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Get Your Students Reading and Talking with  
WOW News Stories

When I find interesting or shocking news stories, I love to share them with my students. Focusing on the vocabulary in the story is one thing, but when there's a lesson, a theme, or an emotional reaction that a particular news story creates, there's a tremendous opportunity for ESL learners to  remember and relate personal or shared experiences to what they are reading and comprehending. 

News stories that are interesting, compelling, touching, shocking, humorous or just plain unbelievable can make learning and remembering new and tricky vocabulary and expressions painless. It  can also help spark students' interest in talking about them!
Some Tips:
  • Make sure to have the news article for each student so they can mark it up. If you can't get your hands on printed newspapers for each student, online e-editions can be used either with student smartphones or projected from your computer on your whiteboard or wall for the whole class to see. 
  • Have students take turns reading a few sentences or a paragraph while helping with pronunciation along the way. 
  • Write down new and interesting words from the news story on the board and have students locate them in the reading. You can do a few things such as word and definition matching exercises or finding synonyms for each word on the board. 
  • Have students find all the phrasal verbs or idioms in the story and then have them guess the meanings. 
  • Get students to find the Who, the What, the When, the Where, and the How of the news story. Discuss as a class. 
  • Create conversation questions related to the story for pair or group discussions. 
  • Have students create 10-20 questions about the story. This is often a good way to practice "question-making" which all students have trouble with. Correct them as they go either on the board or orally. 
So the next time you read a news story that makes you say WOW or go Hmmm, share it with your students and see how reading authentic stories that are lively, crazy, interesting or compelling can help make learning a language more enjoyable and increase and improve language skills more natural and faster.


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