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Sentence Stealers with a twist

Image: pixabay.com
Sentence Stealers is a reading aloud game invented by Gianfranco Conti. I'll describe the game to you, then suggest an extension of it which goes a bit further than reading aloud. By the way, I shouldn't need to justify the usefulness of reading aloud, but just in case, we are talking here about matching sounds to spellings, practising listening, pronunciation and intonation and repeating/recycling high frequency language patterns.

This is how it works:

  • Display around 15 sentences on the board, preferably ones which show language patterns you have been working on recently or some time ago.
  • Hand out four cards or slips of paper to each student.
  • On each card students must secretly write a sentence from the displayed list.
  • Students then circulate around the class, approaching their classmates and reading a sentence from the displayed list. If the other person has that sentence on one of their cards, they must hand over the card. The other person then does the same, choosing a sentence from the board to see if their partner has it.
  • As an alternative, to add some spice students can play rock/paper/scissors to see who has the right to read a sentence.
  • After five minutes, the winner is the person with the most cards.

This is a jolly good little game to recycle some language in a fun way and teachers say it works really well.

Extensions

You take take the game a little further, though, adding an element of memory to go with the reading aloud aspect.

So, after playing the first game for five minutes, you could then display a list of the same sentences, but with gaps. The number and nature of the gaps would depend on your class. Each sentence would be numbered or lettered, e.g. A, B, C, D etc.

This time, instead of students writing a sentence on each of their cards, they simply write the letter of the sentence from the board. Then the game proceeds in the usual way, except this time students must produce their sentences from memory (referring to the gapped sentences on the board). The teacher could even create some more gaps in the displayed sentences as the game proceeds, to provide a bit more challenge.


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Esmerelda Salgado on Twitter added this idea:

"I take your idea a step further by doing a final round with the sentences written in English on the board and the correspondent initials in TL."

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All in all, this is a low preparation, high impact little game which allows for some useful retrieval practice all in the target language.

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