Reading Makes Perfect

First of all… yay for new (actual) post!!! 😀

Today’s new post will talk about something that is particularly close to my heart that is, my absolute belief that reading is the key to successful language acquisition.

Ever since last year, my school has been receiving 50 copies of the local NST daily. At first, we had no idea what to do with the newspapers because there were just too many. We started to give them away to students, hoping that they will do a bit of extra reading in their spare time. But still there were a lot of newspapers left over and we were slowly running out of space to keep everything. Finally, at the beginning of this year, inspiration struck and I decided to start a reading project with my Form 4 class.

First, I got everyone to prepare a book especially for the project so as to not mix up the project with our usual lessons. I select a particular day’s newspaper and make sure that there are enough copies for everyone. Then I look through the newspaper for articles that are interesting and could be useful for my students. I try to choose articles that are related to common topics such as the environment etc that often pops up as articles for Section C or an essay topic in Paper 1. I also selected some advertisements because they are similar to the materials that often appear in Section B. Based on the articles, I come up with a few comprehension questions for students to answer. For advertisements on the other hand, I often provide students with a mindmap or table that they have to fill; again, similar to what we often find in Section B. Apart from that, for the articles, I also list down a few common words or phrases that I think the students should know.

Then, I bring the newspapers to class and students cut and paste the articles or advertisements into their project book. Next, they try to answer the questions that I have prepared. For the articles, I also try to have a class discussion on the content so that I can be sure everyone is on the same page. They also have to look up the meaning of the words that I have listed down.

The idea is to bring in a bit of extra reading as well as to provide them with additional practice on exam-format questions. Basically I am trying to strike two birds with one stone. 😀

Here are some pictures of what the end product looks like:



As you can see in the first picture, each article comes with a list of words that the students have to look up the meanings. We also discuss the comprehension questions at the end of the lesson and students have to make the necessary corrections if they got the answers wrong.

The second picture is an example of how I replicate Section B using advertisements found in the newspapers.

In the near future, I am planning to expand the scope of this project to include not just newspaper cuttings but also pamphlets or brochures that we can grab by the bundle at malls and supermarkets. Hopefully, this will go a little way to help with students’ general reading competency. 😀


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