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Reading Strategies

Welcome to our Reading Strategies page. This is a place where you can come and share what works in your classrooms regarding reading and reading strategies. Also, share ideas for resources and tips on how to teach reading to our ESL/ABE/HSS/CTE and GED students.

For your information: Each Blog entry is worth .25 hours of Flex Time

Write your comments below. An entry can consist of a classroom reading activity that you have done or a substantial response to a post.

As a bonus, your name will be entered in a weekly drawing for a prize from our Don Bookstore valued from $5 – $30. Items include, clothing, mugs, pens, etc.

Have fun!

-Janet Cruz

PLC Facilitator

Pictures of all reading strategies blog prize winners for Spring 2015


Sharon Tash

Sharon Tash / HSS

Diana Rivers

Diana Rivers / ESL


Kerry Penning

Kerry Penning


Ellen Welch

Ellen Welch / ESL

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson / ESL


Debbye Karaffa / ESL

Adrian Rios.jpg

Adrian Rios / ESL




  1. Nancy Pakdel says:

    Friday, 3/20/15 For Beginning ESL 2 level (or adaptable to any level): Ellen Welch and I discussed today the following reading strategies which we have used with our students:

    1. Pre-reading questions to spark students’ interest in the story or topic, to relate it to their experience.
    2. Preview picture and title of story to discuss what the story may be about (prediction technique)
    3. If a c.d. comes with the book, listen to it first, without reading; then, listen again while reading the text.
    4. Volunteers who feel confident may take turns reading, to practice pronunciation, and what they have heard.
    5. Post-reading activities: (author Ann Gianola of the More Stories Plus series)
    a. Ask students comprehension questions about the story (not yes/no questions)
    b. Students put new vocabulary in categories (kinesthetic: vocabulary could be on cards and categories in different areas of room)
    c. Students match vocabulary with definitions
    d. Students can practice a short dialogue from the story (pair practice)- Can also work with 3 different partners!
    e. Students can fill in a cloze activity using the vocabulary from the story
    f. Students can practice critical thinking and work in small groups to solve conflicts presented in the story, then compare solutions
    g. Students have topics to discuss, in pairs or small groups, relevant to the story.

    We have found it’s good to have a variety of activities planned, so that vocabulary is practiced in different ways. Also, pair practice, plus changing partners, and small group work is especially effective for getting everyone involved.

    • Rob Jenkins says:

      These are great. I think I will add them to my list of activities I pass our regularly. Did you get them from a particular book?

    • Chris Robinson says:

      Nancy, your list is very thorough. I teach a Reading and Writing class once a week at Cypress College and am currently using Reading Explorer 2, a National Geographic publication. Concerning pre-reading activities, I sometimes type up a list of conversation questions (more questions for higher levels and fewer for lower levels) that – as you said – “preload” student interest and connections to their own experience. To save paper, I just email myself the attachment and pull it up on the SMART Board. For higher levels, there is also a great website ( with a host of topics of interest for conversation, and if you click on any topic, anywhere from 15-200 conversation questions will pull up to help students talk about the subject area that the reading may focus on. If the website questions are too many and too “all over the place,” then I narrow my questions by writing my own. To supplement pictures in the book, I also use a lot of Google images when appropriate to give a richer, fuller, more varied visual stimulus (speaking of which, I always think it’s a good idea to “plan ahead” and check out Google images first because there are so many inappropriate pictures that pull up with just about any search term). I love your idea of doing a pre-listening of the text with an audio track; it’s always great to behold the “Ah-ha!”s of students that are now reading and “filling in the gaps” of what they have just been listening to, while reading the text. I don’t do this often enough, and will try to do it this coming week. It a great holistic, “cross-modal” technique. Thanks for sharing. In addition to doing the post reading activities the textbook supplies, I sometimes have students write a paragraph with a prompt as a springboard to help students cogitate on what they read – and “felt” or learned – as a result of reading. This gives them time to assimilate the new knowledge and modify or add to their schemata (how’s that for reference book-style language? lol). Anyway, thank you for sharing!

  2. Marc Kepler says:

    For virtually every level of ESL, I have the students read the story/article in pairs out loud changing readers at the end of every sentence. The benefits are threefold: this helps with reading fluency, pronunciation practice, and the identification of complete sentences in English. For longer readings at a higher level, I may have them work in groups of three. For beginners, I usually have them read the story in this way twice so that every students is reading every sentence out loud.

    • Erik Gasner says:

      Great ideas. My class(Beg 3/Int 1)loves to read aloud, but I have them do a short paragraph if they feel comfortable. Sometimes i have them read to themselves first or i discuss the title, main idea, or picture if its available. I always do the pre questions to gauge their understanding and interest level. The Easy English newspaper comes monthly and contains mostly high interest stories, vocabulary with definitions, and conversation questions.

  3. Marc Kepler says:

    When possible, I like to use you tube videos to support the content of a reading. For example, after my students read about Vincent van Gogh and do all the vocabulary and comprehension exercises, a short video slide show of his work can really make the lesson memorable. Maybe the students won’t remember every detail about his life, but they will probably remember seeing pictures of some of his most famous works in class. I look for videos of about five minutes or less because their attention may fade quickly if the English is too difficult, but even just a slide show can be effective.

    • Rob Jenkins says:

      There is so much we can do with video these days. This is great Marc. I would suggest we all try to hit a video once a week or so. Not long but maybe 1-3 minutes total is great for ESL students.

  4. Sharon Tash says:

    March 24, 2015 Reading Lesson for credit
    Sharon Tash

    I like to use the prior knowledge of the students to assist with vocabulary experiences in the reading lab B109.
    Example when I present a lesson, I review all of the vocabulary and ask the students what the words mean with active discussion. I usually get a good discussion going and learn from their experiences with language. I try to model and explain as the students appear to have difficulty. I have also given them hints on prefixes and suffixes to help them learn vocabulary and better help with their reading.I found that also help the students in lessons by chunking the vocabulary into smaller parts for better understanding.and this is done by modeling the lessons

  5. Erik Gasner says:

    I’m using a supplemental text now called Amazing stories. It stories grouped into units based on different life situations such as accidents, money, twins, and animals. I love the pre questions for each because it stimulates interest and some categorize the information used in the story such as grouping which helps the students understand better. I try to relate a personal experience to the story and ask if anyone has a similar experience. The post reading activities include matching , true/false, sequencing, and grammar work. I believe the text has 2 levels- low intermediate and high intermediate.

    • Rob Jenkins says:

      Here is what I found online. Is this the right book Erik? It is really cheap at Amazon:
      Amazing Stories 1: To Tell and Retell Paperback – August 31, 1998

      by Lynda Berish (Author), Sandra Thibaudeau (Author)

    • Michele Volz says:

      Hi all,
      I thought of another idea which seems to be effective. Before we tackle a longer-ish piece, I hand out highlighters to the students and instruct them to mark the words they have questions about-either the definition, or the pronunciation. (I’ve found that t the beginning two level, students need to be shown that these are for “highlighting” not underlining) They often mark much more than I would have thought, and it’s fairly easy to walk around and see which words seem to be of difficulty and concentrate on those.

      • Chris Robinson says:

        Hi Michele,

        I like your comment about teaching students how to highlight. It’s all part of the “learning how to learn” curriculum that is so important, especially for lower levels, but even for higher levels. Strategies instruction can include teaching what to highlight and what NOT to. In my Reading and Writing class at Cypress, I use Great Writing 2 by Keith Folse, which teaches students students how to identify the main ideas, topic sentences, effective supporting details, conclusion sentences, etc., at the paragraph level, ultimately so that students will be able to write better. But doing so also teaches them to be more controlled, meta-cognitively aware readers. I believe that teaching students to identify (and ultimately to use) topic sentences, conclusion or transition sentences, transition words such as sequence adverbs, etc. makes for more empowered readers who can then also critically interact with the text and distinguish, for example, between good, effective texts and those that are less so (even within textbooks). If I had enough money, I’d buy different colored highlighters – one, for example, for the topic sentence, one for transition words within the body of the paragraph, one for the conclusion sentence, etc., and then perhaps I’d have them underline vocab items they need to grasp better. “Stop and jot” is also a nice technique that can be used between paragraphs for higher levels, to have students pause and jot notes in the margins or in their notebooks, e.g., to annotate the main idea of each paragraph, or just to jot a note that reminds them how they “felt” when they read a certain detail. Thanks for sharing, Michele!

    • Michele Volz says:

      Are there a number of those in the resource center?

      • Janet says:

        Hi Michele, I like your idea of using a highlighter. It seems that in this way their words would be more visible to me as I’m walking around the classroom. I ask them to circle the words that they’re having trouble with and to reread the sentence. I encourage them to try and make out what it means from the context of the sentence or the story. Today, we went over a chant about Earth day and they had to come up with words to fill in the missing words, there were no right or wrong answers. It just had to make sense to them. Then they shared their results with one another. It went something like this:

        Earth Day!
        Hooray today is Earth Day.
        What are you going to ______?
        We’re going to plant some flowers.
        You could help us, _______!

        We’re going to clean the playground
        and tidy up the ___________.
        We’re listing things to recycle,
        and then we’ll give a _________.

        We’re decorating shopping bags,
        and taking them to a _________
        They’ll give the bags to costumers
        who’ll use the bags some __________

        We’re having a fair on earth day
        so everyone can take _________
        We’re going to help our planet,
        Do you think that’s _________?

        It was interesting when they realized that some of their chants rhymed better than other ones. In this activity they also used their critical thinking skills. I think that it’s important to let our students play around with words without feeling that they’re wrong.

      • Erik Gasner says:

        Yes Books 1 and 2- Amazing stories

    • michele volz says:

      And there are two class sets in the resource room!

  6. Michele Volz says:

    My students are Beginning 2, and our “reading” begins with vocabulary. Instead of giving equal weight to the new vocabulary presented in the very beginning of unit, I ask them which ones are challenging to them, either pronunciation or definition-wise. That way I know right away which ones I’ll use for extra practice, or dictation, etc. I think it’s important to respect what they already know, instead of assuming I need to “teach” them everything.
    When we get to reading a short story later in the unit, I’ll start by giving them time to read silently on their own. Then we tackle it together, paragraph by paragraph, again with me asking before we begin which words were a “problem”, so I can focus on those.

  7. Marc Kepler says:

    Especially for Beginning 1 & 2 classes, I usually have the students listen to the entire text first. Then I’ll read it and have them repeat bit by bit (longer bits for Beginning 2 level). I read only a few words at a time stopping where there is a natural break. In this way, the students get used to the natural flow of English and hopefully some will be able to understand why I’m breaking where I am. For example, I’ll read the subject and the verb and then pause for them to repeat. Then I’ll read a prepositional phrase and pause for them to repeat. For a low Beg. 1 class, I’ll read the entire text twice this way. It’s a bit tedious and may be painstaking for some of the struggling students, but they will improve over time.

  8. Marc Kepler says:

    One new activity I did recently was to have students identify the topics of each paragraph in the reading. I needed to remind them at first that they were not looking for the topic sentence, but only the topic. This meant that their answers might be one or two words only. They had a tendency to just pull one detail out of the paragraph and say that is the topic, so we had to go over the notion of a paragraph topic and that this topic must be something in the entire paragraph and might be more on the general side than specific.

    • Rob Jenkins says:

      Hi Marc, so your class is Beginning 3 and Intermediate 1 right? That sounds like a great activity. I teach my students in Beginning two that each new paragraph is a new idea when they write. We do rudimentary practice when they are writing. So one paragraph is personal information and another is about their families, etc. So your activity aligns perfectly with what I do. Of course your readings are more in depth and will take more practice.

  9. Ms. Diana Rivers Senghor says:

    Hi All;
    My reading strategies consist of two. First, I have ‘Book Club’. The student choose a book (ESL version), and they read the book each day for about 20-25 minutes. Then they write a book report about the book. This way, they learn new vocabulary, practice their writing skills and reading skills. Second, I have them read a text for homework, learn the vocabulary, and practice pronunciation. Then in class, we have what I got from one of the many great flex seminars, ‘Pop-up Reading’. Where the students just pop up and read a paragraph of the story or text from the core reading text that they studied for homework. This sharpens their pronunciation and reading rhythm, and they love reading aloud. Right now, I teach a combo class; ESL Academic Intermediate 2 & 3 at SAC.

  10. Barbara Barone says:


    I teach Employability Skills in the Career Technical Education department. My SLO’s don’t include reading strategies; they do, however, include workplace communication. Since more than half of my students speak English as a second language, I see a need for them to practice and improve their speaking and presentation skills – all important workplace skills. One way to do this is to provide opportunities for them to practice reading out loud in class.

    I frequently ask for volunteers to read passages from the course book out loud. Students are usually very willing to do this. I often break my students into teams during classroom activities. Each team is asked to select a presenter who presents their team activity results in front of the class. The student reads from their notes. This provides another opportunity for students to practice their reading, while reinforcing their speaking and presentation skills.

  11. Sharon Tash says:

    I use organizers to help the students organize their reading and writing thoughts . I have made some and others I have found that work well with the type of reading that we are using in the lab. For example, An organizer that has the main idea plus three main details and a conclusion. As the students are reading, they can make notes as a reference to the main idea of the story, and add three specific details that relate and then the conclusion which helps them to keep organized and also helps in beginning to write a paragraph to summarize if that is the task.
    April 21, 2015.

  12. Sharon Tash says:

    April 21, 2015
    When I give the students an article to read in the lab, I try to have them preview the material first by looking at the title, and skimming the article to find the facts before even beginning to discuss the material. I have practiced this with the students so that they are aware of information that a title can review as in newspapers. Then i have them make notes as to the ideas that are related and we discuss the information to find more about the content and the students can use the information as a stepping stone to answer questions or begin to write a summary . I learned this idea and used it from Reading Apprenticeship course during the summer and it really works well.
    Sharon Tash

  13. Sharon Tash says:

    April 21, 2015
    I have tried this in the lab in a group lesson, the students read the material first, make notes in the margin and underline or highlight words that are unfamiliar, When they have finished, we discuss and share the information and work it as a pair and share type lesson. I have to admit, sometimes it works and others not so well since there are always different students participating each time and some are more willing to open discussions and others are more timid. You really have to know the audience and works better in self contained class room. The one good thing is that the students get to know each other by working together and the teacher does model how it is done first.. The students also have the opportunity to learn new vocabulary to add to their writing.

  14. Sharon Tash says:

    Reading for learning transitions. i did this lesson just this week because students were using the same words as signals in their writing and I wanted to show them how authors use transitions in their writing. I modeled using transitions and explained why and how they are used to add variety to reading and writing. I also provided a list of transitions and questions with blanks that we worked on together in reading. I gave them an article to highlight transitions as signal words and than showed them how they could use these in a simple paragraph with a writing prompt. It was successful and the students like the variety.

  15. Sharon Tash says:

    April 21, 2015
    In the beginning of the class, I took a workshop vocational pathways which was fantastic and gave me ideas for reading and writing with my students in the lab. I made a reading survey of their personal history of reading to learn more about the material that they might enjoy to read and materials that I could use that would be interesting. I learned about the levels that they read at, types of materials they read, and reading backgrounds based on their possible goals for their vocational pathways in the future. I used the information to format a group of lessons for reading and writing based on vocational pathways about job hunts, requirements for jobs that they currently or may want in the future and we read about those with examples. “The most difficult part of the idea was that I had different students much of the time and it would work better in self contained classroom. I also gave the students a three hole folder with handouts for their references. I think that the project was worthwhile, because I noted students using the handouts as a reference guide for other work in the lab.

  16. Alice Jeong says:

    My students are Beginning 2, and I use Adventure in Reading books borrowed from the Resource Center once a week. In Key Vocabulary section, students match new words to the pictures above. This picture dictionary approach to vocabulary building prepares students to tackle the reading more successfully.

    Another excellent section in each chapter is Read You Read. It ask students to make predictions about the reading. Students then read the passage to check their predictions.

  17. Nancy Pakdel says:

    Notably, the beginning level stories are simplistic and do not require much critical thinking. However, a reading strategy for beginning low Health Stories included discussion on how children want to eat by taste, whereas adults have to make decisions according to nutrition facts labels. We examined nutrition facts labels to determine which juice is healthy and which one had too many chemicals. It was a useful strategy and some students were convinced that it is indeed a good idea to look at nutrition facts labels before making a purchase.

  18. Nancy Pakdel says:

    Additionally, our Beginning 2 students read at least one short story a day, relevant to the lesson or unit topic. This insures they are working on their reading skills and learning about sentence structure and making meaningful stories. They also learn vocabulary contextually, rather than as isolated words. Stories of human interest are always more engaging and hold the students’ attention. The students do value the ability to read English, and see its value in everyday life. Many students take copious notes, which can sometimes be distracting, but they think it will help their retention of what they are reading.

  19. Ellen Welch says:

    As Nancy mentioned, we selected a story from Health Stories (by Ann Gianola) for the Beg. 2 level reading. In our Beg. 2/3 class we read the story 3 times. The students first read the story “Choosing Juice” (4 short paragraphs) silently. Then, the students told me about any “new words” that they found, and I put those on the board for class discussion. They answered the T/F comprehension questions that followed the story, first alone, and then as a group. To practice pronunciation and intonation, we read the story again, this time aloud as a class. The final reading was done by 4 volunteer readers, each reading a different paragraph of the story.
    Then, we tried the strategy suggested in the book of discussing topic-related questions, such as “What information do you look at on a Nutrition Facts label?” (Usually, our class has not spent time on extending the reading vocabulary with this type of discussion.) By making a chart on the board, we compared the sugar content (per serving) from the labels on an actual box of apple juice, a can of Pepsi, a bottle of Snapple tea, a box of cookies, and a box of crackers. That 41 grams of sugar in the Pepsi really stood out!! The students seemed to enjoy talking about other information you could get from the Nutrition Facts label as well. One student said that she didn’t know there was information included on vitamin content, for example.
    In short, these topic-related questions generated a practical whole-class discussion that made use of vocabulary and content from the reading.

    Maybe a good assessment of this strategy would be to provide a quiz on the material next week (?)

  20. Jennifer Feeney says:

    A reading strategy I use in my classroom is a Close Read. A Close Read has students read and reread the texts. Most Close Reads have the students visit/reread the same text three separate times. A Close Read requires students analyze the texts more thoroughly. Basically, the first reading will focus on what the text says, the second will emphasize how the text works, and the third will engage students in evaluating the text. There are precise and predetermined questions based on the evidence in the text. I also teach the students how to use Metacognitive Marks to interact with the text so it has more meaning for them.

  21. Jennifer Feeney says:

    Evidence-based writing is another reading/writing strategy I use in the classroom. Once students have had the opportunity to participate and feel successful in a Close Read, we move to evidence based writing. Basically, evidence based writing is writing in which students use evidence from the text to support their points. Students learn how to read and text and pull information (evidence) from the text to support their points. Not only are students still doing a Close Read with the text, but now they are going one step further and learning how to writing using the evidence they have found in the text.

  22. Rachel Don says:

    Previewing is an excellent strategy. In Beg. 1 I choose stories with a pre-reading photo. The students give their input of what the story is about. I encourage them to share their thoughts. This activity builds their confidence and stimulates the students’ interest in reading the story.

  23. Debbye Karaffa says:

    One strategy I have tried with my beginning level classes this year involves teaching the Dolch Sight words. This a list of the most frequently occurring words in English. It was originally developed for children and drew on children’s literature, but I find that most of the words are applicable for ESL purposes. So they won’t be too intimidated by looking at the list of 220 words (I give them a complete list, but also break it up into shorter practice lists of 40 or so words), I tell my students that they probably already know many of the words. When I first give them the list, I have them look it over and mark the ones they know already with a highlighter (or check mark or underline).

    I explain that learning them will improve their reading fluency, and also help their speaking, listening, and writing in English. On the list are many words that come up in our lessons: number words, color words, subject pronouns, object pronouns, prepositions, information question words, adjectives, conjunctions, and verbs. We practice them independently, and then when they come up in a lesson, they are already familiar with them.

    We practice the words in a variety of ways to learn the spelling, pronunciation, and use. Many of the words are phonetic, but included are words that are not, such as “eight, of, once, one, light, does, and know”. There are homonyms like “to, too, and two”, so we have the chance to practice choosing the correct word and recognizing which word it is by context. At first, students repeat the words after me, then they can practice reading them aloud and test each other from their lists. Sometimes, I have them write the word I say on their individual white boards to practice the recognition and spelling of the words. When we are writing sentences or approach a reading text, I like to point out how many of the words are on the sight words list so they can concentrate more on the new vocabulary or grammar structure we are learning.

    For fun, we sometimes play a sight word bingo game. Sometimes I read the words and they look for them on their bingo card, or they can play in smaller groups with students taking turns to draw a word and say it aloud for the group. Then they get the practice trying to pronounce the word correctly so the group can understand and search for the word. If possible, they use the word in a sentence to increase understanding (or to differentiate which homonym).

  24. Kerry Penning says:

    I have a simple “reading for comprehension” strategy to share with teachers of students in high school subjects or those students transitioning to high school or college from the higher ESL classes. Tell the student: Enjoy what you are reading. Students engaged in textbook study are often loath to do any serious (focused) reading of a chapter before launching into the required ‘guided reading packet’ or ‘open book test’. Both instruments must be completed before taking a ‘closed book test’ of a particular chapter or unit, and students frequently begin their “hunting” for answers before they even know what the chapter is all about. Students receiving an orientation about the course, usually need to be reassured that the work they are about to undertake (reading, writing and testing – yikes!) is not a waste of time and can be a fruitful and even enjoyable experience. It’s not just another 5 credits to add to their transcript, but a learning experience. Still, the textbook is 500+ pages long (!) and the student’s past academic practice has been to only utilize textbooks as reference material. I had one student on her first night tackling US History, pick up the text, plop it down on the study table and question, “I don’t actually have to read this thing, do I”?
    The best advice one can give to students who must settle down, crack that textbook, and start making some headway on Chapter One is to slow down, enjoy their reading, and feel good about learning something new. This rule of comprehension – to not move any faster than you are able to swallow and digest the material – is not just for a basic understanding of the material, but to allow for an appreciation of how that material integrates into a larger picture. A higher level of understanding will hopefully lead to a healthy curiosity about the material, the topic, and eventually the subject, in general. By reading slow enough so that one can afford a parallel stream of thought – a kind of mental imagery – the material, strangely, becomes familiar and even enjoyable. And as we know, comprehension is higher when one is reading that which is familiar as opposed to what is unfamiliar. Relating the material to one’s own life experience usually not only educates the reader, but stimulates the reader to go beyond what they are learning and project future scenarios with that information (a uniquely human trait). That is the ultimate purpose of a textbook – to give the reader a fundamental knowledge base from which they can then formulate ideas that may challenge and go beyond the current paradigm of that particular field or discipline. While a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets can never go out of date, there has never been a textbook written not subject to an eventual re-vision.
    So as a taxi driver might say to soothe an anxious fare in heavy traffic – worried about being late for an important date cross-town – “Relax, sit back, and enjoy the ride”, I tell students to slow down, read every page (don’t skip the tables, charts, graphs, or even the cartoons), learn something new, and enjoy the experience.

  25. Kerry Penning says:

    Here’s another study technique for your students that my help in getting the most out of textbook readings.
    1. Read your textbook paragraph by paragraph without a pen or highlighter in hand.
    2. After you finish a paragraph, decide if any information in that paragraph is worth highlighting or underlining.
    3. Using your highlighter or pen, highlight or underline the most important key words or phrases.
    4. Write a number (starting with #1) in the margin of the text next to the highlighted or underlined material.
    5. Put the same number on your notepad and write a question based on the information you have just highlighted or underlined in the textbook. Since the information you highlighted or underlined is the answer to the question you wrote, you do not have to write the answer in your notes!
    6. Proceed with your studying/reading and every time you find important information, assign it a number and follow the same process.
    As you finish a chapter or section, you can quickly test your retention of what you have just learned by going over the questions in your notes and answering them from memory.

  26. Rob Jenkins says:

    Here are two entries from Adrian Rios. I am submitting them on his behalf.

    Reading Strategy #1.

    I utilized a variety of reading strategies, but one that sticks out to me is the implementation of mirror reading. I had students read a prompt and the listener has to repeat the same exact words or phrases back to the original reader. This is a good way to clarify what is being said and it is a good indicator to immediately check for understanding. This was a great way for students to learn from each other. Of course the difficulty can be if the original reader says the word wrong, what happens? This is when I walk around to make sure that students are saying the word correctly and that they learn from their mistakes.

    Reading Strategy #2

    Students were put into circles and were asked to read a sentence. One selected student who is known as the reader is asked to read a specific sentence or phrase for everyone. All other students are then asked to repeat the sentence that was presented to them. The student who does not repeat the same sentence is asked to become the next reader so that he or she can practice on what he or she needs to read correctly. This is a good way for all students to see the original sentence and learn from each other.

    For example, What is your favorite fruit?

    All students are asked to repeat this sentence, once it is heard.

    You can also use “process of elimination” for those readers who get it wrong and have them watch the other students repeat other sentences that are read out loud. This really worked with my students.

    • I like these two reading strategies because they are interactive with the teacher as the moderator. All of the students are engaged and allows them to use the various modalities – listening, reading, and speaking. I would go one step further with the students repeating a sentence or question they hear and then writing it down. This way it becomes a dictation, too. The teacher gets to float around between the groups and listen for reading abilities and pronunciation. The teacher also can see if a student has trouble understanding sentences that are being read to them (by another student).

      Each week I give a dictation in my ESL Civics class, and in preparation for the dictation, I have the students read each sentence/question outloud (that is what they will be required to do when they take their US Naturalization Exam); then, I read it and have the students repeat after me. Next, I turn each sentence into a question and in response the students need to read the corresponding sentence. After they practice writing all of the sentences 3 times each in order to practice for the dictation, we formally begin the dictation. I often read the sentences and have the students write what they hear, but the best days are when one student dictates to a partner. This inspires students to work hard to read the sentences correctly (with good pronunciation) because they know their partners will listen and write what the first person has read.

      Last, I would like to say that the second strategy sounds fun. Using “process of elimination” makes it a game to see who can stay until the last student or two. Students will be motivated to listen really well and repeat and will give the reading motivation to read clearly and correctly so others will understand them. I am going to give this a try in my ESL Beginning 2 and my Pronunciation classes!

  27. michele volz says:

    How about reading for INCORRECTness? This might fall in the grammar point section, but this is a good way for students to identify common mistakes. I type up a list of sentences and number them. You can make half of them error-free, and the other half with typical mistakes. Make copies and give one sheet to a group of two students that you randomly pair by numbering off, or another way.
    You can tell them how many need correcting, or not-up to you.
    Ask them to identify the incorrect sentences, and to make the corrections (if you double space the sentences it’s easier).
    I usually do this with the writing they do for the pre-test, so I can use their own work, without identifying who made mistakes of course.

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