Readworks.org is an excellent source of materials for teaching and learning reading comprehension. Readworks gives the teacher access to tons of texts adapted to suit the needs of educators all across the elementary and secondary stages (grades K to 12 in the US school system). If you want to include reading activities to comply with the requirements of the new ENP English programs, this is a site worth checking.
Just bear in mind that the texts are meant for users of English and not for learners of English as a foreign language, thus, we advise you to use your common sense when choosing a text.
Here are some features that prove Readworks is worth subscribing to:
- You can subscribe for free (do it right away, you never know!)
- You have access to thousands of adapted texts
- It provides texts for a wide range of topics and subjects
- Some of the texts include audios
- You have access to accompanying reading activities and exercises
- You can download PDF versions of the material
- You can use the filter feature to look for a specific level, a subject or topic, or a skill or strategy you want to foster (predicting, making inferences, understanding the author’s purpose, etc.)
Another feature that you may want to try is Teacher Tips. In this section of the site you’ll discover new ways to introduce a reading routine into your teaching practice.
Here’s a sample text with exercises and answer key.
Visit ReadWorks.org and support this site if it’s withing you means.
Learning a foreign language (FL) with audiobooks is an effective way of getting used to the way words are actually pronounced; and in the hands of teachers fully commited to their students, these resources can be capitalized on to devise even more creative ways to address the four skills in their practice. Lit2Go is a fabulous website that hosts a huge collection of audiobooks of non-graded classic works.
You can search books by author, genre or name. Even better. With the Readability tool you’ll find works classified by level of difficulty, beginning at level K (kindergarten), all the way to level 12 (highschool).
Here are some examples of K-Level readings:
A Was An Apple Pie
Coffee And Tea
This Little Mouse
And some examples of K-12 readings:
The Flamingo Feather
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
And as if this wasn’t enough, the creators and contributors to the site include activities suggested for students which can be downloaded along with the texts in PDF and the audios in MP3. Do take a look!
In these times of educational unrest some messages from concerned parties resound stronger. We think this video is an honest criticism of the educational system of the last centuries and a powerful cry to all parties involved in it to work to restore dignity to the teaching profession.
Surely you are acquainted with the series of conferences known as TED Talks. The program is a nonprofit initiative to share valuable ideas on a wide range of subjects in the form of talks by experts of worldwide renown. Sir Ken Robinson, a British expert on education, has given two highly acclaimed talks at two TED Talks events whose videos, according to his webpage, have been seen by about 250 million people around the world. We found his talks very enlightening, thought-provoking and funny, and because of their relevance, we invite you to have a listen. However, critical thinkers as we all are, we encourage you to take his words with a pinch of salt and come to your own conclusions. If you want to know more about Sir Ken Robinson, you can visit his website here:
RedELE is an online publication by the Red Electrónica de Didáctica del Español como Lengua Extranjera. It’s a service provided by the Ministry of Education of Spain and its main goal is to disseminate language teaching research, experiences and approaches to teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
Whereas the focus of the site is teaching Spanish as a foreign language, there are articles, experiences, and suggestions that can enrich the professional practice of practically any language teacher, for there are several universal principles when it comes to language teaching, and they can be adapted to suit the needs of every teacher of any language.
Whether you are a perfectionist always looking for new and creative ways to teach language, or you are involved in projects that require that you do research, the RedELE magazine may prove to be a huge asset.
Visit the RedELE magazine here.
Here are some articles we found interesting for our line of work:
Diseños de aprendizaje y espacios de interacción en la enseñanza de ELE
La explotación del cortometraje en la clase de español LE: Un perro andaluz (1929), Belarra(2002) y Ana y Manuel (2004)
Formative assessment is the process that tells us whether learning is happening or not, and it isn’t only for teachers to design or redesign instruction, but for students to identify their strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. As such, it is of the utmost importance to be continually formatively assessing students’ learning with the most diverse and creative techniques so this process is effective and motivating.
The West Virginia Department of Education, on his website, presents some very interesting and useful formative assessment techniques than can be used or adapted into our context.
Click here to visit the website, and while you are at it, take a time to explore the website’s content: West Virginia Department of Education
Here are some examples:
Learning / Response Logs
Peer / Self Assessment
Think Pair Share
American English site is yet another robust source of useful information, materials and ideas to improve or strengthen our practice.
The site is home to the quarterly journal English Teaching Forum, which in itself is reason enough to pay a visit. Here are some of the articles that caught our eye and might be useful for us ENP English teachers.
Teaching Techniques: Physical Vocabulary in the Beginner-Level Classroom
Observation Tools for Professional Development
A Ten-Step Process for Developing Teaching Units
Beyond the Gap Fill: Dynamic Song Activities for Song in the EFL Classroom
There is also the Resources section where not only do you get to know what other teachers are doing to teach difficult grammar or the four skills, but you will also find very well thought activities and materials ready for you to download and use. Take this Color Vowel Chart for example, which is an interesting way to teach all the vowel sounds of the standard American English accent.
Finally, you also get access to past webinars on ELT, which you can download in PDF version, too. Have a look at this one on teaching with Jazz Chants.
What about paying a visit to American English and seeing what works for you? It’ll sure prove to be time well-spent.