Some basic and not-so-basic tips and ideas for teaching reading:
- Always give students some task to do and tell them what it is before they read. It could be to answer a set of questions, to predict what happens next, or to prepare to summarize the text for a student who read a different one. For texts for other jigsaw activities like this, consider slightly longer jokes or stories from Breaking News English.com.
- Make sure students know that they don’t have to understand every word the first time they read. Make a habit of giving them more time later, if they need or want it, to read more closely and either look up or ask you about new vocabulary.
- To help understanding, get students to brainstorm words they already know on the topic of the reading; pre-teach new words only if they are necessary to understand the text.
- To make the task even more personalized and student-centered, get students to brainstorm questions they’d like to know the answer to in the text before they read it…some of their questions may not be answered, but some of them will be (hopefully). Or, have students read the text and in pairs come up with three questions to ask the other pairs to “test” their memory.
- To adapt a very difficult reading, make up true/false questions of your own (or adapt the book questions) and get students to predict the answers before they read.
- To shake things up a bit and get students out of their seats, try a reading race: Students work in pairs and have several slips of paper with one question on each which they turn over one at a time as they finish one; the answers are within a text (or two or three different texts) up on the wall. Student A sits, Student B runs to the wall, finds the answer, remembers it, runs back and tells Student A who writes it down. They switch places and Student A runs to the wall for the next question.