Turn a Reading Text into a Discussion Text

Everyone has experienced a boring textbook before. In this post on her blog, Nicola Prentis gives the essential tips for ripping the guts out of a long text to turn it into a discussion.

As mentioned in her post, it doesn’t work for everything, especially horrendously boring books so if you need to work to a syllabus based on a truly awful book, here’s what I would do.

1. Is the text too long? If so, use half, or even just a third, but make sure it is still relatively meaningful after ditching the rest.

2. Find the useful vocabulary. Take note.

3. Analyse the grammar. Do you have a ‘grammar point’ to teach? Do certain tenses or forms repeat? How can they be used in a meaningful or useful way?

4. Plan a couple of activities where students could feasibly and naturally use the language features (vocabulary and grammar).

5. Choose which activity is your energiser and which is your main event. You should know your students, put the activities where they need to be. Energise your junior high school students before a main event where they may need to be more thoughtful. If you are teaching the same students two lessons back-to-back or coming back to them later, don’t be afraid to have the students spend time thoughtfully first before you energise them ready for part two where you might repeat this process.

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