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USING GRADED READERS
Graded readers are books that have had the language level simplified to help second language
learners read them. They can be a great resource if you feel the need to do something a bit
different and change the class dynamics.
Why use graded readers For most language learners, reading a book in English would be a daunting (abrumador) task, because they would find too many unknown words. If learners start with graded readers they won't have to stop and look up lots of unknown words in the dictionary. Research has shown that students who read in English improve in every area of language learning. Readers can be an excellent way to motivate your students.
Class readers How students actually read the book depends on many factors including their age, motivation levels and class time available. Reading should be seen as a pleasure part of the course.
Class libraries Students should choose their own book according to their personal preferences. If you have a large selection of books and students are keen to read why not start some sort of reading club? Some teachers rotate the books and students have a bookmark each and on the front there's space for them to write the titles of the books they've read. On the back they record new words.
Pre reading activities Guess the story from the cover Show the cover to the class and elicit as much vocabulary as you can. Students then guess the story and write short summaries of the imaginary plot.
Jumbled chapter titles Give some pieces of paper with the chapter titles on to students in pairs or groups. They decide the best order for the chapters and think about the possible story.
Find out about the author Ask students to write some questions about the author that they would like to know the answers too.
Photocopy the pictures Use pictures to familiarize the students with the main characters. Students can read the introduction page or the back of the book to guess who is who.
During Reading Comic strips Choose a suitable chapter or chapters that can be broken down into chunks to make a comic strip.
Radio plays In groups students select part of the book to make into a radio play. Students are assigned character roles and one is the narrator. Plays can be recorded and listened back to.
News articles Students become journalists and report on part of the story. Choose a piece of action and students write it up as if it were to be published in a national or local paper.
Video parallels If the reader you are using in class has a film version use this to spot the differences in the plot between the book and the film. Ask students whether they want to start with the book or the film.
Horoscopes At an appropriate stage in the plot development, students write horoscopes for the characters predicting their future.
In the characters' shoes Students role-play an interview with one of the characters. Take a couple of the main characters and bring them into the classroom! Assign students the roles of the characters and the rest of the class prepare questions. Depending on the book you could imagine that the interviews are taking place in a police station, on a TV chat show or wherever seems appropriate.
Post reading activities Book reviews Get students to give the book a star rating from one to five.
Quiz time In teams students prepare questions about the book's plot and character's. Questions would be used in an inter-team quiz to see which group is the most knowledgeable.