Reading-4-Fluency means using higher literature such as short chapter novels and stories in order to improve all areas of English language learning. Reading a book by yourself is great! But if you really want to absorb the deeper meaning and lessons provided by the story, then it is best to go through it with a guide, a teacher! When we read a novel together we work on the following areas:
- Reading: You read each chapter, until eventually you read the entire book. What an accomplishment!
- Listening: You listen to MP3s of your class, as well as MP3s of each chapter of the book, read by me, Tara!
- Pronunciation: You practice proper pronunciation and stress of each chapter through an “echo” technique.
- Speaking: Your pronunciation, comprehension, and opinions are reviewed in question and answer drills.
- Writing: You use the new vocabulary and knowledge to respond to writing prompts related to the text.
What kinds of book can we read together?
Now, there are many books out there, but I must say that some of them can be intimidating for many English students due to the long chapters, advanced vocabulary and complex situations. However, I have personally chosen the following books – books that have short chapters, meaningful lessons, and useful vocabulary. There are many other series and stories (of different levels, and subjects) that I have used in my classes – so these are just a few of the most popular:
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (111 pages, pdf) ~ A story about a young man who goes on an adventure from Spain to Egypt in search of his life’s purpose.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (52 pages, pdf) ~ A story about a poor young boy who get the chance to visit a magical factory where all kinds of strange things occur.
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (107 pages, pdf) ~ A story about the life of a little prince from a distant planet and how he came to be on Earth.
How long does it take to read a book with me?
The amount of time it takes to complete an entire chapter or book depends highly on the students’ abilities and commitment to the program. If a student takes some of their free time to listen to recordings, define new vocabulary, and understand the concepts – then they will be able to advance through the story effortlessly.
What do we do when we read the book?
Well, we usually go chapter by chapter (one chapter at a time) and the process we go through goes something like this:
- Just Listen: You listen to the Audio recording of our class WITHOUT reading the story, once or twice. Then you explain the main idea or “gist” of the chapter. Tell me anything you remember hearing. Then you listen to the Audio recording of the chapter AND read the text at the same time – for better understanding.
- Echo and Vocabulary: This is when we practice pronunciation and stress. I say a few words (or a sentence in you are more advanced) and then you REPEAT the same words/sentence trying to sound EXACTLY like me. When you listen to the Mp3 recording of our class, you will be able to hear the differences and then practice the words and stress that are hard for you. During the “echo” you have the chance to ask about all new vocabulary words and grammar structures.
- Practice makes Perfect: You listen to the Mp3 of our class AND the chapter during your free time and practice your pronunciation and stress (rhythm and cadence), trying to sound like me in the original recording.
- Speaking and Comprehension: After you practice on your own, you read the chapter out loud so that I can listen to you and your improvement. Then I ask you several questions about the chapter allowing you to show me that you fully understand. Finally, we discuss all the concepts that are presented in the chapter such as the “Role of the Media” or “Advertising to Children”.
- Written Work: Some students like to have a chance to practice their writing skills. Here I give you several options for writing assignments that we go over together during our next class. You have a chance to use the new vocabulary and grammar you learned.