Learning How to Read
Reading is the best way to prepare for any test. This is true for native speakers too. Many people don’t want to read, this makes learning very, very difficult; and passing tests nearly impossible. I kept a bookshelf in my class so that any students with a little time on their hands could get a book from me. I used children’s books with adult storylines like The Giving Tree. And books with short passages or lots of visuals like Material World by Peter Menzel or Eduardo Galeano’s The Book of Embraces. I never told anybody they had to read. I did give them a moment to seize.
Book, Read, Literature, Adventure, Shelf, Pick up a book, Write a book
There are very good, very short reading passages in the world. These can be used to introduce people to the great satisfaction of reading. I have tried silent reading times with mixed success, though I think is worth it for the people who do catch on. I also try to find poems and short stories that we can read quickly and then spend a long time learning from. The reading part is quick and doesn’t get boring. The reflecting part points back to reading more deeply.
Here’s an example:
Are you a creative person? I just have rough drafts for most of my activity sheets, maybe you can help me think of better designs for these.
It might be too much to ask people to write a whole book about themselves, especially in just one class. It can be helpful to ask them just to make the cover. This lets us express a lot of ideas without language, it puts them out where we can see them. Without this our ideas often get lost in “I don’t know”. A book cover, its title and pictures, gives us something to point at and ask about. And answer. The answer is important too, because it is all about you. I’ve thrown in some blank pages for highlights from the book as well, more drawing- and writing practice.