TV Guide


To help with students’ reading skills, this activity can improve their ability to find information by scanning for information from a list of television programs on a TV guide.

Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Age Group: Kids, Adults

TV Guide ESL Reading Activity

TV Guide Reading Activity Preparation:

Find a listing of television programs from a popular TV station online. You can find many TV guides by going directly to the broadcasting company’s website, such as HBO, CBC, NBC or whichever one you prefer. Try to find one that has a long listing of times, shows, genres and even a description of the programs if you can.

Print out the program listings and prepare them for class. Alternatively, you could keep note of the website name and have tthe students do the activity on their smartphone or tablet.

TV Guide Reading Activity Guidelines:

At the beginning of the lesson, try to have the class discuss their favorite television shows. What kind of genres do they like? Elicit a number of different genres and get them to think of some examples of popular shows that fit under each genre.

You could write all of the shows that they think of on chart on the board. If you want to have the students come up and write the shows themselves, that may be a good idea, especially if they are younger learners.

Alternatively, you could have them discuss the TV shows in groups and write their own charts/lists on paper at their desks.

After the discussion, show the students the TV Guide list of programs that you printed out and explain that they will be focusing on scanning for information on the list of programs.

Hand out the list to each student for them to preview. Elicit what “scanning” is. Emphasize that it is what we do when we are looking for specific information in a text.

Hand out the list to each student for them to preview. Elicit what “scanning” is. Emphasize that it is what we do when we are looking for specific information in a text.

Model a few example questions with one of the students. Ask them what time a particular show is on from the list. Ask them what their favorite show is in a certain time slot. Have the student ask you a few questions relating to the list as well.

Arrange the class in groups or pairs and have them do the same task for about five to ten minutes. By the end of the question and answer period, they should have a stronger understanding for how to scan for information.

At the end of the activity, you could have more discussion about the specific programs that are on the list that they did the scanning exercise with. Get feedback and review the concept.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

To conclude the TV Guide reading activity, as an extension to the lesson, you could have the students create their own fictional TV Guide with their favorite shows on it and do something similar. You could also finish up by having them scan the room for objects or play the Simon Says Game if the students are younger learners.

View more reading activities.

View more ESL activities.


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