TRADITIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE
READING TECHNIQUES IN TEFL
ELT, MAEP, 1ST DD
“ONISIFOR GHIBU” TL
ETRC Spring School
6-8 March, 2014
• 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
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
• Reading in English is a great way to
improve learners’ English. Here are
some specific suggestions for ways to
use reading to work on specific English
• To get the most out of reading, it's
important to know the difference
between different types of reading
include: scanning, skimming, inte
nsive and extensive reading.
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
Teaching reading can be an arduous
task as it is often difficult to know
how to improve student skills.
• I have often noticed that students insist on
understanding every word and find it difficult
to take my advice of reading for the general idea,
or only looking for required information.
Students studying a foreign language often feel
that if they don't understand each and every
word they are somehow not completing the
• In order to make students aware of these
different types of reading styles, I find it useful
to provide an awareness raising lesson to help
them identify reading skills they already apply
when reading in their native tongues.
Thus, when approaching an English
text, students first identify what type of reading
skill needs to be applied to the specific text at
hand. In this way valuable skills, which students
already possess, are easily transferred to their
• 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
• A contract
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
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 reading skills.
• 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.
• Guided Reading
A student reads with the assistance of an instructor as it is
needed. When an unfamiliar word appears, the instructor
either tells the student the word or assists the student in
decoding the word. During the story, the teacher stops at
certain points and questions the student in order to
determine/guide comprehension. This helps build practice in
comprehension, decoding, sight word vocabulary, and oral
• Lap Reading
A student sits on a parent’s or teacher’s lap and listens to high
interest stories. The goal of this technique is to build a
student’s interest in reading, while creating a good oral
reading model. This nurturing environment can be replicated
in a story corner or anywhere that the child feels comfortable.
• 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
• 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
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
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 occurred.
• 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
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
• 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
• "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?
• "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
• "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
• 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 own.
• 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
▫ 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
▫ News – Articles. Students write a
newspaper article reporting the events in
the text sequence.
▫ Letter Writing. Students pretend they
are a character in the text sequence and
write a letter to another character.
•Gender-bender 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 the audience.
▫ Fictional friends Who of all
the characters would you want
for a friend? Why? What would
you do or talk about together?
▫ 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
▫ 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.
▫ P.S. After you read the story,
write an epilogue in which you
explain – using whatever tense
and tone the author does –
what happened to the
• 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
•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 removed.
• 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
• 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
•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