We, teachers know that the real beginning of the new year is the beginning of the new term. August and September are months of transition, when we are still relaxed after the holidays, but also getting ready to embark on new adventures. Take this opportunity to set new reading goals for the new term. On this website you will find resources to get inspired and started. Check out our ideas on starting a book club, becoming a reading teacher, organising book parties and themed reading lessons. We also offer a series of lesson plans, quizzes and games to get you and your students to read more and to enjoy reading more.
We are also sharing three ideas that we consider crucial for any successful reading (or simply language) programme.
We’d like to encourage you to read not only with children, but also with teens, and even with adults. Think about reading in a second language. We often feel that we are lost in complex sentences, maybe we are not sure about what references a word might have, and we simply end up not being motivated enough to carry on with the text. Often students don’t have access to books or have very little time to read in English and would never think of reading aloud.
Reading aloud is not only a way of understanding and interpreting the text, it also helps with pronunciation and intonation. What’s more, meaningful reading also means chunking the text in an expert way. You will clearly hear where your students need more help, which language structures are too difficult, which sentence types are hard to follow, which words make them struggle.
Take turns in reading aloud. Modelling reading is also a helpful way of teaching: not only will you give your students the chance to hear clear and slow pronunciation, they can see how you think about the text, when you stop to breathe, when you change your voice, your intonation.
Read in class
Some teachers feel they cannot afford the time to read in class. However, in-class reading, role play and even silent reading are all excellent ways of encouraging reading. Give time to reading, and make reading without the stress of having to answer exam or test questions part of your syllabus. Remember, if you don’t read with your students in English, it might happen that no one else will.
Read about ways to encourage in-class reading.
- Reading management in the classroom
- Still reluctant? – 5 classroom solutions to build reading stamina
Read the classics
Italo Calvino has already summarized almost all that we should know about the benefits of reading the classics, but we hope to add to his great ideas. When we are reading the classics, we are also reading and learning about culture and the manifold uses of langauge, its different registers and styles. Not only are you expanding your students’ knowledge of the world, but you are also contributing to the growth of their creativity and imagination. As Jeanette Winterson wrote in 2012, “We do need a facility with language that allows us to express, to be understood, and crucially to think. The mind doesn’t want to be a mess. The mind wants to be creative. That means order.”
All in all, the classics provide resources to students, and these reading experiences will teach them not only about language use, but will also inspire more creative thinking in them.
What are your new term resolutions? Share them with us here!