Some ways to use graded readers

  • For individual free reading
  • As a class reader
  • As a text for intensive reading and language study
  • To preview a story
  • To read while listening (to match sounds with words)
  • For listening practice

Oxford Playscripts (plays) can be used for class productions too. Listening to the tape will help learners practise their part.

Hints for using the graded reader listening tapes/CDs for extensive listening

  • They should listen to small sections at a time so they don’t get tired.
  • They should have to book with them to check what thy understood if necessary (after they listen)

Responses to Reader cassettes and CDs

  • Teachers largely preferred not to use them in class,
  • Learners report benefits for pronunciation and intonation
  • They can listen anytime anywhere – e.g. in the car.
  • Learners find it difficult to find time to listen (so many teachers require it)
  • Many learners say that they can feel a real story by listening to it.

Hints for class use of graded listening tapes for intensive listening

Makes sure that the listening is not too difficult but is  interesting to the listeners.

  • In the language lab, record the master on to the students’ tapes for individual listening.
  • Choose short sections of the story to play, say 10 minutes at most.
  • Ensure you explain the procedure well and clearly.
  • A general tip for most students is to start them start 2 levels below their current reading level.
  • Some tape players have a ‘slow’ button to slow the speed of the tape.

Some activities

 Before listening

  • Students make a list of words they expect to hear (you tell them what the scene will be in advance). Listen and check. This can be done as a review as well (did they remember the words?)
  • Use the tapes to preview a story – play the first chapter (or the end of the story so they have to listen closely), then read.
  • Use the tape to predict what will happen (especially those with sound effects)
  • Give a short summary of the next part of the story. Ask the students to guess and write the characters’ words. They listen and check.
  • If your tape player has a speed control, play it really fast first and they predict.

While listening

  • Copy the pictures from the book (or a chapter) onto one sheet of paper out of order. Students listen and order them.
  • After listening to a chapter or section, they fill in a table, diagram, flow chart, map, mind map, or chart (see below).  E.g. the characters and details.
Age / sex Character Other information

Or from a factual book e.g. Factfiles or biographies

When? What happened?   Happening Day / date
1978 Born in London They started the company August 1982
1985 The factory opened
1986 etc
  • Listen for numbers, e.g. dates, ages, years, months etc. Make a list and they have to say what they refer to.
  • Have some students listen to the story and others read it (or a chapter) and they compare what they heard / read.
  • Play a short section and they write the next paragraph and then check.
  • Make a cloze of the text. They listen and fill in
  • Make different 2 clozes of the same page / event – A and B. Students with A or B fill in their part and complete it together.
  • Play certain key sounds and they predict.
  • Students listen and match a picture of the characters and objects that refer to them (or events etc), or draw lines referring to their relationships.
  • Copy the text and then white out certain spoken sections. They fill them in.
  • They put events or characters in order (give a list first if you wish).
  • In difficult sections of the text, you can do a Dictogloss. Play the tape twice. Everyone writes down what they can and compare with others to try to recompile the text. Their aim is to re-tell the story not to get an exact replica.
  • Young children can physically respond or act out what they hear.

After listening

  • As revision, can they remember which word used to describe certain characters / events etc.? Listen and check.
  • Transcribe the text and change a target item (phrase / word/ character etc._ Listen back and correct the mistake.
  • Graded difficulty of task. They can read a text first and then listen and read and then listen only.
  • Play the tape back and they check certain key sentences for the exact words. Work as a class to fill in on the board or competitively as teams.
  • As a dictation.
  • If they have only listened, they draw the main characters and then compare with the book.
  • They transcribe a section with intonation patterns, stresses, lift and fall tones etc. Then discuss why they occurred.