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Engaging Reading Activities For Your ESL Class

As many teachers know, ESL students struggle with reading activities, especially those that are reading out loud.

Reading activities can be fun! Here are a few different activities for engaging your students and helping them to love reading!

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1. Reading with Emotion

This reading activity encourages students to really pay attention to what they’re reading and to learn proper intonation.

To create an extra challenge, I often have the students walk around the class as they read. For this activity, have students stand up and find a spot of their choice to start in the classroom.

Explain to them that you will have them read aloud with different emotions, giving examples such as sad or happy.

Whenever you feel they need to switch emotions ( I usually wait about one to two minutes ) yell out the next emotion of your choosing. Students have a lot of fun with this one!

Read: Teaching Reading Skills to Beginners

2. Running Dictation

This reading activity is focused on teamwork and integrates all four communication skills.

Have students work in groups of three; one is the reader, one the listener, and the other the writer.

Space them out so that the writer is far enough away from the reader that he/she can’t hear what they say to the listener.

The listener is the ‘runner’ who goes back and forth between the reader and the writer.

The reader should whisper no more than a sentence at a time to the listener from the chosen reading.

The students go back and forth like this until the reading is completed. If it is a long reading, have the students switch roles.

Have the students compare the reading to what was written and correct all errors.

For an extra challenge, have students fill in gaps in the reading as a group.

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3- Reading at different volumes

Again, have the students walk around the room during this activity to create an extra challenge.

Explain that you want them to walk around the room reading aloud at different volumes. Explain that you will yell ‘louder, whisper, really quiet, a bit louder’ etc as they move around the room.

One option is to draw a picture of a stereo on the board with a volume knob.

You can pretend to turn it up a little more while saying which volume you want them to read at.

This reading activity has students slowing down their reading pace, again having them focus on the content of the reading and the intonation required.

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