Simple reading

I just used the simplest trick in the world for reading a text with a bunch of level 2 kids. We had a couple of Russian anecdotes to read, and time was running out in the class period. I wanted to be able to read quickly but assure comprehension so as to move on and do other things with the stories tomorrow (eg the airplane game), but they both had some critical nouns that the kids hadn’t had, and I didn’t want to be tripping over the new words as we got to them.

I spent my 10% English time on pre-telling the kids most of the anecdotes in English, pointing to the (projected) Russian words that I thought could trip them up. By the third repetition of a word in the stories, I was pausing for the kids to recognize the word and give me the meaning. I saved the funny endings for them to understand later.

We read the stories in Russian, asked comprehension questions, the kids groaned at the punchlines in one voice, and then the bell rang. Perfect.

It’s not a technique I use a lot, but it does set everyone up for success because they already know what the story is about. It’s rather like doing a pre-level 1 Embedded Reading.


2 responses to “Simple reading

  1. Arelle Hughes

    Hi Michele, I’m curious to find out more about the ‘airplane game.’ I’ve never heard of it before.


    • I read about it from Martina Bex! After students read a text, they write a translation of one line or a question (best in English) on the top of a paper. Then they follow directions to make a simple airplane. Then the whole group throws airplanes in some fashion that the teacher decides, and they pick up one to open and answer. The idea is to give such tasks that require a re-reading of the text. I had my kids translate a random line into English and sign their names. The next student wrote the Russian text on the paper and picked another line (or it could have to be the next line) to translate. It would be easy to make variations on this game, depending on the teacher’s objectives. It’s fun, no matter what…kids can try to hit a target, or fly a plane the farthest…


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