Aim: Awareness raising about different reading styles
Activity: Discussion and identification of reading styles with follow-up identification activity
Level: Intermediate - upper intermediate
Ask students about what types of reading they do in their own mother tongue(s).
Write different categories of written material on board. i.e. magazines, novels, train
schedules, newspapers, advertising, etc.
Have students describe how they go about reading each kind of material. You may want to
prompt them by asking the following questions:
Do you read every word in the tv schedule?
Do you understand every word you read when reading a novel?
What kind of clues can the presentation of the material give?
How much time do you spend reading the newspaper? Do you read every single word?
What kind of assumptions do you make when you read the first few lines, or a headline?
(i.e. Once upon a time....)
How much time do you spend reading the various types of materials?
Based on students' answers to such questions, ask them to identify the type of skills they
are using in the various reading situations.
Divide students into small groups and give them the skills summary and short worksheet.
Have students discuss their opinions about the various skills required for the listed
Present various "real world" materials (i.e. magazines, books, scientific materials,
computer manuals etc.) and ask students to identify the necessary skills required.
Note: There is often not a single correct answer, several choices may be possible according to
your reading purpose. If you find that there are different possibilities, state the situation in which
you would use the various skills.
The TV guide for Friday evening
An English grammar book
An article in National Geographic magazine about the Roman Empire
A good friend's homepage on the Internet
The opinion page in your local newspaper
The weather report in your local newspaper
A bus timetable
A fax at the office
An advertising email - so called "spam"
An email or letter from your best friend
A short story by your favourite author
Aim: Reading practice focusing on scanning
Activity: Comprehension questions used as cues for scanning a TV schedule
Do a short awareness raising session by asking students how they go about making decisions
based on schedules, short articles etc. Focus on whether they read every word and if the read
in strict order when making such a decision in their own mother tongue.
Remind them that this process is the same in English and does not require that they
understand every word perfectly.
Distribute comprehension questions and TV schedule to students.
Make a special point of asking students to complete the exercise by first reading the question
and then scanning for the appropriate answer.
Ask students to use the TV schedule to answer the questions. To increase difficulty add a
timing element (this should help students who insist on understanding every word to not do
Correct activity as a class.
Extend activity by bringing in a number of magazines concerning travel, entertainment or a
similar activity and asking students to complete a given task - for example finding a
destination they would like to visit or choosing a film they would like to see. Once again, ask
students to do the exercise by scanning and not reading each word.
First read the following questions and then use the TV Schedule to find the answers.
1. Jack has a video - can he watch both documentaries without having to make a video?
2. Is there a show about making good investments?
3. You are thinking about traveling to the USA for a vacation. Which show should you
4. Your friend doesn't have a TV, but would like to watch a film starring Tom Cruise. Which
film should you record on your video?
5. Peter is interested in wild animals which show should he watch?
6. Which sport can you watch that takes place outside?
7. Which sport can you watch that takes place inside?
8. You like modern art. Which documentary should you watch?
9. How often can you watch the news?
10. Is there a horror film on this evening?
6.00 p.m.:National News - join Jack
Parsons for your daily news roundup.
6.30: The Tiddles- Peter joins Mary for
a wild adventure in the park.
7.00: Golf Review- Watch highlights
from today's final round of the Grand
8.30: Shock from the Past- This
entertaining film by Arthur Schmidt
takes a poke at the wild side of
10.30: Nightly News- A review of the
day's most important events.
11.00: MOMA: Art for Everyone- A
fascinating documentary that helps you
enjoy the difference between pointilism
and video installations.
12:00: Hard Day's Night- Reflections
after a long, hard day.
6.00 p.m.: In-Depth News - In-depth
coverage of the most important
national and international news
7.00: Nature Revealed- Interesting
documentary taking a look at the
microscopic universe in your average
speck of dust. 7.30: Ping - Pong
Masters- Live coverage from Peking.
9.30: It's Your Money- That's right
and this favorite game show could
make or break you depending on how
you place your bets. 10.30: Green
Park- Stephen King's latest monster
madness. 0.30: Late Night News-
Get the news you need to get a hard
start on the upcoming day.
6.00 p.m.:Travel Abroad- This week we
travel to sunny California!
6.30: The Flintstones- Fred and Barney
are at it again.
7.00: Pretty Boy- Tom Cruise, the
prettiest boy of them all, in an action
packed thriller about Internet espionage.
9.00: Tracking the Beast- The little
understood wildebeest filmed in its
natural surroundings with commentary
by Dick Signit.
10.00: Pump Those Weights- A guide
to successfully using weights to develop
your physique while getting fit.
11.30: The Three Idiots- A fun farce
based on those three tenors who don't
know when to call it quits.
1.00: National Anthem- Close the day
with this salute to our country.
Extensive reading in English with the help of a good English dictionary on a
variety of real life topics is one of the ways to learn English vocabulary. Since
there is an enormous amount of reading material in English, a learner of English
has to prioritise reading in subjects according to learner's needs for using English
to encompass first the most necessary, relevant and frequently used vocabulary.
Day-to-day topics ought to come first in reading.
Reading materials can be arranged by level of difficulty of vocabulary - for
learners at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Learners can master the
most important English vocabulary by reading thematic texts (materials), first of
all on everyday topics with important content, for example: Practical Tips and
Advice to Make Everyday Life Easier and Better (practical solutions for everyday
problems). Such self-help books on settling everyday matters are available at book
In addition to thematic informative texts (materials), learners can read thematic
dialogues (samples of real life conversations between people), narrative realistic
stories, fine literature, newspapers, magazines, Internet materials, books in various
subjects, general thematic English dictionaries, etc.
Good general thematic English dictionaries arrange vocabulary by subject matter
(topics) and provide clear word usage explanations and also a few usage sentences
for each word meaning, which is especially important. English synonym
dictionaries provide usage explanations and usage examples for words with similar
meaning. Thematic general English dictionaries combined with English synonym
dictionaries are a valuable tool for mastering English vocabulary logically,
comprehensively and intensively for real life needs of learners.
Good public libraries have a wide selection of English reading materials.
It is better for learners to write down unknown vocabulary in whole sentences to
remember word meanings easier. It would be a good speaking practice for learners
telling the content of the texts that they have read. Learners can write key words
and phrases, or main ideas as a plan, or questions on the text that require long
answers to make easier for learners to tell the content of the text. I believe it is a
good idea to read each logical chunk or paragraph of a text and to narrate each
paragraph separately, and then the whole text. As people say, practice makes
Aim: Developing intensive reading skills, vocabulary improvements concerning fine differences
between related vocabulary terms
Activity: Intensive reading exercise in which each sentence must be read very carefully to
discover mistakes and inconsistencies of syntax
Discuss different types of reading skills with students:
Extensive reading: reading for pleasure with emphasis on general understanding
Intensive reading: reading carefully for an exact understanding of text. Necessary for
contracts, legal documentation, application forms, etc.
Skimming: quickly looking through text to get an idea of what the text concerns. Used
when reading magazines, newspaper articles etc.
Scanning: locating specific information in a text. Usually used in timetables, charts, etc.
Ask students to give examples of when they employ the various reading skills. This part
of the discussion can serve to raise awareness concerning the fact that it is not always
necessary to understand every word.
Pass out handout and have students get into groups of 3-4. Ask students to read one
sentence of the stories at a time and decide what is wrong with the sentences in terms of
Follow-up with a class discussion about the various problems with the text.
Have students get back into their groups and try to substitute appropriate vocabulary for
As homework, ask students to write their own "What's Wrong?" story which will then be
exchanged with other students as a follow-up activity to the lesson in the next class period.
This exercise focuses on intensive reading. Read one sentence at a time and find the
inappropriate vocabulary mistake or contradiction. All errors are in the choice of vocabulary
NOT in grammar.
1. Jack Forest is a baker who always provides his customers with tough meat. Last Tuesday,
Mrs Brown came into the shop and asked for three fillets of brown bread. Unfortunately,
Jack only had two fillets remaining. He excused Mrs Brown and promised her that he
would have too much bread the next time she came. Mrs Brown, being a reliable customer,
assured Jack that she would return. Later that day, Jack was sealing the shop when he the
phone sang. It was Mrs Brown requiring if Jack had baked another slice of brown bread.
Jack said, "As a matter of truth, I burnt some extra loaves a few hours ago. Would you like
me to bring one buy?". Mrs Brown said she would and so Jack got into his bike and road to
Mrs Brown's to deliver the third pound of brown toast.
2. My favorite reptile is the Cheetah. It is truly an amazing creature which can trot at a top
speed of 60 m.p.h.! I've always wanted to go to the cool planes of Africa to see the
Cheetah in action. I imagine it would be a disappointing experience looking at those
Cheetah run. A few weeks ago, I was watching a National Geographic special on the radio
and my wife said, "Why don't we go to Africa next summer?". I hopped for joy! "That's a
lousy idea!", I stated. Well, next week our plain leaves for Africa and I can hardly imagine
that we are going to Africa at first.
3. Frank Sinatra was an infamous singer, known throughout the world. He was a novice at
singing in the "crooning" style. During the 50s and 60s grunge music was very popular
throughout clubs in the US. Las Vegas was one of Frank Sinatra's favorite squares to sing.
He often traveled into Las Vegas from his hut in the woods to perform in the evening.
Audiences inevitably booed as he sang encore after encore to the delight of international
fans from around the county.
• Activating students’ background knowledge on the topic
Discussion about schooling, vocabulary learning, some idioms and word combinations
This activity is mainly done before any text reading for students acknowledgement of the
vocabulary used. Before reading the text students already know the vocabulary and the teacher
just revise it with the students.
• Establishing a very clear purpose for reading the text
Students are asked to pay attention to the point that the teacher has planned for the lesson.
For example, the lesson is based on a grammar task, the students are asked to pay attention to the
tenses used in the text.
• Making predictions about the text
The students are asked to make up the whole of the text by predicting the actions of the text.
The students are made clear about the fact that all predictions are good.
The students are informed of the situation in the sequence and are asked to predict the
dialogue and behavior of the characters: What are some words and phrases they expect to read?
What are some things they expect to read?
The teacher may write some key – words on the blackboard and the students try to make up
the idea of the text with the help of the words.
• Student-generated Questions
Students are informed of the situation in the text and they are asked to make up questions of
their own about the possible content of the text.
Reading is an important part of learning English. This guide to how to improve your reading
skills will help you improve reading by using skills you use in your own language. In other
words, one of the best tips on improving reading is to think about how you read in your own
language. Start by thinking about how you read different documents.
How do you read the newspaper? How do you read novels? How do you read train
schedules? and so on. Taking time to think about this will help give you clues on how to read in
English - even if you don't understand every single word. Scanning is used to find a particular
piece of information. Run your eyes over the text looking for the specific piece of information
you need. Use scanning on schedules, meeting plans, etc. in order to find the specific details you
require. If you see words or phrases that you don't understand, don't worry when scanning.
• Examples of Scanning
• The "What's on TV" section of your newspaper.
• A train / airplane schedule
A conference guide
Ask yourself this question: Do I read every word in your own language when I am reading a
schedule, summary, or other outlining document?
The answer is most definitely: No! Reading in English is like reading in your native language.
This means that it is not always necessary to read and understand each and every word in
English. Remember that reading skills in your native language and English are basically the
• Skimming is used to quickly gather the most important information, or 'gist'. Run your
eyes over the text, noting important information. Use skimming to quickly get up to speed on a
current business situation. It's not essential to understand each word when skimming.
Examples of Skimming:
The Newspaper (quickly to get the general news of the day)
Magazines (quickly to discover which articles you would like to read in more detail)
Business and Travel Brochures (quickly to get informed)
Extensive reading is used to obtain a general understanding of a subject and includes
reading longer texts for pleasure, as well as business books. Use extensive reading skills
to improve your general knowledge of business procedures. Do not worry if you
understand each word.
Examples of Extensive Reading
The latest marketing strategy book
A novel you read before going to bed
Magazine articles that interest you
• Intensive reading is used on shorter texts in order to extract specific information. It
includes very close accurate reading for detail. Use intensive reading skills to grasp the details of
a specific situation. In this case, it is important that you understand each word, number or fact.
Examples of Intensive Reading
A bookkeeping report
An insurance claim
Students are introduced the text. This activity may be executed in five different ways; it all
depends on the teacher’s purpose for the activity or on the level of the students.
cassette – recorder listening
• Chorale Reading
The teacher and student/small group/class read a story together and aloud. This builds
reading comprehension and fluency.
• Cued Reading
A teacher utilizes introductory discussion about a story before reading. This builds student
comprehension and interest in reading.
• Echo Reading
A teacher reads a text, one sentence at a time, as the student follows along. The student then
attempts to imitate or "echo" the teacher. This technique builds fluency and confidence in oral
• Group Dynamic Reading
In a small group, the teacher and students take turns in reading the text. At first, the children
follow what the teacher reads with their fingers. After this, the students read while the teacher
listens. This builds oral reading skills and fluency.
• Repeated Reading
A student chooses a challenging text and listens to the instructor read it. The student then reads
the text by him/herself. This process continues until the student can fluently read the text. This
method can be woven into many different literacy approaches and adapted to different
circumstances. It builds decoding, reading fluency and student confidence.
• Shared Reading
The teacher reads a text while the student observes and follows along silently. This method helps
build reading fluency and comprehension.
• Silent Reading
Students read silently for a specified period of time. This method builds confidence in reading
skills, but should only be used when students are ready.
• Tape-Assisted Reading
A student reads along with a tape-recorded passage. Students continue at their own pace while
building decoding skills, sight word vocabulary and fluency. It is important to use taped readings
that are short in duration (3-4 minutes at the most) and read in phrases to ensure that students do
are not lost or confused.
• Theatrical Reading
In a small group, students take turns reading a story while an assigned student acts out what is
read. This builds interest in reading and may break up the monotony in a lesson.
• Whisper Reading
While a student reads a text aloud, the teacher whispers assistance in the student’s ear as needed.
This builds reading fluency and oral reading confidence.
Post - Reading Activities
Fill in the gaps/ vocabulary work
Students are given the same text with some words missing that they are asked to fill in either on
their own, basing on memory skills, or under the teacher’s or another student reading.
Students may be given the same task as the previous one, only that instead of the missing
words, are given the Romanian or Russian equivalent, and the students have to translate them.
Students are parted in three groups. Each of the subgroups is given a part of the text – the
beginning, the content, and the ending of the text. Students are asked to make up as many
questions as possible, asking for as many details as they can remember to find out the other parts
of the text, basing on their information acquired from the part they received. Afterwards students
are grouped to form subgroups containing students who worked with the beginning, the content
and the ending of the text. The students answer the questions and then read the text again.
The students may also be given the text in sequences which they have to rearrange according
to the memory. Afterwards they are asked to read the text, and determine if any mistakes
• Checking predictions. Students read the text and check to see if the predictions they
made in the predicting activity were correct.
• Focusing on a character. The following questions are written on the blackboard:
What was the most important thing the character does in the text?
Do you like or dislike the character?
What are the character’s good points and bad points?
Would you act the same way in the same situation?
Students may focus on any of the characters in the scene they are about to read. After
reading the text, they write their answers to the questions.
5 W’s and H. students read the text and answer the main points in the text: Who?
What? When? Where? Why? and How?
There are four different types of questions:
• "Right There"
Questions found right in the text that ask students to find the one right answer located in
one place as a word or a sentence in the passage.
Example: Who is Frog's friend? Answer: Toad
• "Think and Search"
Questions based on the recall of facts that can be found directly in the text. Answers are
typically found in more than one place, thus requiring students to "think" and "search" through
the passage to find the answer.
Example: Why was Frog sad? Answer: His friend was leaving.
• "Author and You"
Questions require students to use what they already know, with what they have learned
from reading the text. Student's must understand the text and relate it to their prior knowledge
before answering the question.
Example: How do think Frog felt when he found Toad? Answer: I think that Frog felt
happy because he had not seen Toad in a long time. I feel happy when I get to see my friend who
lives far away.
• "On Your Own"
Questions are answered based on a students prior knowledge and experiences. Reading the
text may not be helpful to them when answering this type of question.
Example: How would you feel if your best friend moved away? Answer: I would feel very
sad if my best friend moved away because I would miss her.
• Matching. Students match the names of characters, places or things with related
information. For example the students are asked to match names of the characters with
lines of dialogue or match names of places with descriptions
• Students are asked to determine the ending of the text and provide another one different
from the style of the text.
• Students are asked to find the key words in the text and use them in sentences of their
• Students are asked to analyze the text for story grammar, or story structure, elements
including narrative story parts, such as character or events, as well as the ways that
content- area texts are organized.
• Automatic decoding. Students are asked to recognize a word at a glance, taken out of a
• Guessing the meaning of unknown words from the context. Using such clues as
knowledge of word parts, syntax, and relationship patterns.
• Paraphrasing. Re-stating texts in the students’ own words in order to monitor one’s own
• Stating the main idea of a sentence, a paragraph or passage. Knowing what the author is
expressing about the topic.
• Summarizing. Students are asked to shorten the material by retaining and re-stating main
ideas and leaving out details.
• Drawing conclusions. Students are asked to put together information from several parts
of the text and including new or additional ideas.
• Visualizing. Students are asked to picture, or actually draw a picture or a diagram, of
what is described in the text.
• Drawing inferences and using evidence. Reading between the lines; using evidence in
the text to know things that are unstated.
• Follow – up discussion. Students relate the situation in the text to their own lives or their
home- country or culture.
• News – Articles. Students write a newspaper article reporting the events in the text
▫ Letter Writing. Students pretend they are a character in the text sequence and write a
letter to another character.
,Rewrite a scene and change the gender of the characters to show how they might act
differently (e.g., Lord of Flies). You can also have a roundtable on gender differences.
▫ Oprah book club
Host a talk show: students play the host, author, and cast of characters. Allow questions from
▫ Fictional friends
Who of all the characters would you want for a friend? Why? What would you do or talk
▫ What if
Write about or discuss how the story would differ if the characters were something other
than they are: a priest, another gender or race, a different age, or social class.
▫ Write into
Find a "hole" in the story where the character disappears (off camera) for a time and describe
what they do when we can't see them.
After you read the story, write an epilogue in which you explain – using whatever tense and
tone the author does – what happened to the character(s) next.
▫ Second chance
Talk or write about how it would change the story if a certain character had made a different
decision earlier in the story (e.g., what if Huck of Huckleberry Finn had not run away?)
▫ Day in court
Use the story as the basis for a court trial; students can be witnesses, expert witnesses called
to testify, judge, jury, bailiff, reporter; great fun for a couple days.
▫ Censorship defense
Imagine that the book you are reading has been challenged by a special interest group.
Students must write a letter defending the book, using specific evidence from the book to
support their ideas.
▫ Call for censorship
In order to better understand all sides to an argument, imagine you are someone who feels
this particular book should not be read and write a letter in which you argue it should be
▫ Open HEART
Draw an empty HEART and inside of it draw any symbols or words or images that are
bouncing around in the HEART of the character of a story. Follow it up with writing or
discussion to explain and explore responses.
▫ Magnetic poetry
If working with a poem, enlarge it on copier or computer and cut all words up into pieces;
place in an envelope and have groups create poems from these words. Later on discuss using
the same words for different texts. Heavier stock paper is ideal for this activity.
▫ Daily edition
Using the novel as the basis for your stories, columns and editorials, create a newspaper or
magazine based on or inspired by the book you are reading.
▫ Recasting the text
Students rewrite a poem as a story, a short story as a poem or play. All rewrites should then
be read and discussed so as to understand how the different genre works