. The use of longer text and complex vocabulary make reading tedious.  The main purpose of adaptation is to eliminate complex language that might prevent students from understanding the main concept of the text. It also plays an important role to motivate learners for reading.

Why is the Text Adaptation Done?

I selected a story from the 2nd unit entitled ‘Three simple rules’  from the textbook of grade six for the adaptation.  At first, I exposed the students to the text thinking it will be no problem for them. But I was wrong. They responded with their inability to comprehend some vocabulary and the concept of the whole text. Thence, it decided to incorporate text adaptation techniques. I used the following techniques of adaptation.

How it is done?

There are various ways of adapting any text. Selection of the techniques depends on the type of the text, level of students and purpose of reading. Here, the selected text was the story; the purpose was to extract specific information for solving comprehension questions and the level of students was average.  In such a scenario, I used the following techniques to teach a reading text for 6th-grade students.

1. Native language translation to clarify key concepts and introduce new vocabularies.

  • Some of the vocabulary of the text were found to be new to the students. Telling the meaning of such abstract new vocabularies was quite difficult to me. I translated these words into their native language. Telling the words in their L2 really brightened their face.

For instance: Jhadi for ‘Bush’, Jail for ‘imprisonment’, chhodyo for ‘released’.

2. Summarizing the text to focus on the key points of information (List of important points)

  • I prepared a brief summary of the text including the main information and ideas. They read the summary first. After reading the summary they read the actual text. And later they were asked some comprehension questions orally. The summary is…

‘once, there was a greedy man namely Chulong. He found a bird in the garden. The bird was very beautiful. He thought of selling it in the market and earning more money. The bird was clever. He tricked the man telling him some important rules for life i.e. ‘Don’t believe others.’ ‘Never expect much.’ And ‘keep what you have with you.’ And, flew away.

3. Elaborating the text to add information (Definitions, background information )

  • I set a scene before entering into the text. I told them little about the rich greedy man. I also discussed ‘greedy’ habit of people.
  • They were given detailed elaboration of the text so that they can get a prior idea about what they are going to read.

4. Rewriting text (Short, simpler sentences)

For example;

  • “These rules can profit you greatly,” as ‘You can get good return.”
  • ‘I give my words.’ Simplified as ‘I promised.’
  • The three rules were shortened and simplifies as ‘Don’t believe others.’ ‘Never expect much.’ And ‘keep what you have with you.’
  • ‘Chulong’s hopes of making money were shattered’ as ‘Chulong couldn’t fulfill his dream of earning money by selling the bird.

Text Adaptation Prototype


-Shiva Ram Paudel

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