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 En français : Methodologie de la compréhension écrite

Reading comprehension for EFL / ESL -  working with written texts in the English class

Ideas for developing reading and other language skills in the English class

Index : The Linguapress archive Essential written comprehension Ten more ideas for working with written texts

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The Linguapress archive

In the age of Twitter, teachers can often be heard lamenting the fact that their students are no longer able to write or read anything longer than 140 characters.  Hopefully this is an exaggeration! But whether it is or not, the lament is symptomatic of an age where, according to surveys worldwide, today's students have more difficulty than those of previous generations in reading and understanding extended texts.
  Linguapress online offers a wide and growing choice of free-access reading resources for students of English as a foreign language, or English as a second language, from age 15 upwards, in high schools and other types of language school worldwide. The large majority of reading resources on are longer than the classic 300 - 500 word documents commonly used for testing, and offered on many Internet sites. But teaching and testing are two very different activities. Resources published on are not just basic documents to test comprehension; they are there to help students learn, not just help them pass tests.

    Unlike press cuttings and excerpts from books, the majority – though not all – of the articles and stories published on have been written or edited specifically with learners of English in mind. In addition, they come with vocabulary guides designed to help the non-native English speaker with some of the more difficult words or expressions.
    The original Linguapress newsmagazines, published in print until 2001, contained many topical articles related to news and current affairs, including music and cinema; items that have been retained for republishing on tend to be those that have a timeless interest, articles about life, ways, traditions and icons in the English speaking countries, mainly the USA and Britain. Others include the transcripts of discussions with teenagers and young people in Britain, on subjects that remain as important, and as interesting, today as they were when they were first recorded in the 1990s.
    While teachers may find many articles and stories that are not appropriate for their particular teaching environment, there should be plenty of interesting reading resources for all those teachers who realise that teaching English is more than just teaching words and phrases, but involves also teaching students to understand life and culture in the English speaking countries, and letting them see how people, notably younger people, live and think.

Approaching the written text - written comprehension

Articles, interviews and discussions on are suitable for private study and use in class. The classic technique for developing students' reading skills is the activity of "comprehension". In practical terms, in the English class, this often involves reading a document at least three times, generally in different ways. The three basic ways of reading a document are: a) individual silent reading, b) teacher reading the document to the class, and c) students reading the document out loud, taking turns.
  Each method has its advantages; but combined in succession, the result should be even better.  Many teachers find it hard to know what to do during the silence that reigns (hopefully) when students are asked to silently read an article which may take them five to eight minutes, even more. For this reason, it is often best to begin any reading comprehension task, by asking students to read an article at home or by themselves, before coming into class. The teacher can then be more usefully employed piloting students through the two other stages of the reading process - students reading the document in turn, and finally the teacher reading the whole document back to the class.
   Between the different reading stages, students and teachers can explore and elucidate any vocabulary and grammar issues, so that by the time the teacher makes the final reading, the document and its content are now familiar, and the main difficulties have been ironed out.

    The above procedure can be applied to virtually any reading resource in the Linguapress archive; but it is just a start. There are many more ways of getting extra value out of a written document, and by doing so developing students skills not just in comprehension, but in expression, memory, grammar, deduction, and a lot more. What to do next depends on the nature, the difficulty and the content of each document. Reading, by itself, is just the first part of any use of written documents in the English class.
    Each article in the Linguapress archive comes with one or more - sometimes several - classroom exercises or activities. These are by no means exhaustive; they are generally limited in number and length by the space that was available when these articles originally appeared in print form in Linguapress newsmagazines. Here are some more ways to make best use of written documents in the English class.

Ten ideas for working with articles and stories in class.

CopyrightIf you want to share this article with other teachers, please note that it a copyrighted teacher resource. You are welcome to link to it from your blog, website or school website, but do not copy it. A clickable link is quite sufficient for sharing with others.

Here is a list of  different ways of working with articles and stories in the language class. Each is suggested as a classroom exercise activity for one or more of the articles in the Linguapress archive; but each can be suitably used with many other articles.


teacher resource

A selection of teaching resources in graded English
from Linguapress
Selected pages
Advanced level reading :
Charles Babbage, the father of the computer
Who killed Martin Luther King?
USA - Discovering Route 66
London's Notting Hill Carnival
More advanced level short stories:
Blue Gum Tree
Lucky Jim
More: More advanced reading texts  
Intermediate resources :
Mystery - the Titanic and the Temple of Doom
Who is James bond ?
Sport: Sports, American style
Big red London buses
USA: Who was Buffalo Bill?
USA: Close encounters with a Twister  
More:   More intermediate reading texts  
Selected grammar pages
Online English grammar
Noun groups in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English
Other useful websites

Copyright notice.

This resource is © copyright Linguapress  2015. -
Free EFL ESL reading resources

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