A reading lesson’s main aim is to develop the reading abilities of your students. They typically will focus on developing both reading for main idea (by practicing skimming – or reading quickly with an uninterrupted flow e.g. not stopping to look up words in the dictionary) as well as reading for further detail or specific info skills. After receiving input from a reading source, at the end of the lesson, the students will get practice with output (i.e. with a speaking and/or writing activity). The ‘go-to’ lesson framework for reading lessons (generally based on a 40 – 60 minute lesson) to help guide the teacher in the classroom, is as follows (you can click the hyperlinks to get more detail about each specific stage and below the framework are lesson examples):
- Lead-in: Engage the students in the context of the lesson. Generally, a good practice for a lead-in is to elicit a keyword relating to the topic, and then give them a pair-speaking activity also relating to the topic. Try to keep the lead-in to be around 3 minutes minimum and 7 minutes maximum. It’s good practice to tie the lead-in with what they’ll be doing in the productive activity.
- [Vocabulary Language Clarification/Pre-Teach Blocking Vocabulary]: Teach words (typically 4-7) that might be difficult for the students to understand and that will block their ability to comprehend the main idea or important details of the article.
- Introduce Reading or Listening Text with a Gist Question(s): Introduce the reading with a comprehension question(s) so the students can practice reading for the main idea.
- [Vocabulary Language Clarification/Pre-Teach Blocking Vocabulary]: Teach difficult vocabulary from context after the gist but before the more next reading or listening comprehension questions.
- Further Comprehension Questions: Give the students further reading or listening practice with more specific comprehension questions. Typical comprehension questions focus on reading for detail (to get a deeper comprehension of the written text) and scanning for specific information (i.e. looking for keywords such as a specific time, number(s), or word(s) etc.)
- [Preparation]: Here the students can do some sort of quick activity to help them prepare for the proceeding productive activity i.e. brainstorming, writing down some notes, speaking in partners, doing a modified version of the productive task etc. These activities are optional, and if done, should be done so rather quickly (perhaps 2-5 min tops). Typically, if writing takes place during this stage, it should be done via quick notes rather than full sentences or paragraphs.
- Productive Activity (Speaking or Writing): Give them an activity that has them practicing a productive skill (speaking or writing) for fluency, meaning that you want to have activities that promote student-to-student interaction speaking with an uninterrupted flow or a writing activity that promotes writing at the paragraph level with connected sentences (not just writing notes, bulletin points, or separate individual sentences) also in an uninterrupted flow.
- [Productive Activity (Speaking or Writing) 2]: Sometimes it’s nice to have two productive activities time permitting. Both could be two writing or two speaking activities, though, might be nice to have, perhaps, one focused on speaking and the other on writing. Just note, if you have two productive activities, make sure they both focus on fluency development and realize that reading out loud (i.e. something they wrote in the previous productive activity) is NOT a true speaking activity (that would be reading out loud). Speaking requires with coming up with language on the spot, not reading a pre-written script (which would be more focused on pronunciation).
Note: The stages in [ ] are optional; usually you will do either/or i.e. either pre-teach after or before the gist task but not both. Also, if you do not think there is any blocking vocabulary that needs to be taught, then you can bypass teaching vocabulary all together in a receptive lesson. The preparation activity is completely optional.
Philosophy Behind the Framework:
With the lead-in and teaching some potentially challenging vocabulary you help the learners be ready and able to fully digest the reading material. By first focusing on the main idea by having them read relatively quickly, you teach them a really important skill which is that they DON’T NEED TO UNDERSTAND EVERY WORD in order to read a text and understand the gist. Also, it improves their speed in terms of reading comprehension. After receiving input on the subject, they are then best ready to produce output regarding the context (basically, the whole lesson prior to the productive activity, in a sense, is one large preparation activity to get them fully ready to speak or write about the specific topic with an emphasis on fluency). Though, do note that although the final activity is essentially the climax of the lesson, the actual main aim shouldn’t be lost: to develop their reading abilities.
Reading Lesson Plans:
Here are some ready-to-go lessons for you to implement inside the classroom and/or use as examples to create your very own lesson plans.
The mid-intermediate English level is in-between an upper-intermediate and pre-intermediate learner that corresponds with the ‘B1’ scale of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) language proficiency guidelines, which you can learn more about here. These lessons are most suitable for the intermediate level; however, they could be implemented in both a pre-intermediate as well as in an upper-intermediate classroom.
Mexican Indépendance Day/National Holidays
Learn more about Mexican Independence Day in this fun reading lesson that will improve your students’ abilities to read and give some great speaking practice in the context of National Holidays. Oh and spoiler alert: Cinco de Mayo is NOT, actually, Mexican Independence Day. But, either way, you might need to get out the sombreros 🙂 ¡Viva National Holidays! Relates to the topics of Holidays, Mexico, Independence Day, Culture, Dispelling Myths, Festivals, and Countries/Country Celebrations.
International Ninja Day/International Days
December 5th is International Ninja Day! Who would have thought?!? Get those ninja stars & kung fu moves ready for a fun and interactive reading lesson based on the theme of International Days, which ends with your students creating their very own International Day to share with the class. Relates to topics such as Holidays, International Days, Ninjas, and the month of December.