Three Extensive Reading Activities for ESL/EFL Students Using E-booksMei-Ya Liang
my_liang [at] yahoo.com.tw
IntroductionThis online extensive reading lesson focuses on intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL students. The objectives of this lesson are to guide students to read authentic e-texts outside of the classroom and to improve their overall reading, writing and thinking skills by synthesizing and evaluating online materials with peers. This lesson aims at EFL high school or college students, but can also be modified and used in both native English and ESL/EFL reading courses for younger students.
The LessonThree activities are designed to help students choose books that meet their interests and reading levels, read and share books both on their own and in a group, and think critically with online texts, tools and resources. Students are provided 10 e-books of different lengths and varying difficulty and study guides as scaffolding for learning. Students are also encouraged to use electronic resources.
1. Choosing Books
GoalsThis activity gives students the opportunity of selecting books that are interesting and appropriate for them to read.
- The instructor emails the class a list of 10 e-books and the study guide and asks students to skim and scan some pages of each book on the web.
- The class votes for the books they might be interested in reading. Students can cast their votes either in the classroom or in an online poll.
Study GuideThe following questions help students skim through these e-books.
- What is the title of this story?
- What type of story is it?
- Who is the main character in this story?
- Is it suitable for me, too easy or too difficult?
- Is this book interesting to me?
2. Reading and Sharing Books
GoalsThis activity leads students not only to read e-texts at their own pace, but to share their text with other students with different abilities and interpretations. Learners can monitor, revise and evaluate their work during the learning process.
- The class reads the three e-books that get the most votes. The class forms groups of three. Each student in a group chooses one of the three books to read as their outside reading assignment.
- Each group discusses these three books based on the story elements of title, setting, characters, problems, major events and conclusion.
- Each member in a group can take turns telling the story, asking questions and retelling the story either in the classroom or an online chat room.
- Each group types a summary report of the three books. Students can exchange and discuss their summaries in the classroom or post and discuss their summaries in the class weblogs.
Study GuideHere are two websites.
- A story map: http://www.education-world.com/a_tsl/TM/WS_storymapws.shtml
- An advanced story map: http://www.lefthandlogic.com/htmdocs/interventions/rdngcompr/storymap1.shtml
- Who is in the story?
- Where does the story take place?
- When does it happen?
- What is it about?
- How does it turn out?
- What are the main characters like?
- How does the setting affect the characters?
- What are the unexpected developments or problems in the story?
- How did the author create the mood (the overall impression)?
- What is the lesson of the story?
3. Evaluating Books
GoalsThis activity leads students to higher-order thinking. Students have to apply, synthesize and evaluate information from the online texts and resources, as well as convince other people in a logical way of the soundness of their judgment or conclusion.
- Each group evaluates the three books by referring to the Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal criteria for outstanding books or to standards that they and their fellow students develop.
- Each group then ranks these three books in first, second and third place and discusses the reason why they judged them the way they did.
- Each group types a final report in the class weblog and gives feedback to the other groups.
Study GuideHere are the two websites.
- Newbery Medal: http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/newberymedal/newberyterms/newberyterms.htm
- Carnegie Medal: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie/crit.html
- Does this book tell a good story? Is this story original and fresh?
- How well do events build to a climax? Are these events plausible and logical?
- Does the theme emerge naturally from the story or overpower the story?
- How well are the characters developed? Are they convincing or stereotyped?
- How does the style of writing compare with other books?
- Do we have to consider other aspects than the text itself?
- How well designed is this book? Is it aesthetically satisfying?
- Do the sound or the graphics enhance the story?
- What is the quality of the web pages?
- How are the parts of the story presented and linked?
A. Introduction (theme, position)
- Narration (summary of the stories and criteria)
- Confirmation (support and evidence)
- Refutation and concession (anticipations of objections and restatement of your viewpoint)
EvaluationThe final group report can be evaluated for its originality of insight, application of criteria, clarity of summary, strength of argument and use of language.
|Points for each criterion||1
|Originality of insight||The insight is limited.||The insight is accurate and clever.||The insight can enlarge the audience's vision.|
|Application of criteria||The criteria are not acceptable for these books.||The criteria are suitable for these books.||The criteria are not only suitable for these books but also applicable to other narrative texts.|
|Clarity of summary||The summary is not correct or appropriate.||The summary is appropriate and complete.||The narration is not only appropriate, but also clear and informative.|
|Strength of argument||The argument is not logical or sensible.||The argument is reasonable but still has flaws.||The argument is very convincing.|
|Use of language||More than three mistakes in spelling and grammar, and an inappropriate writing style.||One or two grammar and spelling errors and an appropriate choice of language.||No mistakes in grammar or spelling and a rich and imaginative use of language.|
ConclusionThis lesson helps students learn how to interpret, appreciate, and respond to the texts, all of which lead students to read more and study more outside of the classroom. Online resources enable ESL/EFL learners to get access to authentic materials and communicate online. This lesson calls on personal reading interests and levels and encourages both dialogical interaction and reflective thought within oneself and in collaboration with peers in a virtual environment. With appropriate guidance, students will increase not only extensive reading, writing and thinking skills, but also their confidence in and motivation for reading L2 texts.
- A story map worksheet: http://www.education-world.com/a_tsl/TM/WS_storymapws.shtml
- An advanced story map worksheet: http://www.lefthandlogic.com/htmdocs/interventions/rdngcompr/storymap1.shtml
- Carnegie Medal criteria: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie/crit.html
- Newbery Medal criteria: http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/newberymedal/newberyterms/newberyterms.htm
- The classic argument structure: http://www.winthrop.edu/wcenter/handoutsandlinks/classica.htm
Links to E-books
- Banph: http://www.banph.com/
- Bikesters: http://bikesters.com/
- Blow Out the Moon: http://www.ifyoulovetoread.com/edited/ch1.htm
- Josie Has A Secret: http://www.jitterbug.com/josie/
- Kamran and Mapa: http://www.kamranenterprises.com/kamran-mapa/first_travel_book/
- Oobistories: http://oobistories.com/index2.html
- The Adventure of Sydney: http://www.cyberkids.com/cw/mul/sydney/
- The Little Knight: http://www.pacificnet.net/%7Ecmoore/lk/
- The Three Princesses: http://faera.com/
- Walks the Red Dog: http://www.backyardnature.net/r/reddog00.htm
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. X, No. 10, October 2004