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Teaching EFL/ESL Students How to Read Time and Newsweek
by J. Ignacio Bermejo
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Conclusion: a Standard Lesson Plan to Read Time and Newsweek Stories

A standard lesson plan to read Time and Newsweek stories in the EFL/ESL class could be the following:

1. Read the highlighted information (headline, subheadings, caption, look at the pictures and charts).
2. Discuss your predictions in pairs and then as a class.
3. Skim the text in one or two minutes, to find the backbone of the story, the aspects of the story that are going to be covered. Try to find the topic sentences to do this. When students are not yet familiar with the concept, function and location of topic sentences, stages 3 and 4 can be done after the reading comprehension (6).
4. Discuss these summaries in pairs and as a class, if it is necessary.
5. Read the story at your own speed.
6. Discuss comprehension questions in pairs and as a class.
7. Discuss the meaning of unknown words, difficult sentences, the headline…, in pairs and/ or as a class.
8. As a follow-up activity give your opinions about the content of the story.

This lesson can be dynamic, motivating and amusing because it will include a variety of tasks such as reading highlighted information, anticipation, skimming, reading for specific comprehension, vocabulary and syntax analysis, discussions… The lesson will encourage natural, meaningful communication and student interaction in the EFL classroom because learners will have to think and use English to solve the tasks. But teachers have to play a decisive role as mediators in this learning experience: we have know very well the peculiarities of Time and Newsweek stories so that we can plan activities that teach our students how to read this particular example of journalistic style.


Bell, A. 1991. The Language of News Media. Oxford: Blackwell.
Nunan, D. 1989. Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hughes, G. 1992. "Timespeak" in McArthur, T., The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Newsweek, January 24, 2000.
Newsweek, February 21, 2000.
Prabhu, N.S. 1987. Second Language Pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ross, N. 1995. "Coping with Time and Newsweek", Modern English Teacher, vol 1, nº 1: 15-19.
Skehan, P. 1998. A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Time, October 11, 1999.
Time, February 7, 2000.
Time, February 21, 2000.
Williams, M. and R. Burden. 1997. Psychology for Language Teachers. A Social Constructivist Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


J. Ignacio Bermejo Larrea has been a teacher at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas nº 1, Zaragoza, Spain, for fifteen years, where he served as vice-director for 10 years and was directly involved in the creation of a self-access centre. He holds a BA degree in English Philology from Zaragoza university, and currently is working on a distance MA degree in Applied Linguistics
(TESOL) with Macquarie university (Australia). He has published articles in Lenguas Modernas, Educación y Biblioteca, the Internet TESL Journal, The IATEFL ESP Newsletter, Language Magazine, and Academic Exchange Quarterly.
His professional interests include journalistic English, oral language assessment, and the cognitive processes that affect verbal memory and the development of fluency in SLA. His e-mail address is

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