10-second review: The author suggests that Cloze exercises (deleting every fifth word, for example) are too difficult without some help for the students in learning how to do it.
Title: “Cloze for Instruction: A Continuum.” WD Silky. Journal of Reading (March 1979), 487.
Summary: The author suggests offering two choices for each omitted word for beginners, then three choices. The third step in introducing students to the Cloze procedure is to follow the passage with a random collection of all the omitted words and students attempt to match the omitted word with the appropriate word from the list. Finally, teachers should give the students passages with omitted words without any help.
Comment: Cloze is one of those techniques that is just so cool and interesting that teachers and students forget why they are using it. The technique has had many suggested uses. Probably its best use is to develop the skill of using context to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words or for comprehension, forcing the reader to understand the meaning of a passage with key words omitted.
I’m a skeptic. It seems to me constructing Cloze passages requires too much teacher time to set up the exercise and then have enough copies to distribute it for any valid practical purposes. But Cloze is an interesting technique. Maybe some day we’ll find a worthwhile use for it. RayS.