Your students complain about doing any reading activities but you know they have to be done? You tried setting it as homework, but if only 50% of students complete it, that’s a win?
Check out these ideas on how to make your students interested in reading before you even present the text!
The secret is to give the students a purpose for reading a text, other than to answer comprehension questions. Let’s face it – answering reading comprehension questions is a boring task, especially if the topic is not very exciting.
So next time, rather than saying: Read the text and answer the questions, try some of these activities instead:
#1 Just the title
On the board write the title of the text the students are going to read.
Students work in groups and make predictions about the text. Give them a few minutes to make some notes.
When they’ve finished, they read the text to check their predictions.
You can award the winners – the group which was the closest wins.
#2 Make predictions
Choose a few key words and phrases from the text.
Students look at them and have to make predictions about the text they’re going to read. But this time their predictions have to be more detailed than in the previous activity. Their task is to write a summary of the text that they think they will read.
When they’ve finished, they read out their summaries.
Next, they read the full text to check how correct their summaries were. They award themselves one point for each piece of information they got right.
#3 Text in parts
Make a copy of the text and cut it into parts. Give each part to a different student or group.
The students read their part of the text thoroughly. Next, they look at the comprehension questions for the task and check which questions they can answer using their part of the text.
When they’ve finished, the other students explain which questions they were able to answer.
All the students now read the full text and answer any remaining questions.
#4 Story in order
This idea works best with stories.
Before the lesson, cut the story into smaller parts. Put your students into groups or pairs. Give each group a different part of the story.
They have 2 minutes to read the text and to remember as much as they can. When the time is up, they put their texts face down on the table.
Now, each group tells the others about their part of the text. They can’t look at it while they talk!
The whole class has to put the full story in order only by listening to each group talk about their part.
#5 First and last
From the text your students will be reading, take the first and last sentences and write them on the board.
Students work in groups or pairs. Each group has to write 5-10 sentences (you set the limit) that will connect the beginning with the end in a logical way.
When they’ve finished, they read the original text to see how close they got.
#6 Recreate the text
This activity works for tasks where there is more than one text to read. For example, in an exam task: FCE or CAE.
Students work in groups. Give each group one text to read.
Their task is to read the text and summarise it in a form of a mind map.
All groups exchange their mind maps. Now, each group looks at another group’s mind map and tries to recreate the original text. They can do it verbally or in writing. At the end, they check with the original texts.
#7 Answers first
Before reading the text, students read the comprehension questions and think about what the answers might be.
Next, they read the text and check their guesses. And now, having read the text, they answer the questions again.
We hope your students will love doing reading tasks thanks to these activities!