How to prepare lesson plans for ESL reading comprehension lessons

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As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, you will have to know how to prepare reading comprehension lesson plans.

Reading comprehension skills are normally assessed by means of multiple-choice questions, and they are a standard part of almost all ESL certificates; consequently, if you want your students to succeed – make sure that your reading comprehension lesson plans are really good. One way in which this can be done is by using the so-called three P’s methodology which consists of three stages: presentation, practice, and production. In the presentation stage, trainee and novice ESL teachers should introduce and teach the reading comprehension material which the students will be required to master. The lesson plan should reflect this objective, and this can be achieved by engaging the class in discussions and activities relevant to the reading material before actually reading it. These will be motivators for generating interest in the reading material and the practice stage: discuss the title, the genre, the register, the author, and any other topics that may also be used as an introduction to the second stage.

For activities, make use of visual aids and videos to stimulate interest, for example: if the reading material is about ‘the Amazon rainforest’, show your ESL students a YouTube video on this topic. In the practice stage, the students engage in exercises and activities based on the reading material taught in the first stage. At this stage, the students will be guided by you, and this part of your lesson plan should be concerned with checking the students’ general understanding. This is can be done by engaging the whole class in questions and answers activity based on the reading material which should be read aloud by the students, or you could prepare a worksheet to check the students’ understanding of particular language points that have to be understood in order to progress to the last stage, e.g. idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs. When you are asking questions, don’t forget to use concept checking in your lesson plans if you really want to be sure that the student has understood the reading material. You should also avoid showing the students the multiple-choice questions which will be used in the last stage. In the production stage, the ESL students will be required to do the reading comprehension multiple choice questions, but – without the guidance of the ESL teacher. The lesson plan should also allow time for correction, explanation, and analysis of the student’s responses to the multiple-choice questions. TIP For each question, your students should be able to justify their answers by underlining that part of the text which led them to choose a particular answer.

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