Interactive Reading Activity for ESL Classroom

Posted: November 3, 2010 in Education Articles

In your ESL class you will most likely have students reading out loud when you are covering a reading passage. One way to do this is to have students take turns reading one sentence or paragraph at a time. The activity presented here lets you involve the whole class while completing this task to keep everyone actively engaged.

To start off, select a reading passage that uses the target vocabulary from the unit you are covering this week. These can be found in the text book you use. One could even write out his own short passage that contains these words. Of course, this option takes more time and effort, but it gives you more control over what is being read and the level of difficulty.

Now that you have the reading, go through the document and white out about twenty words. Ideally you’ll want as many deleted words as you have students in your class. The trick is to decide which words can be omitted without making the entire meaning of the passage too difficult to understand. Put these deleted words on an index card. Every word will have its own index card. Make copies of the passage to hand out to the students. Be sure to save a copy of the original text, with no words deleted, to use as a reference.

To start the ESL activity, pass out the reading and one index card to each student. Inform the class that the passage will be read out loud as a class. Students will take turns reading one sentence each. If a reader is faced with a sentence that contains a word whited out he is to stop. Everyone must look at their index card and determine if their word is the appropriate one to fill in the blank. After letting the class discuss the correct word and its meaning, you can let everyone know what the word was supposed to be. There will be times when several students feel like their word is the one that correctly fills in the blank. This is an opportunity for the ESL students to actively learn as a group. As a class you can figure out why one word makes sense and another one does not.

Go through the entire passage and tell students to write in the correct words on their paper as you go. Students will be actively engaged, even when they are not reading, since they are expected to possibly offer their word to the reader. This exercise will work for little kids all the way up to adult learners.

Andrew Lawton


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