This post is inspired by a shout out from Hugh Dellar to find out how we encourage our learners to read. After just finishing an intensive FCE course, where I tried to no avail to encourage my students to read in their own time to increase their exposure to language, I have given the subject some thought, and next course I’m determined I’m going to “Get them reading on the move!”. I’d like to motivate students to make use of those idle moments on the bus/train/metro when they are usually involved in less cognitive activities and encourage them to read. All my students complain that they “don’t have time to read”, so this is my action plan to encourage students to consider their smart phones as a reading tool by making them aware of MALL.
- Ask Ss what they are interested in and guide them towards online magazines and websites which they can access on their smartphones. Ensure 10-15 mins class time is dedicated to share and compare when students can feedback to each other about the article/s they’ve read that week. Without an in class follow up activity, the chances that Ss will actually take the time and/or effort to read in their spare time are slim.
- I often set up a Whasapp group with my classes. By uploading short texts or articles to the group, students don’t need connectivity to consult it, so have no excuses! They can then feedback in the group and/or write a summary of the key points, which will encourage them to read for content and not only gist.
- Another way of exploiting uploaded a texts to a whatsapp group, is to encourage learners to trawl the text for adjectives, noun/verb collocations, verb tenses to get them analysing the language and not just seeing it without considering its formation.
- Synonym searches are another useful activity. Ss are given synonyms of key words in the uploaded text to find. This ensures they reading for comprehension and not gist.
As always, I’d love to know if you try anything and how it worked!
Goodreads is a social network app for iOS (iPhone + iPad), Mac OSX, Windows, Windows Phone, Android & Kindle. Goodreads encourages users to rate books, read recommendations from other users, and catalogue books into read, currently reading and to be read. Goodreads helps learners to find new and interesting book titles by browsing personalised recommendations based on books they have already read, their tastes or a particular genre.
Goodreads is also a great way to encourage learners to write in English and comment on other users’ comments and be exposed to a wide audience that they can interact with about books and suggestions.
Adobe Reader makes reading fun and colourful.
Functions include highlighting text, striking through, underlining, adding typed text, writing or drawing anywhere on the document, and adding a personlised signature.
I use this app regularly on my iPad to make notes and highlight key points in articles, and I have used it for writing notes on scanned student assignments, so it is as equally useful for learners and teachers.
Available for Mac, Android and Windows portable devices, and desktop computers.
Do learners use a bottom-up learning process which shifts from implicit to explicit knowledge, or top-down, learning which goes from explicit to implicit?
Online reading has become a major source in the field of ELT. It is easy to access, up to date and diverse, but it relies on self-regulated reading strategies to construct meaning.
As teachers, we need to help learners cognitively respond to online texts and attempt to reduce the many distractions that reading on the internet can offer. Does it really matter if they are reading anyway? Well, yes, it has been argued, (Barbules 1998), that the linear nature of printed texts makes them selective and exclusive, whereas there is no limit to the distractions online texts can provide; voice threads, further links, moving images, audio, pop ups… which means that different strategies need to be employed to filter the information and ensure that input, storage and retrieval are as effective as they would be with exposure to a static printed text.
This idea is adapted from an activity in Going Mobile, the latest book from Nicky Hockly & Gavin Dudeney http://www.emoderationskills.com/?p=1323 called Twitter Celebrities.
If some learners don’t already have a Twitter account then classmates can show them how to set one up and explain how it works.
Prompt your learners to think of a famous person that interests them and who tweets in English (sports personality, actor/tress, politician singer, T.V. personality).
The learners ‘follow’ the celebrity on a daily basis and once or twice a week as classes permit, allow students 10-15 minutes to discuss in groups/pairs the tweets and activities of their celebrity.
This encourages students to engage with English outside of the classroom using technology that they may already use regularly in their L1.
If you try this activity, let me know how it goes in the comments!