Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book-Reading in our lessons? Why not?

I have always liked reading... But during the lesson?
Most people consider this a waste of time, mainly because it does not belong to the material needed to work towards an exam!
So this year I was particularly happy that one of my students is taking an exam that actually requires reading a book and talking / writing about it.
I knew that he was not going to read it himself and of course I was not going to write the summary and the characters' description all by myself, so I decided to devote 15- 20 minutes in each lesson to read a chapter, stopping in some points and asking my students what would happen next and talk about the characters.  My student in return had to write a small summary as homework.
What did I gain from that?
First of all, I made my student read the book! Not only did we finish it, but he was also curious about the end of the story. He was eager to make guesses, to change the endings...

Of course I do not work with all my students on exams that need book-reading, but this gave me the idea to include short stories or even fairy tale books.
You don't have to dedicate the whole hour to the book, 10 minutes are enough.
When you finish the book or the story, you can have a discussion with your students about the characters, the story, if the liked it.
They could also make a small research on the author and talk about their other books, and make comparisons.

I also use short stories at special occasions like Halloween or Christmas. Last year we held a horror story competition and this year we read scary stories, trying to make them even scarier, changing what happened and talking about what they would do if they where the main character of the story.
Here are some of their stories:
story 1
story 2
story 3
story 4
This week's project was a fairytale
My student and I read a wonderful story by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb, called "The Princess who had no Kingdom" with wonderful illustrations talked about what was happening and then she wrote a summary.
Here is her work! 
It is not exam material I know. But students can practice vocabulary, pronunciation, reading skills, understanding, and writing skills.

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