Friday, January 05, 2007

Getting your students to read

iPod, do you?, originally uploaded by Carlos Noboro.

I thought I'd talk again about a teaching idea that has really been a major help to my students. It combines the two great traits of any good idea; it's easy and it's quick. As most language art teachers know one of best routes to proficiency in a language, be it a foreign one or your own is extensive reading.

The problem is that for many students the idea of reading literature, on top of all the other stuff they have to do sounds more like punishment than anything else. Over the years I've pleaded, begged, threatened, demanded and any number of other verbs my students to read outside the curriculum, often to no effect. However, last year I hit upon a method that gets my students to read more. Instead of asking them to read, say a chapter (WHATTTTT, ARE YOU KIDDING????) I simply say I want them to do 20 minutes per week extra work. Hardly, a huge sacrifice, even for my over stretched, time - famished teenage students.

Basically, the idea is that the students listen to an audio book whilst following it in printed form. In this way, even a chapter can be done in less than half an hour. Also, it can be done anywhere, if you have an mp3 player or mobile phone with mp3 capability the you can listen on the bus, in bed, lounged out in front of the TV etc. Also for foreign language students the ability to see what is being said as well as listen to it makes the whole task much easier.

The audio books can be downloaded from any number of sources. For those of you interested in the likes of Dickens, Austin, Wilde and the like, go to Librivox or Gutenberg.

For those of you with more modern tastes then a quick visit to TorrentSpy and the like via BitComet is more likely to get you what you want.

Just remember to make sure you are downloading the full, unabridged version.


Jude said...

When my daughter had to read for high school classes, I always rented or purchased the audiobook for her to read along. She graduated from high school in 2000. A good reader can make a book more interesting by acting. A good reader can increase the listener's comprehension. I remember listening to The Great Gatsby a few years ago, and I became so caught up in the story that I checked out the book and read it (because I can read faster than the readers on tape). Therefore, I believe that a good reader can make you want to read the book on your own.

teacher dude said...

I was just listening to The Great Gatsby the other day and I couldn't agree with you more.