Tomorrow at 11am CET I will be presenting a webinar at the Macmillan Online Conference. Two years ago I presented a webinar on extensive reading and we discussed ways of encouraging students to read for pleasure beyond the classroom. This year we’re going to be looking at the opposite end of the reading spectrum, though, of course, the two are linked.
In this year’s webinar I want to look at how we use reading texts in a face-to-face classroom. I will not be discussing reading skills. The focus of the webinar will be on making the most of texts (and this could just as easily refer to scripts from audio or video ) as examples of language at work and as a springboard, an excuse almost, for close-up work on structures, patterns and lexis, maximizing the exposure to language that the text offers and encouraging and enhancing language awareness and noticing. The pay-off being, hopefully, that the students will carry this awareness and ability to learn as they read beyond the classroom.
The basic premise of the webinar stems from the criticism often levelled against coursebooks that reading texts are not adequately exploited on the page. I think this can often be true, but possibly also inevitable. There is very little space on a printed page to add much in the way of exploitation once a reading text is in place (though digital platforms could potentially offer much more – but that is another post!). And often, in the editorial process, the exercises that focus on the language of the text, and the way the language is used, are the first ones to go. But I would also argue (and I will try and demonstrate) that these aspects of the text can be exploited by the students and teachers in the class without the support of coursebook (or other previously written) material using a variety of “blueprint” activities that can adapt to each new text and each new teaching context.
Here is the handout for the webinar Making the most of reading texts HOs 2013 bcn (with an image pasted in below). It’s a simple list of possible activities. I’m hoping to cover them all, in detail or in passing, tomorrow morning. Once the webinar has aired, I will come back and add a link to the recording.