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JeremyinFrance Jul 20th, 2006 01:01 pm

Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
I am a writer of original readers, not dumbed-down versions of Dickens. I have found that students who read a lot make extraordinary progress, not only in their reading skills, but in all skills. They pick up new vocabulary and are bombarded with correct English. They might even start to think in English, if they keep it up for long enough.
I am very interested to hear from anyone who uses readers, either to learn, or for their students. How do you use them? Do you (or your students) actually enjoy them or do you/they do it simply to improve your/their level of English?
If anyone wants any short stories to read, I have some on my website for free download.
Jeremy

mesmark Jul 20th, 2006 06:24 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
I've been using some spectrum readers with groups of upper elementary students. They really enjoy them. We use the pictures first for discussion and once the students sort of have a grasp of the context we read short exerpts together.

I don't translate or ask them to. I ask some simple reading comprehension questions and so far it's been good.

I'll try to take a look at your web site later today and give you some feedback.

livinginkorea Jul 20th, 2006 08:34 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
I use a story book and do a page of that each day for the 5th and 6th Graders. I photocopy it and they have a page to read a night as homework. There parents check that the students read it two times and sign the paper and I check it the next day and then they get a point (reward system). Reading is a great way to get the kids focused and enjoying learning but it seems to be neglected a lot these days especially with the rise of educational programs and software.

emile Jul 24th, 2006 02:38 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
I just come up with my own stories - that way I can put them online or in worksheet form.

We have a library of Penguin readers that we recommend for extra work but we don't usually go through them in the class itself.

I agree that original stories are better than abridged forms.

simplyesl Jul 24th, 2006 04:22 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
I use reading because I find that it exposes the S's to a greater variety of English, even if they don't entirely understand it.

Tobita Oct 1st, 2006 12:01 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
I would like to use stories in my classes, I use ones from the state text book but my students get bored, I need something interesting for learners from 11 to 13 years old. Can you help me?

Eric Oct 1st, 2006 07:33 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Quote:

Quote Tobita
I would like to use stories in my classes, I use ones from the state text book but my students get bored, I need something interesting for learners from 11 to 13 years old. Can you help me?

have you tried the Easy True Stories series. Those are pretty interesting. There's Easy True Stories, Very Easy True Stories and possibly just True Stories.

Tobita Oct 1st, 2006 09:04 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Thank you! :) I'll Try those.

cabst90 Oct 18th, 2006 10:01 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
For 11-13 year old learners, I suggest trying to use Harry Potter (there is another very popular fantasy series, but I can't remember it right now.) There are several advantages in addition to the popularity. It is written for young readers. Many students may have already read it in their native language or seen the movies, which will make it easier to understand the content even if they don't completely understand the English. You can suppliment the reading with the videos.

Good luck...

Pix Oct 19th, 2006 08:37 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
When I learned French I used to read all the Asterix books, and then books by François Sagan who wrote pretty awful love stories - idea for me as a young teenager - I suppose the equivalent in English would be Mills and Boon stuff.

I don't mean to brag but I was sooooooooooooooo much better than my school mates and I'm sure it was from all the reading where the syntax and grammar were just being absorbed.

They used to make us read articles from Le Monde and boy were they dull and incomprehensible to boot. I don't see the point of making students slog through something dry and difficult.

Here's a post with ideas on how to improve your reading fluency.

Pix Oct 19th, 2006 08:39 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Other reading ideas I've just had for teenagers:

Biography of the Spice Girls or which ever band is in these days, or David Beckham's story or just how much plastic surgery has Victoria Beckham had anyway - you can get fun stuff like that in girly magazines like OK!

Mr. E English Oct 19th, 2006 07:46 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Hi Jeremy,

I don't regularly use readers in class, partly because using a reader can be time consuming and partly because the national group I teach have a very poor reading habit in their L1 and therefore a reluctance to read in English.

But on the occasions when I have utilised a class reader I've always thoroughly enjoyed it, even if the students have been less enthusiastic.

One activity I like to do is to take a passage from the text which contains lots of speech and act it out in class. I assign roles to the students including one as the narrator. We practice together at first by the students shadow reading as they listen to me, then they work on the text alone. Once we're ready we act it out - speech and actions. The students can still read the text (it's not a memory test) but they can not read and speak at the same time - they can look at a sentence, then look up and say it.

I find this activity is good fun, a change of pace and focus, great fluency practice and a good opportunity to work on pronunciation - particularly intonation and stress.

musica Nov 6th, 2006 03:39 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
For younger students it is a great activity to have the kids make their own readers. Make little books from folded 8X10 paper stapled. YOu can teach simple vocabulary this way or use high incidence words. The kids can either draw pictures or cut them out of magazines or catalogues and you can write, See the ______ . See the big _______. See the blue house. etc. Look and see the ______. By creating their own images or using things they are personally interested in the students learn quickly and happily, taking pride in their learning.

HUE Mar 30th, 2007 09:22 pm

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Reading, and extensive reading at that, is a great way for students to build vocabulary, and see words and grammar in context. It's always easier to remember new language when seen as part of a whole (as opposed to a single sentence, or a series of disconnected sentences).

At first, many of my students say that reading is too difficult; or it takes too much time; or they aren't sure how much of the material they actually understand. But because an author tends to use similar words, sentence patterns, or phrases, the reading gets easier.

Of course, it's always a good idea to work into a lesson discussion activities, comprehension activities, etc., even if the reading is homework. It gives students the opportunity to confirm their understanding, as well as use some of the vocab and grammar from the reading.

I'm curious Jeremy. What kind of stories do you write for your students, and for what levels do you design most of your materials?

JeremyinFrance Mar 31st, 2007 01:51 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
HI Chris, Most of my published readers are aimed at teenagers - some comedy, some adventure, some romance. There tends to be a greater need for lower level material. For example, Richmond Readers started with levels, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Then teachers complained that the level 1 books were too difficult so we were asked to write 'starter level' books, using no past tense and very simple structures. That wasn't as tough as writing a 140 word story with just a 40 word vocabulary - which I recently did for Harcourt in the UK.
Have a look at www.jeremytaylor.eu if you want to see the books and download some stories. I'll be putting more up later today.

DaveESL May 28th, 2007 02:06 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
While I certainly believe that reading is a great way to learn a language, I find the cost of readers to be prohibitive. I teach at a college in China and there's no way that we could purchase classroom sets or anything like that. I can't even make copies of stuff. I'm interested in seeing what you have on your website, though. Maybe I can suggest that my students read some of it instead of playing video games the next time they're in the internet cafe.

Take care!
Dave

JeremyinFrance May 28th, 2007 02:14 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Hi Dave, True, the price of readers could definitely be lower. I have written some readers specifically for the Chinese market but haven't yet found a Chinese publisher to publish them. At the moment they seem content to import huge numbers of simplified readers by Dickens and Shakespeare... Not, in my opinion, what young Chinese learners would want to read... So if you know any Chinese publishers, or anyone with contacts in the publishing world, please let me know!

DaveESL Jun 1st, 2007 02:26 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Hi Jeremy,

Well, I can't help you there. I just arrived here 5 months ago, and am far from any city that would have publishing resources. The market over here seems like it would be very difficult to succeed in, if only because cheap (and "illegal") copies of books are so readily available.

I enjoyed the stories on your website, by the way. Next semester, I'm planning to set up a student section of my own website to suggest readings and so on, and I'll be sure to suggest that they check out your site.

Take care,
Dave

JeremyinFrance Jun 1st, 2007 02:31 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
Xie Xie, Dave!

michèle 2 Jun 29th, 2007 06:58 am

Re: Reading - a great way to improve your English
 
[quote=Pix]When I learned French I used to read all the Asterix books,
when I learned English I used to read all the Asterix , Tintin in English!!!
I knew the stories so it was easier for me!!!
Michèle


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