An article by Richard James Rogers (Author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management)
Many school subjects require students to read and analyse paragraphs of text. Whether it’s a description of freeze-thaw action in geography, or a synopsis of the rise of crypto currencies in ICT or economics: blurbs, descriptions and essays confront our students with unique challenges.
Sometimes our students don’t yet have the reading level to cope with the text. Sometimes they just simply get switched-off or disinterested, and this may or may not be related to their English language proficiency.
Have you ever stopped reading a book, or a short article, because it just didn’t interest you enough? I know I have, many times.
I can read but if I’m not interested, I’ll switch off.
Take the following body of text from my book, for example. How would you differentiate this so that all of the students in your class could understand and use it?:
I had a great professional development session with a group of colleagues this week. We came up with some great ways to differentiate texts, which I’ve included below. Study the images carefully: I’ve linked them to the text above.
Technique #1: The Funnel
Basically this is a filtering system where the students take all of the key words in a text and filter them down into, first, a few sentences; and then, just one sentence:
Technique #2: True or False Questions
Nice and simple and can be done in a number of ways:
- Write the true or false questions yourself, and get the kids to answer them
- Get the kids to write true or false questions and give them to each other (recommended for high-ability students, as this one is a little more difficult to mark/assess and takes more time and effort to complete).
Technique #3: Flow chart
Kids create a flow chart that either describes the process involved, or the reasoning behind the text. Questions can be used as connectives:
Technique #4: Fill in the blanks
This is a simple one and can be used to reinforce technical vocabulary, elements of speech (such as interjections and conjunctions) or anything else that’s important.
Technique #5: Cartoon Strip
The kids will need to be quite creative with this one, as they may need to illustrate the concepts using an actual example. Great fun, and can get quite entertaining!
There are lots of creative ways in which students can be assigned to decipher and breakdown texts. Consider these suggestions:
- Stop-motion animations (takes a lot of time but acts as a great mini-project)
- Drama and role-play
- Website creation
- Infographic creation (much better than ‘make a poster’)
- Make an instructional video
I’ve drawn all of today’s images myself using some beautiful Sharpies®. Highly recommended:
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