How to Teach 'Intensive Reading' in Form One - 'O' Level English


Welcome to UNIT 19.0 

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 18.0, we covered the sub topics: "Expressing past events"    in Form One; "Talking about future plans/activities" in Form One; "Reading and obtaining general information"  in Form Two; and "Writing curriculum vitae (CV)" in Form Four.
                                                                   
IN THIS UNIT 19.0, we will cover the following sub topics: "Intensive reading" in Form One; "Interpreting simple stories" in Form One; "Reading and obtaining specific information" in Form Two; and "Writing letters of application for jobs" in Form Four.

IN THIS UNIT 19.1, we will start covering the sub topic "Intensive reading" in Form One.

TOPIC’S INFORMATION
Main Topic: READING A VARIETY OF TEXTS
Sub Topic: Intensive reading
Periods per sub topic: 11
Class: Form One

DESCRIPTION OF THE SUB TOPIC
We read every day. When I say every day, I mean it is mostly possible that no single day can pass without someone setting his/her eyes on a text be it one word like road and street signs or full phrases or sentences like those on shops, hotels and other places. Because we live these circumstances it is possible that we read every day.
The core aim of this sub topic is to make sure students are able to respond to the specific questions on a text read and give main ideas on what is read in a summary form.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE OF THE LESSON
In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to respond to specific questions on a text read. 

  1. TEACHER’S PREPARATION STAGE
This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher should brainstorm with the students on the meaning of Intensive reading and how this kind of reading is done in order to get students on track. Also learn about Scanning a text and Skimming a text in this blog. 

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will have to prepare a variety of texts on the topics and issues like environmental degradation, family life, education, street children, child labour, responsible citizen and drug abuse.

  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will guide students to practice how to read and respond to specific questions on a text read. The teacher should instruct students how to read the selected text intensively and how to respond to the questions about the text being read. In answering the questions about the text, the teacher will ask students to look for the vocabularies the teacher has identified to be considered. Some of these vocabularies can be:
  • Bush fire
  • Land
  • Forest
  • Soil erosion,
  • Farming
  • Degradation
  • Soil conservation
  • Trees

Learn more about Patterns and Vocabulary here in this blog.
  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, the students are instructed by the teacher to read texts about various things that happen at home or school and respond to specific questions on a text read. For example, the students can read the texts on bush fire that always happen at their homes and respond to the questions. Or the students can read the texts on conservation of forests in their areas and respond to the set questions.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson: The most commonly applied vocabularies are: abuse, drug, rights, forest, soil conservation, soil erosion, bush fire, land, land degradation, forest conservation, and the like.

  1. TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCEDURES, ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

ACTIVITY ONE: Brainstorming. The teacher has to brainstorm with the students on the sub topic/lesson's aspects through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
In this activity, the teacher to brainstorm with students on meaning of intensive reading, what they read and how they read various materials. (Scanning a text and Skimming a text).
Intensive reading is the reading skill that calls for attention to grammar and content of the text. It involves learners reading in detail with specific learning aims and tasks. It can be differentiated with extensive reading, which involves learners reading texts for enjoyment and to develop general reading skills.
INTENSIVE READING activities include Skimming a text for specific information in order to answer the questions like;
  • True or false statements,
  • Filling in gaps.
  • Summarizing,
  • To discover mistakes and inconsistencies of syntax,
  • Scanning a text to match headings to paragraphs, and
  • Scanning jumbled paragraphs and then reading them carefully to put them into the correct order.
  • The aim of this reading skill is to develop intensive reading skills and vocabulary improvements skills.

Remember this is going to be far more time consuming than scanning or skimming.
Characteristics of intensive reading
Texts are read carefully and thoroughly again and again.
It aims at building language knowledge rather than simply enjoyment.
It is usually classroom based.
The reader is intensively involved in looking inside the text.
Readers focus on the surface details such as grammar and discourse markers.

ACTIVITY TWO: Teacher's Demonstration. The teacher applies his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
In this activity, the teacher will use texts on a variety of issues (including causes of environmental degradation, education, life, forms of child labour, ways of eliminating drug abuse and aspects of inequality). Then teacher will have to introduce new vocabulary in meaningful contexts. This is why it is called Intensive reading, an in-depth reading that involves extraction of some special information from the texts.

Text
Teacher's Model
Read the following text then answer the questions.
There is loud cheering, excitement and singing here at this wonderful National Stadium. Both teams have warmed up and are in their respective dressing rooms. Okay, now the teams are coming out and walking towards the centre of the football pitch. The teams are approaching the centre from one direction. The National team is on the right side. It is dressed in blue. The visiting team from Uganda is on the left and it is dressed in red. The fans are singing loudly. Some are dancing happily. Really, there is a lot of excitement here and there this afternoon. The game is starting now. Each team is looking very determined to win this match. Hello, fans! Here we go!
Questions
A. Complete the following questions.
  • What do you think is happening in the pitch?
  • This is called ...........match.
  • Why fans cheer?
  • Who is telling this story?
  • What is visiting team?

B. In each word below, list one word that has the same meaning with the particular word.
  • Excitement..............
  • Pitch.........................
  • Determined...........
  • Cheering..................
  • Stadium....................
  • Warm up................

C. Write True or False to the following statements.
  • The visiting team was Tanzania......
  • The Uganda team was dressed in blue......
  • The fans were cheering........
  • The Tanzanian team wore blue Jerseys.
  • No team was determined to win.......

ACTIVITY THREE: Students' Demonstration. The teacher guides students how they can apply a model like that of a teacher. The skills demonstrated by the teacher should now be demonstrated/applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.
In this activity, the teacher will give students copies of the selected text. The teacher will have chosen this text from a variety of sources and topics. The teacher's role is to make sure that the selected reading material is relevant and to the point. Here the teacher should also set the questions that are related to the text. These set questions will help students read intensively and understand the text well.
After this simple activity of choosing the text for students, the teacher will guide students to read the text silently and respond to the set questions individually. The teacher may have two samples of questions: the questions to ask students individually, and the group questions. Individual questions can be asked after they have read the text. This will help to track their reading and understanding.
After answering individual questions about the text, the teacher will guide students to form pairs or groups and discuss their answers in their particular pairs or groups. These are the set questions that the teacher will have set special for group discussions. These are the questions that students have to find out their answers while in groups.
Finally, the teacher has to conduct and guide students to arrive at correct answers. This is the final stage where teacher guides students to arrive at one common consensus about what has been discussed throughout the sub topic/lesson.

ACTIVITY FOUR: Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.

ACTIVITY FIVE: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teacher summarises the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of 'O' Level English.

REFLECTION
Ask students how they pick out specific information from the book, newspaper, magazine or any large text that they don't have much time to cover it. In the societies where people are busy, reading intensively is the best technique to get the most of the text. The teacher should encourage students to practice this type of reading for better understanding of the selected texts and other reading materials.

ASSESSMENT
A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the student is able to respond to specific questions on a text read.
ASSESSMENTS
Assessment #01: Group work.
Give students a text to read intensively and give them questions to discuss.
Assessment #02: Pair works
In pairs, ask students to read a short piece of text, and then ask each pair to find his/her own answers. Later, they can compare their answers and findings.
Assessment #03: Individual work.
Provide a text to students. Ask them to read individually and submit the answers to you. Or give them a text on reading intensively and test their reading and understanding individually.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.

SUMMARY/CONCLUSION
INTENSIVE READING activities are important for building students’ confidence, inquiring minds, and abilities to read and analyse various texts of various subjects. Both scanning and skimming texts are also important academic skills for any student who wishes to excel in his or her studies. The students should be encouraged to learn these reading techniques. The teachers should also provide their support for the students in order to make sure they attain the special reading levels.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
This article is about how to study and teach "Intensive Reading" in Form One. As a student or teacher, what is your opinion on how to study and teach this sub topic/lesson?
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.
You are Welcome!

Resources
Widodo, H.P (2009) The Journal of Effective Teaching: An Online Journal devoted to teaching excellence: Key Issues in Teaching EFL/RSL Intensive Reading: A Videotaped Self-Observation Report. Vol,  9. No. 3, Indonesia.
http://www.howtolearn.com/2012/08/different-reading-techniques-and-when-to-use-them/

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