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Five zero preparation reading activities

For advanced students, write up some figures taken from a text at random on the board. Ask the students to work in pairs to find the figures in the text and then explain to each other what they refer to, using their own words where possible. When they finish, tell the students to turn over the text so that they cannot look at it. Point at the figures on the board and ask the students what they refer to.

For intermediate and advanced students, write a random list on the board of some key words or ideas from the text, choosing one item per paragraph. Ask the students to sequence them according to the article.

Ask intermediate or advanced students to design a worksheet based on a text. This would be a good chance to talk about assessment and question types. The task also puts students in the shoes if the teacher, thereby helping them develop their own reading strategies.

For all levels, when you worked on a text for some time, ask students to hide the text. You then read aloud the text, pausing to leave a gap. Students have to put up their hand to supply the next word or words. Alternatively they could write them down on mini whiteboards. You then give the correct answer and move on. You could warn students earlier in the teaching sequence, to focus their minds, that you are going to do a memory test later.

For all levels. Do an improvised true-false reading comprehension. Look through the text yourself and find a fact. Paraphrase it in your own words, either accurately, or else changing some small detail so that it is not the same as in the text. Ask the students to scan the text to see if your statement is true or false.

With thanks to Paul Emerson for three of these.

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