Tag Archives: reading lessons

By Jenny Hardacre
TEFL teacher and trainer with 30 years experience

My last couple of blogs have dealt with predicting content vocabulary pre-teaching and skim reading. Now you have reached the stage where less successful reading lessons tend to begin – reading for more detailed understanding.

Encourage students to react to the text

Again, set the questions before students begin to read so that they know what they are looking for while they read.. The questions don’t have to be just aimed at picking factual information out of the text, such as ‘How long has Anna been doing her present job?’. While this type of question may be appropriate for lower levels, the answers are often easy to find, not particularly interesting and don’t necessarily indicate overall understanding.

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By Jenny Hardacre
TEFL teacher and trainer with 30 years experience

The first thing to do in a reading lesson is introduce topic of the passage in an engaging way. This is to get students interested and help them form expectations about content. So, if the passage describes different people’s jobs, get students to talk about their jobs, or to make a list of all the different jobs they can think of. Then elicit some work related vocabulary (e.g. part-/full-time, shifts, holiday pay, promotion).  Plan in advance any word/phrases from the text that you could elicit at this stage.

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By Jenny Hardacre
TEFL teacher and trainer with 30 years experience

Converting squiggles on the page or screen into meaningful messages

There are two types of process involved in reading; bottom-up and top-down.  Bottom-up is the process of decoding the symbols on the page or screen starting with the smallest unit, so that C-A-T is converted to the sounds /k/ /æ/ /t/ and the word is understood, the words are combined to understand the sentences and so on “…the reader first processes the smallest linguistic unit, gradually compiling the smaller units to decipher and comprehend the higher units (e.g., sentence syntax).” Emerald. 1991. (Quoted on Lingualinks )

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By Jenny Hardacre
TEFL teacher and trainer with 30 years experience

As a teacher trainer I’ve seen quite a few awful reading lessons. (To tell the truth, as a teacher, I’ve probably given quite a few awful reading lessons, too). A typical unsuccessful lesson goes like this; the teacher starts the lesson with something like “Today we’re going to do some reading. Open your books on page 67.” The students are then told to read the text. A  few words in, some students come across a word they don’t know and reach for their dictionaries or ask their neighbours. The teacher either allows this or says cheerily, “Don’t worry about the unfamiliar words. You don’t need to know all the words to understand the text.”

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