Making reading and listening comprehension more fun
Here is an email I received today about making reading and listening more fun:
"Dear Shelley, I really appreciate the help you've offered me and I bet you I'm going to work on that, Oh! by the way one more thing can you give me some suggestions to make my reading and listening classes more interesting, because sometimes the students get bored easily specially because the readings are not so funny."
I had this fun idea which just popped up from somewhere in that brain of mine. I think this would be great fun to do as it challenges the readers to read convincingly and naturally and it engages the listeners fully rather than having them listening passively.
You have a reading passage.
Ask a class member to read out a part of it and so on around the class until a few students have had a turn at reading while others listen. Yawn…pretty dull way of doing things.
Take the same scenario and liven it up!
1. Cut up a piece of paper so that you have one strip per student in your class.
2. Write out five sentences that have nothing to do with the reading passage, or are related but don’t fit exactly. Then write out scribbles on all the other pieces. Why scribbles? Because other students will not know from a distance if those scribbles are sentences, whereas someone could more easily see if a paper is blank.
3. Shuffle the papers and hand them out one per student. Students insert these into their reading book and/or position them so that no one else can see them.
4. Randomly pick a student to read. The student reads the paragraph and somewhere in there he/she must insert the rogue sentence WITHOUT the class noticing.
The job of the other students is to listen carefully and spot the rogue sentence, if there is one. They won’t know at any time if there really is such a sentence so they will have to listen all the more carefully.
5. After reading the paragraph see if there are any votes for a rogue sentence. And also ASK A QUESTION about the passage.
Listening out for rogue sentences helps on several levels:
1. Firstly it is quite a skill to read a passage out and naturally slip in a sentence that does not fit or sounds silly. It will be fun for the students to try to do this without giving the game away through hesitation or laughing.
2. The other students have a really good reason to listen, because they are not just listening passively to some content, but are actively engaged in trying to spot something that sounds out of context or unlikely content.
Now don’t use this idea every time or it will get boring and get one of my books so you have more ideas like it! Links below to the download version and the paperback.
Bye for now,
Shelley Ann Vernon