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Weekly reading or listening task

With all those fabulous authentic resources out there here's an idea for your A-level students.

To my mind, it's not much use just telling students that it's a good idea to do extra reading and listening. They are busy like you and they are unlikely to do it. So why not set them a weekly reading or listening task on top of their usual set work? Explain the rationale; give them a mini lecture on comprehensible input (I'm not joking). We did this for a few years and it worked very well. This is what you do.

You explain to students that they must find an online text which interests them. They copy and paste the text on to A4, add a glossary of ten new words and write a brief (about 80 words) summary in English of the article. If your students have their own blogs they could copy and paste their work electronically. You explain that you are not going to mark the work since you have enough marking already. However, you will collect each sheet of A4 on a set day to show the work has been done and to show that you care they have done it!

You need to advise them about good sites to use and to remind them not to choose material which is too hard or too long. Some will easily find their own sources. Good points de départ are:

http://1jour1actu.com/ - easy language, general issues, news
http://www.lesdebrouillards.com/ - scientific matters and more - LOTS of short texts
http://www.linternaute.com/ - general news
http://www.femmeactuelle.fr/- women's issues
http://www.lequipe.fr/ - sport
http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/news/fr-insolite/- unusual news stories

The advantages of this task are that students get to read more and on subjects they find interesting. We found that some students would pick the same topics almost every week (e.g. football reports, celebrity news), but most varied their diet of reading.

You could vary things a bit by setting a listening task. It's harder to check if the work has been done with these, but if you have confidence in your students, here are some good sites for independent listening:

http://www.newsinslowfrench.com/ (some free material available)
http://ielanguages.com/ (podcasts)
http://www1.rfi.fr/lffr/statiques/accueil_apprendre.asp (Journal en français facile) http://francebienvenue1.wordpress.com/ (videos)
http://apprendre.tv5monde.com/
http://hamillfrenchblog.wordpress.com/ - the Douce France blog from an Irish French teacher. It combines reading and listening.

Or, if you are happy to take away the element of self-choice in listening, you could set a video listening sheet to do from the many on frenchteacher.net! I couldn't resist the plug.





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