Skills: reading 2. Tasks for reading activities: the picture story.

Skills: reading 2. Tasks for reading activities: the picture story.

In the Cambridge Young Learners exams, candidates are asked to answer questions about a picture story. The story is in text with pictures representing what takes place in the text. As a TEFL teacher, we hopefully have a large resource of materials supplied to us from the publishing house. However, some of us may not be so fortunate as to have this material available, or we may want to exercise our imaginations and create an activity that lends itself to the exam task, but also allows us to introduce other skills into the activity and have our students benefit from using English whilst physically moving and communicatively interacting. Here are a few ways to achieve this:

1)      The teacher takes any picture story. The sources are infinite: Garfield, Mafalda, Charlie Brown etc. The pictures (downloaded / photocopied / sketched) are placed around the classroom and a corresponding text, produced by the teacher if necessary, is placed on the whiteboard (or wherever is appropriate!). The advantage of the teacher producing the text is that the target language can be deliberately included.

2)      Students (individually or in groups) are given time to examine the text and look at the pictures.

3)      After a given amount of time, the teacher hands the text to the first student/group of students and tells them that they are going to read the story out loud, whilst physically positioning themselves next to the image that reflects what they are reading, and if possible point to relevant parts of the picture that the text is describing as the text is read.

4)      This concept may need demonstrating so that they understand what they need to do (which may require the teacher to produce demonstration materials before giving the students their materials)

5)      The above is simply a text-visual matching exercise with physical movement. Variations on this theme include students being given the pictures to look at and try to spot the errors. This would require the teacher to write out the original text, while including statements that the picture contradicts. For example, if the picture shows a boy eating his breakfast, the text could contradict the food seen on his plate. If in the picture he is seen eating sausages, the text could state ‘…he certainly enjoyed his eggs for breakfast…’

6)      Another variation would be to add in extra texts which are redundant or do not have a logical progression when taking the visuals into account.

7)      Also possible is to introduce a memory aspect to the activity. The teacher could lay out the visuals for students to look at before giving out the texts. These are then turned face down and the texts made available. After reading the texts, the students then have to use their memory to decide which extract of text goes with which face-down picture.

These are just some of the classroom techniques taught on the TEFL centre course in Málaga, and we will continue to offer more ideas for reading the articles to follow.


Tags: TEFL course malaga, TEFL training, reading skills, picture stories
Posted on September 10th, 2017


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