Incorporating current events into the classroom in an easy-to-use format is a great way to help adult learners practice their skills. Over the years, we have asked tutors and teachers to share with us the strategies they have found successful for using easy-to-read news stories, specifically from News for You, in their own classrooms. Here is the second installment of some of their tips, strategies, and exercises to use in lesson plans. Click here to read Part 1 of this series.
You can try News for You Online FREE through December 14, 2016. Visit newsforyouonline.com and enter password POST16 to sign in.
1. Predictions From Headlines
Read the headline of an article to the class. Have students predict what the article is about. Brainstorm as a group to find out what they already know about the topic. Then have the students read the article and discuss the new information they have learned.
2. Read, React, Write
This activity is good for ABE and GED students. It is especially useful as an activity to precede formal essay instruction.
Ask each student to find an article and read it carefully. Ask them to write down their reactions to the articles. These reactions should reflect the student's feelings and should be supported with details and/or examples. Then ask students to write short, two- or three-sentence summaries of the articles.
3. Express Opinions
Choose an article that students may find controversial, and have students read the article. Then ask each of them to take a stance on that controversial topic and to defend it. They can do this orally or in writing, individually or in groups. Encourage them to "disagree agreeably." These discussions can lead to good topics for essay writing.
4. Listen for Changes
Give students an article to read carefully. Once they are finished, ask them to put away what they just read. Read the article aloud to the students, but make some changes. For example, change dates, names, or other facts. Ask students to call out or raise their hands when they hear something different from what they read. Then ask if they can give the correct version.
Variation: Let students "doctor" the stories and read their versions aloud to classmates. Ask the classmates to listen for differences.
This activity integrates reading and listening skills. It also provides practice in listening for detail.
5. Make Cartoon Strips
This activity is great for students who process information best by manipulating it.
First, have the students read an article. It might work best to have someone read the story aloud. Then ask the group to discuss the characters, the setting, and the sequence of events described in the article.
Hand out art supplies for students to create their own cartoon versions of the story, complete with dialog bubbles. Have students share their creations with the rest of the class and/or post the cartoon strips around the classroom.
Check out News for You, a newspaper published weekly by New Readers Press for adults learning to read, and try some of these tips. You can try News for You Online FREE through December 14, 2016 with the password POST16. News for You also has a section just for teachers with strategies organized by category and a downloadable weekly Teacher's Guide. Let us know if the strategies worked for and add some of your own tips and tricks in the comments below.
We'll be publishing more tips for using current events in the classroom in future blog posts. Subscribe to our blog so you don't miss them!