On Using Graded Readers in your Class

Methods in Teaching English — Graded Readers:

Teaching English in Japan can be pretty dull if you don`t incorporate some reading and discussion in your classes that can handle an activity like this.

Using Graded Readers in your classes and for homework can greatly enhance the atmosphere and learning in an English class.

Graded readers come in all levels and for all age groups. Reading in English literally opens up a whole new world for your students.

Even students who have studied English for many years but have never mastered it, will be thrilled at being able to read an English book, no matter how easy the level is.

Graded readers come in many different genres, suitable for all tastes and levels. There truly are many books for everyone. At this point they have a great selection from modern books like Harry Potter to classics by Dickens.

You can have your students read them for pleasure, or as a class assignment ie) have them write a book report.

Methods in Teaching English — Books that suit the Student`s Level

Be sure to have your students choose a book that they are interested in, and one where the vocabulary is comprehensible. Your students should be able to easily understand 95% of the vocabulary or more. Reading shouldn`t be a struggle of looking up words in the dictionary. We are striving for reading pleasure and fluency. Showing them thejoy of reading.

If their English level allows, I sometimes put them into pairs or small groups to tell each other about the story they read. Or you can hand out some simple questions for lower level students to ask each other about the characters and the story.

I have found in my 20 years of experience in teaching English to Japanese, that those who read English books, are also the best speakers and writers by far. I feel there is a strong connection between reading English books and improvement in other areas of English study.

Methods in Teaching English — Reading Circles

If you have your students read the same short story, you can do a reading circle activity with them. Reading circles usually have four members in each group, and each member performs a different roll. All students actively participate in the group and talk about thestory, but each has a unique roll to play which keeps the discussion interesting:

One student is the:

Methods in Teaching English — Discussion Leader

He or she keeps the discussion going by designating who schould speaknext or by asking interesting questions when things go quiet. The leader should read the story twice and prepare at least five general discussion questions about it.

-makes sure that everyone has a chance to speak and joins in the discussion.

-calls on everyone to perform their role.

One student is the Summarizer:

She or he summarizes the story (in one or two minutes) for the group.-finds the key points that everyone must know to understand the story.

The Word Master:

is asked to look up words and provide definitions for them–explain the meaning of difficult vocabulary to the group;

-chooses five words that are important and defines them for the group in English.

-tells the group why these five words are important.

-answers questions about vocabulary

The Culture Collector & Connector:

-looks for both differences and similarities between his/her own culture and the culture found in the story.

–makes notes to show examples of these cultural points form passages in the story.

–asks the group questions about cultural points

As Connector:

-looks for connections between the story and the world outside–asks the group if they can see any connections themselves.

One of the best aspects of the reading circles is they incorporate all four skills, reading, writing, speaking and listing. Though perhaps best of all, they are fun.

About kintaro63

Writer and teacher in Japan
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