Thinking Outside the Box: Exploring Different Ways to Interact with a Text

I believe there are different ways we can read a text with students. There can also be different objectives. Do we want students to read for general comprehension, for example, or to find details? Reading skills also overlap with pronunciation skills. I’m a big believer in oral reading. It shouldn’t be the default format, but I think…

Finding Fluency through Oral Reading

I’m a big believer in the power of reading and the need to maximize the benefits of a text. With private students, I’ve often asked them to work with a particular reading multiple ways. We read for comprehension. We study vocabulary and new structures in context. We discuss the content and make time for summaries…

Getting the Most Out of Authentic Texts

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…

Teaching Real Life Skills: Reading Signs

Part of an ESL teacher’s job is to help the language learner better function in the host country. One important skill to have is reading signs. They’re everywhere, and the information they convey does not apply to drivers alone. Consider the simplest of signs: ENTRANCE ONLY, NO SMOKING, EMERGENCY EXIT: Alarm will sound.  Then there…

Teaching Practical Skills: How to Read Handwriting

A real challenge in language learning can be dealing with handwritten text. This is especially true for students whose languages use another alphabet or system of characters. Students may feel confident reading printed text, but their comfort level can significantly drop when the text is written by hand. Despite the fact that we live in…

How to Bring the December Holidays into Your Classroom

December is here! It’s time to start thinking about how to weave holiday-related themes into your lessons. After all, learning a language implies learning another culture(s). From Washington, D.C. to London, people in English-speaking countries are looking forward to Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve celebrations. How can you raise students’ awareness of these holidays?…

Six Ways for English Language Learners to Read a Text

You’re using a general English language textbook to teach your students, and the upcoming section is dedicated to reading.  After discussing  the customary warm-up questions that help students focus on the topic and tap into their relevant knowledge, the class must read a one-page text. The instructions simply state: Read. How do you interpret that?…

Four Objectives of Reading in the ESL Classroom

A general English language program should focus on the four basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in addition to providing instruction in grammar and vocabulary. How this is done varies from school to school, resulting in different levels of integration. Sometimes a single textbook is used because each chapter addresses multiple skills. Other…