How we see it
The materials we share with you on ESL Brains mainly focus on practising speaking and listening skills. It’s reflected in almost every worksheet we publish. However, it doesn’t mean we don’t want students to practise the remaining basic language skills, i.e. reading and writing. It’s just the way how these skills are usually approached and taught that we find difficult to support. We’re not sold on spending a lot of precious students’ class time on reading long texts and doing comprehension activities. Students often have one hour of English a week, which in practice means it’s the only time when they are actually exposed to the language. Of course, teacher’s support during reading activities is valuable and such activities can be conducted in class, but within reasonable limits.
Therefore, our idea is to make students read longer texts outside the class. We’ve always tried to motivate students to do that by asking them to choose an article of their interest or, if they suffer from a lack of time (as many adults learners do), by curating some texts for them. Most of our students love to read something authentic and interesting and talk about it in class. Basically, this is what we want to do as part of our critical reading club: curate content for you and your students.
What to expect and where to go to get it
The concept is quite simple. We want to curate thought-provoking articles on up-to-date topics out of the ocean of texts available online. Each week, we’ll try to present you with a link to a worth-reading article together with discussion questions we’ve come up with. You can send the link to your students so that they read the article before class and then, start your class by asking questions we’ve prepared. You could also encourage your students to prepare one question they’d like to discuss in relation to the article they’ve read. We’ve done that for years with our students and it’s been pretty successful.
You’ll find the article links and questions on our Instagram account. Yep, that’s right, we have an Instagram account, but up till now, we didn’t have a good reason to use it 😊
Feedback from you
How does it sound? Please share your thoughts about our critical reading club with us via email or on our Instagram account. If you ever come across an article worth reading, send us a link and we might share it with other teachers together with some questions for class discussions.