How to incorporate long-term reading activities into your lesson plan
In the modern world where everything is digitalized, there is a scarcity of time and people have little to no time to jungle extra activities, reading a book has become a quite luxury one can not always afford. However, you will agree with me, that it is a must-do for schools and educational institutions to create a possibility for their students to be exposed to literature as much as possible. This being said, it doesn’t mean that adult learners shouldn’t be given the same chance.
Today we will look at some ways of how we can incorporate reading activities in our courses. Take it from a person who has tried it.
1. Integrate it into the course curriculum
One of the best and tested ways is to include reading material in your syllabus. It can be done in different ways. One option is to assign a book to the students to read and later discuss in class, the other option is to divide it into bits and pieces and integrate it into the sessions. This option is more fun and more easily manageable.
How to do it? Choose a book you want your students to read, divide it into logical parts and set up deadlines for them to read. When done, get together to discuss. Here are some questions that can help to run the discussion:
- Who’s your favourite character so far and why? Describe them.
- What is one event you remember from what you read?
- If you were (one character from the book) what would you have done in that situation?
- What would you have changed in the story if you had been the writer?
- What do you think will happen next?
- What are some words and phrases that you’ve learned from the book? Can you make sentences with them? (this can be set in advance, meaning that the students know in advance that they will be asked to share the new vocabulary)
This type of reading gives the students a chance to digest the material more easily, the task is more achievable and they have a chance to discuss the book while reading which triggers more interest.
2. Create a project
Another fun way to integrate long-term reading activities in your curriculum is to make a project out of it. Here you will again need to divide the book into several parts and conduct the discussions on a biweekly basis. In this case, students will have much shorter pieces to read, which, however, will be followed by more intensive work on the language and the analysis.
Sample activities that can be useful here are:
- Students read the part, write out 10 new words and phrases they would like to learn, and present them to the rest of the class by defining them and giving example sentences (this can be assigned as a pair work)
- Students read the part and create 6 content-related questions to ask another team in the class.
- Students read the part and choose 1 character to analyse — personality, what they look like, etc.
When students finish reading the whole book, you can:
- Assign them to create a presentation on the main events and share it with the rest of the class.
- For more creative classes students can be assigned to shoot a short movie on one of the scenes of the book. Middle school students love this one in most cases.
- Another idea is to ask them to do a voice-over of some dialogues from the book, etc.
All of the above-mentioned tasks can be integrated as while-reading activities as well.
Finally, you can allocate some percentage of the final total grade of the course to the reading project, let’s say 30%, and the students will be even more motivated to comply.
3. Run book clubs
This is something home task recently tried with my high school students and in the beginning, was quite sceptical about it, however, it worked as a charm.
In contrast to the two ideas mentioned above, when reading is happening as part of students’ hometask, here we were doing it in class.
The class gets together, each time one person is chosen as a reader. The reader covers about 2 chapters of the book while the rest of the class is listening and taking some notes (word/phrase related or content). Here, it’s best if you have post-reading questions prepared to summarize what was read. Other than that, the questions mentioned in the first point can still be used.
It’s best to do this on a biweekly basis so that your students develop a habit, however, you should look at your school curriculum and schedule.
Reading a book just because it’s a good and important thing to do, doesn’t kind of work nowadays, so, there is a need for an extra push to engage our learners a bit more and create that spark. The more creative the tasks are, the more interesting it will be for the students to continue reading and developing that habit.
So, let us know what other ways do you know that long-term reading can be integrated into your classes.