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Reading with speaking? 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:41 pm
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Post Reading with speaking?
Hi.

I'm teaching two 11 year old boys. I was given a reading comprehension book to teach with, but my boss wants me to focus on speaking. Doh!
(I don't know why she chose that book in the first place.) The students understand pretty much everything in the passages and give me correct answers to my questions.

Each unit in the book consits of a vocabulary section, a passage and a little bit of grammar. I've got the students to make sentences with the new vocabulary words. We read a passage and go over the questions following the passage. I've given them some writing assignments regarding the topics, too.

The problem is I'm supposed to encourage them to speak, not to write. Even though I personally think writing is as important as speaking, I am obliged to follow my boss' direction.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions? I think I should find a way to associate the book with speaking


Tue May 06, 2008 8:26 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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It's the professional responsibility of your boss to provide materials which are appropriate for the objectives of the course. If she has made a mistake, then the only practical outcome is for her to replace the inappropriate book with something suitable. There are lots of general courses aimed at this age which would give you plenty of scope for working on all four skills, and emphasizing speaking if required.

You can't be expected to clear up the mess made by your boss's incompetence.

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Wed May 07, 2008 12:02 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:34 pm
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What is the book like? Are there pictures that you can ask the students to describe? For example you could ask, "What can you see in the picture?"

Are there vocabulary words that can be used to ask questions. For example, if the topic is sports, you can ask, "What sports do you like? How often do you play, etc."

I guess my idea for you is to be creative with the materials you have to create a lesson with a speaking focus. I hope this helps!

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Wed May 07, 2008 10:04 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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I agree with Matt. Just take what you have and talk using that. Unfortunately, you'll have to create your own resources to supplement these lessons but that's what MES-English was designed for!

- Choose some language in the reading that is new or difficult. Then design your lesson around that.

- Matt's idea of working with the picture (if there is one) is another idea.

- You can have the students verbally retell the story.

- The students can work in pairs to create a dialog or act out a dialog as if they are the characters. Or one can be a character and the other(s) can be made up characters added in.

- Have the students predict the rest of the story and present their ideas.



Have them do everything verbally. Allow them to make memos of ideas but don't let them write/script everything out. That's how you'll make the reading text into a speaking centered work.

They can follow up with writing for homework. Just have them write out what they said. It will be good review of the material as well as get in the writing portion you want to have.

Those are just some ideas and I don't know what will work with your group. The idea is that the reading is the springboard for the lesson, not the point of the lesson.

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Wed May 07, 2008 2:39 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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It very much depends on the kids, but there may be a certain amount of scope for conversation practise, as with older students. My experience is that 11-year-olds tend not to particularly have opinions about things, or be interested in talking about abstract topics, but often enjoy describing things that have happened to them or that they've seen on TV. "Did you see [popular kid's TV show] yesterday? What happened?" But as I said, it depends on the kids. This approach can also be a non-starter, I've found, especially if the language level is low. The hard part is finding things they actually want to talk about.

Matt and Mark's suggestions above sound great. Much more helpful than my first reply above. But I was reminded of all the times my life has been made more difficult by being sent in to teach with an inappropriate book, and smoke started coming out of my ears...

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Wed May 07, 2008 7:48 pm
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