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A weekly online reading or listening task

You know how we often ask A-level students to "read around" the subject? And you know how many don't do it? How about this for your AS-level and A-level groups this year? Each week you ask students to read a target language article online. They can choose any topic they like. You could suggest some useful sites to get them going. There are plenty of suggestions for French on the links pages of frenchteacher.net.

It could work like this : you tell your students to copy and paste the piece on to a sheet of A4 and get them to add a 15 word bilingual glossary (words they did not know before) and a short summary in English. They hand in the sheet on a set day each week. You simply read, tick and hand back the sheet. This is to check that students have done the task. You do not need to mark it, that's not the point. In any case, you have more than enough marking already. You could leave a comment if you wish. Students could do all this electronically if you and they prefer.

You need to insist on deadlines and correct format to get your students into good habits.

A handy spin-off, by the way, is that you might find that students come up with interesting material you could use later in lessons.

Don't worry too much about the subject matter students choose. If they like football or fashion reports every week, that's fine. The point is for students to read for pleasure, be exposed to more input and acquire new vocabulary. You might suggest your students keep a reading diary if they choose to go beyond the assigned task. You will probably find students end up doing a fair amount of browsing of TL sites in the process.

A variation of the task would be to ask students to design a worksheet around the text they choose.

As an alternative you could occasionally ask your students to seek out some listening. In this case they could just summarise what they heard and add a glossary. This is harder to monitor accurately and sources of the right level are more difficult to locate, but it can be done. The site France Bienvenue is a good starting point.

By the end of the year your students would have read at least 30 articles for pleasure.




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