7 Essential Reading Strategies Your ESL Students Must Know (and YOU Must Teach)
by Claudia Pesce
No one is born knowing how to read.
But becoming simply literate is not enough. For academic and professional success,
you need to learn how to read well
. ESL students, in particular, need to develop the reading skills that will enable them to not only comprehend texts in English, but also obtain what they need to deliver a response, whether this is a written/oral reply or an action they must take. These are the essential reading strategies that you should be teaching your students — at any level.
7 Reading Strategies Your ESL Students Must Know
Previewing is absolutely essential for students to get a sense of what the text is about.
Elements that are usually helpful for previewing are
or titles; images or photos; and signal words or format. For example, if the article has words like
, etc… at the beginning of each paragraph or is a numbered list, students will get the sense that the text lists steps or is a roundup article.
with a great headline. Before reading the article, ask students what they think the article will be about, based on the headline.
It is always helpful for students to learn to place the text within a
Is the news article centered on something that happens everywhere in the world, or just in one specific location? Is this something that affects you, the reader, or other people in the world? Does the main character in the story go through something you can relate to, or something you have no experience in? These are great questions for students to think about as they read.
Before reading this text about
Education in Britain
, discuss the educational system in the country your students are currently in: How many years of grade school are there? How many years of high school? Students read about what it’s like to go to school in Britain and compare it to their country.
Some students, especially those who are visual learners, need to “see” the information.
Can you see the main character in your mind’s eye based on the
? Can you picture the contaminated river as described in the news article? Visualizing also involves organizing the information in a visual way, usually through the use of a mind map or other
Have students read a text like
By the Water
. After the reading, ask students to record the images that come to mind as they read:
I can picture the sun shining on the water and the birds flying above
Asking and Answering Questions
What questions come to mind when you preview an article?
How will the main character solve this problem? Students need to come up with questions they would like answered in the text and pay attention to how they are answered.
Read a news article or a piece like this one about the
. After reading the title, ask students to come up with three questions they expect the article will answer and then read to see if they find the answers.
After the reading, students should be able to
what they’ve read.
This may be a short oral summary or a full paragraph. Summarizing includes a very important skill: getting the gist. What was the main point in the story? Summarizing is not retelling everything that happened as it happened, and students need to not only tell the difference, but also learn to give back information in a clear concise manner.
Ask the class to read the story of
Helen of Troy
. Then, ask them to summarize in just one sentence or two what caused the Troyan War.
Skimming and scanning are usually considered speed-reading skills because they are not used for intensive reading.
They are essential skills nonetheless, and students need to know that sometimes intensive reading is not necessary.
Skimming a text involves running your eyes over it quickly to get the main idea. It also allows you to identify which parts of a long text you might want to read more closely. This skill is particularly useful, for example, for
students who have to read long reports that are several pages long. By skimming the report, they can still follow the gist and stop when they find something of particular interest to them.
Hand out different magazines or newspapers in English, and tell the class they have five minutes to skim one. After they’re done skimming, ask them what stories they remember reading.
Scanning, on the other hand, allows you to quickly search a text for a particular piece of information.
Scanning is ideal when students need to find a phone number in a directory, the date of a historical event or the time their train is leaving.
Show the class this PowerPoint slide about
. Divide the class into groups and give each group 2-3 questions to answer. You can use the same questions that appear on the right but in a different order. Each group must scan the text to find the information they need to answer the questions.
Sometimes teaching ESL is more than “teaching English”.
We must also teach skills and strategies
that will help our students succeed in whatever they choose to do.
What other reading skills do you think are useful for ESL students? Share your thoughts below!
If you enjoyed this article, please help spread it by clicking one of those sharing buttons below. And if you are interested in more, you should follow our Facebook page
where we share more about creative, non-boring ways to teach English.
Get the Entire BusyTeacher Library:
Dramatically Improve the Way You Teach
Save hours of lesson preparation time with the Entire BusyTeacher Library. Includes the best of BusyTeacher:
all 80 of our PDF e-books
. That’s 4,036 pages filled with thousands of practical activities and tips that you can start using today. 30-day money back guarantee.
Popular articles like this
3 Most Essential Reading Skills Your Students Need
ESL Teachers Ask
How Can I Help My Students Improve Reading Comprehension?
Reading Stronger, Faster, Better
5 Activities for Teaching Reading Strategies
Top 4 Tools Your Students Need to Really Understand What They Read
6 Things Every ESL Student Must Know to Improve Reading
12 In-Class Reading Strategies for Higher Level Thinking
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at busyteacher.org
Best Way to Teach Child to Read, Help My Child Learn to Read, How to Teach Phonics to Children, Phonemic Awareness Research, Teach Children Letter Names & Sounds, Teach Your Child to Read Early, Teaching Children Reading at Home, Teaching Children to Read and Write, Teaching Phonemic Awareness, Teaching Phonics to Children
A quick note about the reviews on this site: I am an affiliate for every product I review. The vendors of these products give me them without charge in order for me to test them. However all my reviews are done as honestly as possible and I make no promises to the vendor prior to writing my review. Should you click a link on this site that takes you to a paid product this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to purchase that product.