If you’ve decided to bring in an authentic text to share with your students, what do you plan to do with it? You can use a text to meet a number of objectives, which include but are not limited to:
- Teaching text organization and comprehension of main ideas.
- Scramble the paragraphs of a short article and have students work in pairs or small groups to reassemble the text.
- Remove the title as well as any section headings. Challenge students to create a main title as well as suggestions for section headings. Compare their ideas to the original ones written by the author.
- Present a gapped text. On the board write the 3-4 missing sentences from the article. Be sure that the sentences are removed from different paragraphs so that the main ideas/ subtopics are clearly different. Have students work with a partner to insert the sentences in the most appropriate places.
These kinds of exercises facilitate thinking in English and not simply about English.
- Teaching suprasegmentals.
- Practice intonation patterns. Select an excerpt from a dialogue (play, film script, novel, etc.) that contains a good mix of sentence types (yes-no questions, wh- questions, sentences with a series of items, etc.) which are ideally said by different characters. First reading: The teacher reads and the students identify the pattern (e.g., rising intonation). Second reading: Place students in small groups of three or four and assign each member a pattern (e.g., Student A – rising, Student B – falling, Student C – rise fall). The sentences will be read in the order they are written, but all the sentences of a given pattern must be read by the same student. Third reading: The students will assume character roles, including a narrator if necessary.
- Practice rhythm through thought groups. Select a short article or brief excerpt. As a class, mark appropriate places to pause. Read the text orally as a class and a second time in pairs, observing the noted thought groups.
These reading activities allow you to choose a highly appealing source, such as a popular film, a TV show, or a speech made by a celebrity. If the resources are available, you could compare a student reading to the original recording.