A Journey in TEFL











image from #eltpics via @mkofab

In December, I had the chance to listen to Steven Krashen at YTU ELT symposium. He talked about the importance of reading, how he became a good reader and what narrow reading is. You can read Marisa Constantinides’ fabulous post on Dr Krashen’s talk here.

That was the time I went back to the past and thought how I became a reader. I did the narrow reading. There was a time in my life, I read Enid Blyton novels, then came the French classics and the Russians, I fell in love with Sartre, Camus and their contemporaries, then came the Italian novelists and the South Americans and of course there was a time I only read British novelists. There was a time I read poetry only -Orhan Veli, Melih Cevdet, Zahrad.

I was lucky to have two primary school teachers who led me to the paths of reading so I want to follow their footsteps. I believe teachers can help students become good readers. That’s why I think about fun activities to go with reading lessons.

Here you will find some activities that I use with my classes.

1. Tic-tac-toe

Write questions from the story or novel on slips of papers or post-it-notes and number them from 1-9. (Prepare double or triple questions for each number as students may not answer the questions)

Put in an envelope or a box or stick the papers on a ‘tic-tac-toe’ grid.

Team your students as Xs and Os.

Draw a tic-tac-toe grid on the board and tell them to choose a number. Take the numbered post-it from your tic-tac-toe handout. If they answer the question correctly, cross the number with X or O.

Continue until the questions finish.




2 3




5 6




8 9



2. Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

Play the game with questions from the novel or the story you read in the class.


3. Who said that?

Choose quotes or sentences from the novel

Divide the class into two teams.

Ask students “Who said that?”


4. Snowball fights

Tell students to write questions or quotes from the novel or the story on a piece of paper.

Tell them to make a paper snowball and allow them to play snowball fights for a while.

Stop them

Tell them to take the closest snowball and answer the questions.

You can guide them to ask their questions according to Bloom’s Taxonomy using http://teachers.ash.org.au/researchskills/dalton.htm#top

Now I’d like you to invite my first ever blog challenge :)

Would you like to share some of your favorite reading activities on your blog?

If you don’t blog, I’d be very happy to host your post on this blog.



10 Comments so far

  1.    Hall Houston on February 4, 2013 8:04 am      Reply

    Some wonderful ideas here!

    Here are four activities that work well with any text (news articles or paragraphs from a coursebook as well as readers novels and short stories). The first two are based on activities from Language Activities from Teenagers – edited by Seth Lindstromberg (Cambridge) and the second two are based on activities from Humanising Your Coursebook – by Mario Rinvolucri (Delta).

    1. Write a short paragraph from your article, story, or novel up on the board. Ask students to choose one word from the paragraph and be ready to make a sentence using the word. The sentence should be about the student. After a couple of minutes of thinking time, call on one student to read out his/her sentence. Make sure you know which word he/she chose and cross it out. Continue this procedure until about 2/3 of the paragraph is gone. Challenge the class to read out the paragraph from memory.

    2. Ask students to re-read the text and write down 7 questions about it. They can be language questions, comprehension questions, or personalized questions. When everyone has written out their questions, put a chair at the front of the class. For 2 minutes, everyone should call out their questions. The student in the chair tries to answer them. After 2 minutes, the activity repeats with a different student, chosen by the previous one. Continue until most of the class has had an opportunity to sit in the chair.

    3. Similar to #2 above, students write questions about a text. This time, put them into 2 teams. Each team creates 10 questions to give to the other group. The teams exchange questions, then return the questions with answers when they have finished. The team who wrote the questions then grades the other team’s answers.

    4. Write 2 headings on the board: QUESTIONS and COMMENTS. Students come to the board and write up their questions and comments on the text.


    •    Eva Buyuksimkesyan on February 4, 2013 12:42 pm      Reply

      Thanks a lot for all these great ideas.I’ll try them with my reading classes.

  2.    Arzu Baloglu on February 5, 2013 9:28 am      Reply

    Hi Eva,
    Your ideas are absolutely fantastic. Thanks again for sharing them.I look forward to using them in my classes.
    I used Glogster with my students as an after reading activity.My students simply prepared online posters about the story they read.I think it helped them to understand the story and the characters better.You can check it out here. http://arzubal.posterous.com/174490496

    •    Eva Buyuksimkesyan on February 5, 2013 1:07 pm      Reply

      Hi Arzu,

      Just checked them. They are wonderful. Thanks for sharing :)

  3.    kimberly Hatch on February 8, 2013 7:14 pm      Reply

    I love the ideas and games. I know that it will be beneficial to the reading success of many students.

  4.    Daniela Bunea on February 11, 2013 11:28 am      Reply

    I liked many of these ideas, thank you for sharing.
    I used Animoto with my students last semester – they made short book trailers as recommendations for reading.

  5.    gabriel on February 21, 2013 1:48 pm      Reply

    I love EDU blogs

  6.    Yesim Cakir on April 1, 2013 10:55 am      Reply

    I just saw your post dear Eva, great ideas! TY!
    Here are 2 reading activities I shared on my blog:
    Running and Reading http://www.yesimcakir.com/2011/10/24/running-and-reading/

    Who will answer first? http://www.yesimcakir.com/2011/10/02/who-will-answer-first/

    Hope you like them!

  7.    Lindsey Estes on April 28, 2013 12:52 pm      Reply

    Hi! My name is Lindsey Estes. I am a student at The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am an elementary education major and in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 Course. In EDM 310 we learn about using different technology resources in our future classrooms. I have really enjoyed reading through your posts. You have shared some great ideas that I plan to use in my classroom as well. Reading is such a fundamental subject that our students need to learn well and enjoy doing because they will use it for the remainder of their lives, especially while they are in school. Reading is integrated into every subject in some way. We want out students to learn to love reading. Thank you for sharing such wonderful tips and activities.

  8.    Cherry Jane on May 9, 2014 10:13 am      Reply

    Thank you so much for these ideas. This will make my reading class more fun!


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