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Hello there teachers, The topic of this post addresses how to teach reading to children with low levels of vocabulary and grammar without using the native language. In most cases for a reading task the teacher asks a student to read while the others listen. This involves passive sitting for everyone except for the person reading. There are many ways to make reading a passage in class a more interesting event. Before giving students the reading passage, do some preparation work by teaching the key vocabulary words, preferably using games such as those in 176 English Language Games for Children. After teaching the meaning of the key words via flashcards, mimes, listening and speaking games use a game like Writing Race to teach the spelling. Include any key verbs or short phrases that occur in the reading, not just the main nouns. At this point students can read the text for the first time, so ask them to scan it quickly and circle all the vocabulary words they recognise. Make up an action for ten key verbs or nouns in the reading passage and have the class act these out while you go through the words several times.  This has several benefits:

  • Pupils hear the words repeatedly which helps them remember them
  • Everyone is listening actively since a response is required
  • There is no day-dreaming or passive sitting since everyone is moving
  • Children associate a meaning to the word via the action

The teacher may now read the passage out while pupils follow in their books and whenever one of the key words comes up pupils make the relevant gesture.  The benefit here is that pupils hear the passage being read well, by someone with good pronunciation and the correct stress.  This is more useful to the class than to hear a hesitant colleague stumble over the lines. The teacher may now read the passage again, with students following, but this time the teacher inserts words that do not belong discreetly and pupils must clap their hands every time this happens.  This encourages concentration, attentive listening while following the written text closely and involvement through clapping. By now pupils have scanned through the text once and followed it twice so they are becoming familiar with it.  At this point pupils could write a question each about the text and hand it in to the teacher who runs a quizz using the questions.  This involves the pupils much more than answering questions prepared for them and gives them question practise too, which is often neglected. 176 English Language Games for Children contains quizz ideas and lots of fun ways to make your English teaching more interesting and effective.  It’s in PDF and in paperback as you prefer.  Full support from the author whichever format you choose!

To recap:

Prepare the passage and some key words for vocabulary.

Teach the vocabulary using interactive games.

After teaching the key words and there meaning, play a game to teach the spelling.

Ask your students to read the text and circle the words they recognise.

Make up an action for each key word (approx. 10) practice these and have the class act these out while you read through the passage.

Then read it out again, but this time add several words randomly throughout the reading. Ask the students to clap when this happens to encourage listening skills.

Now ask the students to write down a question each about the passage and conduct a a quiz with the class.

Have fun! Remember full support is given by the author of all these games and literature.