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Helping students improve their reading skills...


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I would like to prepare some materials for my students to help them improve their reading skills.  I have looked through their textbooks.  The only answer I see to improving reading skills seems to be "learn more words".  Granted, vocabulary is important, but there are other things that students can do to improve their reading.   Does anyone have articles that are helpful to this end?  Suggestions...ideas...especially things you have used in China that worked?  I know..I am an oral English teacher...but I firmly believe that if I can get my students to be more successful at reading, they will like English more and will be more willing to speak, etc.

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https://readtheory.org/ is quite nice... if the students do a couple of pre-tests then it will give them reading comprehensions based on their current level, and it continues to be adaptive all the time you use it. 


We use it a lot in my school.  I think it also gives you lexile scores.


What age/level are they at?  If quite low/young you could try working on lists of Fry sight words so that they're not struggling with the most common words that they should just know rather than having to decode.


Other than that... reading classic books in English suitable for their level/age. So many great ones to choose from. 




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Thanks for the great input!  They are jr and sr high school students in a public school.  The school has some of the lowest test scores in the district; the district is one of the most backward in the whole city.

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In terms of books, my Chinese students (aged 11-14) seem to really like:

  • Roald Dahl, who wrote a good range of books covering different levels... e.g. The Magic Finger is only about 32 pages, but then there are the longer chapter books and classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and most of them have the brilliant Quentin Blake illustrations which make them very accessible (and even more funny).
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is also very popular
  • ditto for How to Train Your Dragon series


They are all either in, or wanting to enter, international schools so most of them have reasonable English levels.


If you want some lesson plan ideas, check out https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/ (by British Council) or just google "lesson plan" and whatever you want to cover... there's a ton of resources out there.


btw: if you're considering level, you should expect ESL students to be at least 2 grades below native speakers' reading level, or in your case possibly even lower. But starting lower and building confidence will surely help, so long as you don't give them readings they consider to be for much younger kids. 




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Just to take a step back though — why are they only learning "oral" English? 


Illiterate students are only going to progress in a very limited way, especially in vocabulary if they can't read.


If they can understand Hanyu Pinyin then at least they can recognise the Roman alphabet.

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  • 2 months later...

Our school gave us funding for teachers to create a Razkids account. I still don't really know what it is or how to use it, but I skimmed it quickly, and it seems to have access to electronic reading materials of all levels based off of standards I have used before, such as F&P. You can create a class, give each kid a username, and they can login and do their leveled reading. I also believe they can record audio and send it to the teacher, but again, I haven't played around with it much yet, so I'm not sure.


Thats kidsa-z.com

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