Using graded readers with technology (2)

Creative writing with graded readers: one of the tasks from the session

Hi, and a particular welcome to my blog if you're coming to to my session at the Macmillan Teachers' Day in Valencia this Saturday (31st).

Above, you have one of the tasks I will be suggesting, with the example from The Princess Diaries 3 (Pre-Intermediate), though it's one you could adapt to many other readers.

I like tasks that force the learners to read (and re-read) carefully. Here, they have to pick out all the "texts" in the story (listed above, those in the first 30 pages). If you have an interactive whiteboard, slowly reveal your list as a checklist against their lists, using the coversheet, and force people back to the text if you've got something they've missed.

As a follow-up creative writing assignment, the learners then have to create a new story composed almost entirely of different texts. It works great in groups of 4-5, with each writer being responsible for 3-4 different texts, which (first) they've storyboarded into a coherent whole.

The texts could include fake Facebook entries and fake tweets, among other texts.

Thanks, questions, comments
Thanks for coming to the session (giving up your Saturday!); I hope that among the tasks suggested you found something that your learners will like and which will help make the book you are reading with them what it should be — fun!

If there are questions that you have after the session that didn't get answered, do ask them here, in the comments, and I'll be very happy to answer them.

What else do you do with graded readers?
If you do other things with graded readers, do tell us about them, even if they don't involve much (or any!) technology.

What works, what doesn't…?

From the workshop
Macmillan Readers | More links from the session

Related posts
More reading activities | More about blogging | More about Edmodo

How to design good 21st century language learning tasks

How to make your learners authors on a shared class blog

Using Google Docs forms to get feedback from your learners

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  1. Do ask any questions that you might have had left unanswered at the end of the session, and I'll be more than happy to answer them here.

    Do also tell us about anything else you do with graded readers that works well!

    Thanks again for coming to the session. You have a lovely city there in Valencia!

  2. Here's my answer to one of the questions someone asked during the session: how do you correct errors learners make when they're using technology.

    As I suggested, if they don't impede communication, in fact I don't correct many of the errors.

  3. One (two!) of the questions someone asked in the break after the session:

    How many of these tasks would you do with any given book? And how long would I spend doing them?

    Well, most of us don't have a lot of time to fit things like graded readers in, so not by any means all 20 of the tasks suggested! Probably not more than about 3 or 4 per book, and I wouldn't normally spend a LOT of class time on them.

    Most of the class readers I've done I've finished doing within about 5 weeks, and haven't spent more than about a total of 5 hours in class on them (and not by any means all of those have involved using technology!).

    Important: don't let it drag on too long and become boring!

    Parts of the tasks can clearly be done at home (always assuming your learners have internet connections at home), and Edmodo is absolutely ideal for that. Homework on Edmodo is fun!!!!

  4. Would you recommend The Princss Diaries as a reader? Doesn't it touch on some subjects that might just possibly be a little sensitive (?) with teens? Un beso, K.

  5. You mean, like love, Kate?

  6. Yeah!!!! K.

  7. Well, first of all, I would recommend The Princess Diaries because I think kids (of a certain age) will love it and any book that is going to excite a kid is a great book!

    But I know what you mean, Kate. You'd want to treat it in a sensitive manner and (above all!) ensure that you don't end up with kids taking the mickey out of others in the class as they're not so popular and don't have girl/boyfriends, that kind of thing.

    I'd want to do it with a class I knew reasonably well and that I knew would be reasonably "grown-up" about it.

  8. Thanks, Kate! That's a fabulous example!

    I love the comment the girl makes: the project "made their story come to life".

    That's exactly what the idea could do for a graded reader!

  9. Not an especially interesting article, but another idea for getting learners interested in books: what was the first book they remember loving?. Un beso, K.

  10. Thanks, Kate, great idea!!

    We're assuming that that actually ever happened to our young learners (!!!) but I guess it will have done, right, with Harry Potter or Twilight, or something like that.

    With adults, I can see it working excellently.

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