Next time you have to work on a reading comprehension text (and let's face it they are often at the beginning of each new unit in your book) try this method:
Give each student a blank A4 sheet of paper. This exercise is best done with the students sitting in a circle, but could be adapted as and when necessary. Put the title of the text on the board and get them to put it on the top of their sheet of paper. Tell them to imagine what the text is about and draw a line down the left hand side of the paper - just large enough for vocabulary.
Ask each student to write 12 words that they think will be in the text according to the title. When they have found their words tell them to pass their sheet on to the next person and they will collect the one from the other side. They now have to select 3 words from the list and in the right-hand column, write the first paragraph using these 3 words and adding (of course) anything in order to make the paragraph interesting. Tell them to cross out the words as they use them. They must not forget the title of the text, but will have to adapt each time because of the new words to use.
When they have finished their paragraph they pass on the sheets and do the same as before, take 3 words to make the second paragraph – pass on, take 3 words – write the last paragraph which could be the conclusion to the text. They pass on their sheets for the last time and they read what they have in front of them – a text written by 4 people!!
Either you, the teacher, could correct the texts and leave them in the classroom for them to see later or get some of them to read “their” text out loud. I prefer the latter, even with their mistakes, they love it. They are now ready and willing to read the text to find out if it has anything to do with theirs!
This has worked for years for me (in all levels) and we always have a good laugh because the texts have NOTHING to do with the one we are going to read, but it takes the boredom out of reading comprehension.
Let me know if anyone tries it out and how it worked.
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reply to jannabanna's post #1Hi Jannabanna!
Your idea for pre-reading activity is fascinating! Can't wait to try it out with my learners! Bet it will be fun! :)
And what would you say about suggesting those twelve initial words - I mean providing the learners with a choice of words which are actually taken from the text. That could be either twelve words ready-printed on that paper or alternatively 24 (or whatever number) words written on the board for learners to consider which twelve they think might be used in the target text (obviously enough, they should stay unaware of all the words being actually extracted from the text). I believe, this would increase chances of guessing some points or, put in other words, matching the right ends of the rope accidently. The idea behind this alteration was that after reading the target text those learners creations could be looked at as a true/false activity and would also provide scope for discussing what facts didn't match in the false paragraphs or better to think of sentences). You see, the twelve words will appear in the text (which we know for sure from the very beginning), so there will be room for comments like "Actually, they first met in Spain and not in Rome - in Rome they got married! And that was not before she sold her old house, but after she wrote her new book", etc. Not sure if this would work though... What do you think?
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reply to LiliyaB's post #5Sorry Liliya, I've only just seen your message! Your idea sounds great and could be good for lower level students with a lack of vocabulary. I think the idea of putting 24 words on the board (12 correct and 12 not in the text) is great too and would , in my mind, be better for more advanced students with more vocabulary to choose from. You see all ideas are good and one leads to another.
Bye for now,