Getting students to read can be difficult enough but getting them to read books in English can be a real challenge.
Many students may not read much in their own language and the thought of reading in English seems like an impossible task. Even keen readers who read for pleasure don’t see reading in a language which is not their first language a pleasurable thing to do. Getting them to re-think these attitudes is a massive challenge for teachers. Guided Readers are abridged versions of English language books and are a great resource if used correctly. There is absolutely no point in giving most students a Reader and asking them to get on with it. They need to be given direction and using the books in class will help achieve this.
Inspire Your Students to Read Using These Ideas & Activities
Choose the Right Book for Your Class
Readers come in every genre and are designed for all levels. A good way to get a general idea of what might interest your class is to carry out a class survey of reading habits and likes and dislikes. You could make a lesson of it and get your students to write the questions and then conduct the survey. You can then have class feedback to ascertain the genre that is the class favourite.
Using Readers in Class
I don’t see why reading should be a sole activity and combining reading passages for homework with classroom activities is a great way to keep your students interested. Readers come with a section of comprehension and vocabulary exercises based on clusters of chapters and of course you can use these to promote discussion or understanding but it’s much more fun if the students devise their own quiz based on the section they have just read. It tests their comprehension and that of their classmates.
Guess the Story
When you’ve chosen a good Reader for your class, write the title on the Board and ask the class to come up with ideas for a story based on the title. When they’ve got their ideas, give out the Readers and get the students to read the blurb and see how close they got to the actual story.
Pre-Teaching Key Vocabulary
Readers have word lists at the back of the book which include the key words. Create some exercises based around these key words; for example why not use one of the online websites to create a Word Search, is one possible site or create a definition matching exercise.
After your students have read the blurb, get them to create a promotional poster for the book. This will ensure they have understood what the story is going to be about and will also be a fun and creative activity.
Why not use part of the Reader for a Running Dictation. Choose a few paragraphs and stick them randomly around the room. Put your students into pairs; one student runs to the text and reads and memorises as much as they can, they return to their partner and dictate what they have read while their partner writes it down. They then swap roles and so on until they have the entire extract written down. They can then join with another pair and compare the results checking with the original text for accuracy.
Role Playing Opportunities
Get your students acting – choose a section of the Reader with a good dialogue and put your students into groups according to how many characters are needed. Ask them to do a mini play using the dialogue. Another idea is to put your students in pairs and ask them to choose a character from the book that they have strong feelings about – these can be negative or positive – ask them to put that character into a situation i.e. they arrive at the college having forgotten how to speak English or they meet them in a café and they’re lost. Your students then have to write a dialogue between themselves and the character. They can then role play the dialogue in front of the class.
After Reading Activities
When your class has finished reading the Reader, ask your students to write a review of it. These can be displayed around the class with the posters that were made at the beginning. It gives the students a sense of achievement if they can see their work displayed. If the book has also been made into a film, watch the film (or parts of it) and ask the students to do a comparison. Some books will offer debating opportunities i.e. Billy Elliot could evoke a debate on following your parents’ career choices or following your dreams.
Using Readers as a classroom resource can be creative and fun.
Quiet reading time in class is difficult to achieve but in small chunks is a good use of time. Making sure that you and your students get as much as possible out of whichever Reader you choose will ensure great classes and maybe you will also encourage your students to read more.