Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A graded reader listening exercise

I went to a session at the Kotesol National Conference with Paul Nation where he talked about the 10 most effective activities for vocab acquisition.  The list included such things as extensive reading, well-designed book work, intensive reading, and speed reading.

The one thing that most interested me, but that I've never done before is the idea of listening to stories.  The idea is to get a graded reader which is at the student's level and read a bit to them each class.  When the story gets exciting, you end it with a "to be continued."  At the beginning, you can read each sentence 2 times, once slowly, and the second time more quickly.  Write words they may not know on the board.  Towards the end of the book, read each sentence only once and a bit more quickly and it becomes more of a fluency exercise vs. a meaning-focused input one.  He recommended "Of Mice and Men" and "The Phantom of the Opera" in graded reader form.

I plan to do this next semester in all my classes.  Perhaps the last 5 minutes of class or so.  I do like the idea of students reading graded readers on their own, but with 9 classes of 20-25 students this just doesn't seem so feasible (money or logistics wise) for me to carry out, which is why I like the idea of me reading the story to them.  I'll keep you updated with results.

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