I want to provide my students with practice in the reading subskills, what do I need to do to start planning?
- Find a suitable text
- Come up with an idea to arouse interest
- Decide on which sub-skills practice the text would be suitable for
- Create the in-reading tasks
- Plan a suitable post-reading task
- Find a suitable text
This is often the hardest part of planning a reading skills lesson. There are a variety of questions which need to be considered when finding a text.
- is it interesting or relevant for all learners?
- is the level of English manageable for the learners? (NB a text can be a higher level than the students are used to as long as the in-reading tasks are manageable for the learners and they are not over-faced with too many new lexical items).
- is the length of the text suitable?
- having taken all of the above into consideration, do I need to adapt the text to
I have chosen this text for the following reasons:
- it is current (at the time of writing)
- all students will be able to relate to the topic
- there is a fun element to the text which my students will enjoy
- the level of language is manageable for my B2 level learners
2. Come up with an idea to arouse interest
There are a variety of possibilities with this text to help arouse interest:
- Give the students the headline and ask them to come up with two or three questions they hope they will find the answer to in the article.
- Give the students a few words taken from the article and get them to predict what it is about.
- Show the photo of the man who the text is about and ask students to think about who he might be and why he might be in the news.
3. Decide on which sub-skills practice the text would be suitable for
I think this text lends itself to a skimming (for gist) task and a scanning (for specific information) task.
4. Create the in-reading tasks
With any of the above ways of arousing interest (lead-in), the first in-reading task is basically done for me with no more effort required. All I need to do is get some feedback from the students on their predictions about the text (whether it was from the headline, the selected lexis or their ideas based on the photo) and then ask the students to quickly skim the text to see if their predictions were right.
For the second in-reading task, I need to do a little more work and write some questions which will ensure the students need to scan the text for numbers and possibly names or dates. These are some questions I came up with – do you think by scanning the text for the answers students will have a better understanding of the story?
- How old is Liam Thorp?
- How tall did the NHS think he was?
- How tall is he?
- What did the NHS think his body mass index was?
- How much does he actually weigh?
- Which body mass index would be considered as obese according to the NHS?
Should I add a couple of more detailed questions to really help the students grasp the full story? What do you think?
There are a few words in the text which the students might not know/understand, would you pre-teach these or could you focus on them after the in-reading tasks or perhaps not bother with them at all?
5. Plan a suitable post-reading task
I would probably give the students a fluency activity after the in-reading stage. Maybe leading to some discussion about getting the vaccine and having the students discuss what they would have done in Liam’s situation (admit that he shouldn’t really be a priority for the vaccine or just get it anyway…).
What do you think? Would this be a good text to do with your learners? Would you do anything differently?
For more on teaching reading skills look at this post.
Have you taught a successful reading skills lesson recently? Why was it successful? Have you had any failures? What happened?