Month: July 2015

Train ESL students to speed read – Teaching scanning skills

This is the fifth in the series of techniques to help students develop and practice their reading skills. Here’s the first post on the difference between ‘reading quickly’ and skimming, the second one on raising awareness about eye movement in speed reading, the third on obscuring textual margins and tricking / teaching the brain to skim texts, and the fourth on teaching students to map texts to make scanning easier.

Teach scanning skills

The mantra for teaching reading (and every other skill) is ‘task before text’, i.e. set the task learners are expected to complete before you give them the text. The completion of the task is their objective or aim, and to achieve their aim, students must activate and use a range of skills such as skimming, scanning, and close reading.

Now, while a lot of teachers are familiar with this mantra, what they seem to do is simply hand out the questions on a piece of paper, then immediately proceed to hand out the text, set the time limit and boom – it’s time to start. (more…)

Train ESL students to speed read – Mapping the text

This is the fourth in the series of techniques to help students develop and practice their reading skills. Here’s the first post on the difference between ‘reading quickly’ and skimming, the second one on raising awareness about eye movement in speed reading, the third on obscuring textual margins and tricking / teaching the brain to skim texts.

For long sections of text, it’s useful to teach our learners to map the text. Essentially, this is a breaking down of the text into smaller digestible chunks by identifying the main idea being talked about over one or two paragraphs. When mapping a text, it’s a good idea to divide it into sections using a horizontal line between paragraphs and writing a keyword or two that sums up the main idea in the margins. (more…)