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.
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. 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.
Tell them to take the closest snowball and answer the questions.
Another short story I love reading with my students is Eveline from Dubliners. I know it is difficult to understand Joyce for a teenager yet when guided, students get something from Dubliners. I have tried Eveline and Araby and they worked well.
I’d like to share what I do with ‘Eveline’.
Describe Ireland, Dublin and Dubliners at the beginning of the 20th century.
Create a glogster
Add links and ask students to research and tell you what they’ve come up with.
Put students in groups and ask them to guess the story.
Read the story and discuss your questions.
As a follow up, distribute a handout with the 1st paragraph of the story on.
Tell students to continue the story and adapt it to 21st century. I’m sure their Eveline will be more courageous.
Tell them to digitalise their story.
They can create a slideshow, glogster, comic or an animation.
Here you can see what I had previously wrote about ‘Eveline’
After reading Eveline then Enoch’s Two Letters by Alan Sillitoe, one of the angry young men of literature, I realized we can compare the two women in these two stories, Eveline and Edna. When I choose to read Eveline in class, I usually continue with Enoch’s Two Letters.
After we read the story, I tell my students to compare and contrast Eveline and Edna
They can write an essay
Create posters (glogster) describing two women, highlighting their differences.
They can write a pop song comparing Eveline and Edna.
Reading is a must for me. I feel guilty when I can’t find time to read. I feel stressed if I can’t finish a book I have started reading. I know we grew in a world where we had be told that the books a the best friends and things are not the same anymore. Still I need to hold a real book, turn its pages, write notes on the margins, cover the page edges to continue later, tidy the shelves of my bookcases.
It is a bit difficult but I also want my kids to become passionate readers and so do my students.
I love teaching reading!
It is possible to teach so many things with one book. In my following posts I will share some titles that I love using in class and I will also be very happy if you share your thoughts.
Sometimes it is difficult to read novels in the class. Yet we usually choose at least two readers according to students’ levels to read and talk in the class but we also work with short stories a lot. It is often very challenging to use them. As they are short, they don’t make the students discouraged and if I tell them that the story is not a simplified one they feel motivated.
The following sites are great when I need help and support.
I will be at Boğaziçi University tomorrow for the Third Elt Students’ conference. Unfortunately I’ve missed todays sessions as I had to be at school for Teacher-Parent meeting.
I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow as it is organised by a group of ELT students from Bilgi and Boğaziçi University. As far as I follow, they are five very enthusiastic and hardworking ladies. I’m sure we will hear their names very much in the near future. I send them a big applause for what they’ve done and will do.
Reading Activities Spiced up with Web 2.0
‘My students don’t read the books I assigned.’ Isn’t it a problem for many of us? If only they could realise how much they would improve themselves when they read. How about motivating them with fun activities? When they find something interesting, they will love it. In this session we will look into some fun activities to be used with class readers, short stories or novels.
At Bahçeşehir University, on May 14th, I had the chance to listen to Stephen Krashen, who was the person on my linguistics notes, PD courses I attended and there he was talking about his acquisition theory.
I’m not going to tell about the whole event as I was there only in the morning and rushed to my school, to be in the school yard with my friends for the school reunion.
Here are some very useful tips from Professor Krashen
Stories are very important.
Reading is the key for improvement. Free Voluntary Reading will help our learners do better.
From listening to stories, we evolve to reading books and literature.
Teachers should be storytellers. -I’m sure he didn’t mean we should be like amazing Jan Blake, I simply can’t 🙁
Literature is at the core of language arts, it is the philosophy
Compelling comprehensive input is a must. Interesting is not enough.
The better the school library is, the reading score goes up.
School libraries are great opportunities for the ones who cannot buy the books.
To stay young or to prevent Alzheimer we should do the followings.
DRINK COFFEE: He suggested 3 cups of freshly brewed coffee a day.