Increase Your English Students Reading Confidence

Increase their reading confidence as well as their English skills.

There is no greater motivator than success.

As part of my reading project I am exploring the use of leveled readers in the acquirement of English.  I have been using them since the start of this academic year.  At first I was unsure how it was going to be received by my students, especially my adult classes. But I spoke to them about the research that I've been doing and how it says that reading can increase their vocabulary and their comprehension.  They reluctantly got on board, but now they are totally enjoying it.  One of the main comments is "I feel great to that I can understand."

As a primary teacher in California I saw every year the progress my students made when they were reading books at their level.  Progressively we increased their level as they got more comfortable with each level and by the end of the year even the students that had come in below grade level had reached grade level or were close to it.

This inspired me to try this in my English language classes. I am very proud to say that my students are doing very well.  One of the important things in this project is to have them choose their own books.  I taught them how to choose the right level for them. They read a page from a book and keep track of how many words they found difficult.  If in the first page they find more than five words that they don't understand and could not decipher the meaning from the context then that book is to hard for them.

As part of the project I have them read in class for 5 minutes, just enough to get them into their book. Then for about 10 minutes in a group of 4 they discuss what they have read in their books so far.  This has a two-fold purpose: one they lead busy lives and sometimes they don't get enough time outside of class to read, but if I allow them to read in class and then discuss it with their peers, they get motivated to make the time to continue reading outside of class.  The other purpose it to get them speaking about something that they are enjoying. An added bonus is that it helps them increase the comprehension of their book.

Once they have completed the book I give them a writing assignment.  I try to have them do creative reports, such as writing a poem about their book or a letter to one of the main characters.  They like it because it is not the typical a summary of the book.  They also have to do a presentation of their book to their peers.  In a homogeneous group of 4, no more than 5 students, they get a chance to share their book.  I come up with different questions for them to answer each time, to keep them engaged.  I go around listening to their presentations and helping them out if they need it.

So far it has been very gratifying to see them respectfully listening to each other, asking to read the book next and sharing details about their book.  I haven't had to ask anyone to move up a level, they have been monitoring their progress and moving up as they feel more comfortable. Some have moved up two levels since we started.
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