Timed Reading ESL Activity

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The Timed Reading ESL Activity is a great way to help students recall information from a text. You can do it with articles in textbooks, magazines, newspapers or anything else of interest. Find appropriate textual materials from the web.

Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Age Group: Adults

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Timed Reading ESL Activity

Timed Reading ESL Activity Preparation:

Prepare an article of interest that your class would be interested in. It should be long enough and separated in different sections or paragraphs. Thus, students have clear stop and start points in the article.

Timed Reading ESL Activity Guidelines:

First, before reading, have the class discuss opinions related to the topic of the article. Do some pre-discussion questions to increase engagement in the subject.

Present the text to the class. Then, have students briefly scan the whole article and elicit what the subject matter and main idea. Ask them how many sections there are in the text.

Remember to tell them the aims of the timed reading activity. The goal is to have them read sections of the text and practice recalling information without looking back at the text after they have read it.

Demonstrate the timed reading task to the class. Read the first section aloud. Then, close your book and recall information from the section. Briefly, summarize what you read and pick out a few specific details or important facts to tell the class.

Next, assign the next section of the article for the class to read. Have the students read quietly by themselves. Set a time limit depending on the length of the section. Two minutes should be sufficient for most situations and levels.

After the time is up, everyone should close their books and practice recalling information from the section that they just read in pairs or groups. Students can practice summarizing and picking out specific details. Also, they can help each other remember without looking at the text.

Lead feedback and ask a few students what they can remember in front of the whole class. Help out or elicit any significant information that they missed.

Next, students can do the same thing with the remaining sections of the article. Continue the process and complete the remainder of the article.

Lastly, put the students into discussion groups. Do some critical thinking questions relating to the whole article. They could discuss the main ideas of the text, make inferences, suggestions, and predictions about the topic.

Remember, lead feedback on the discussions and make any corrections that interfere with meaning or general ideas about the article’s content. Additionally, you could review vocabulary from the text as well if there is time.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

After completion, you could have a post-discussion about the article’s topic. Help with questions, vocabulary, and review any difficulties that the class had with the article.

You could also try the Pass the Marker ESL Game or to get students out of their seats to review the vocabulary from the text. For younger learners, the classic Simon Says ESL Game is fun for reviewing words as well.

More ESL Reading Activities for Kids and Adults:

View the reading activities archive.

View more ESL activities.

View this activity on ESL Expat’s YouTube Channel:

Related ESL Resources Online:

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