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Developing Effective Reading in Exam Classes by Jeanette Corbett -
lesson plan 2

Lesson rationale

This lesson is the sixth in a series for this unit of Proficiency Masterclass. As the group are following a two-year preparation course we have been able to choose which units to do and when. At the beginning of the year, the group decided on their chosen eight units - this unit is the seventh 'That's Entertainment'. Previous lessons have focused on different types of entertainment using different texts. Therefore in the interests of providing further contrast and developing their genre knowledge I have decided to focus on a narrative text in this lesson also because it is related to their needs.

Choice of Material
I will use an extract from the novel 'A Man in Full' by Tom Wolfe. From the novel students will read an extract of 60 lines. The main reason for my choice of extract is because it is authentic material. Also that it relates to a difficult situation but the students do not need to understand the situation to understand the text. I have decided to use this extract for the following reasons:
· It contains features of a literacy text, which I have not altered.
· It contains different characters with an established relationship and from the evidence, students can assess their characters.
· The piece is written from the view of one of the main characters, which leads itself to the follow up activity (stage 6)
· The idea of an awkward meeting is developed throughout the extract.
· The writer supports his choice of words throughout each paragraph, re-wording the same idea in different ways, which guide student's understanding.

I regularly use authentic material with this group, as a change of contrast from the course-book and as a means of exposure. Other than practice exam material we have not looked at a literacy text before. As stated in my Part 1, I feel it is important to expose students to different text types to develop their reading skills and awareness of the type of language used.
I chose to use the text rather than using an extract from a published Proficiency textbook, thus creating my own materials because I generally believe that as teachers if we don't look at the material from the beginning but really don't understand what the writer is trying to say - which in essence the aim of the lesson today.
I designed the materials with the main aim of the lesson in mind - developing their understanding by focusing on key phrases in the text which are supported in their meaning elsewhere in the text ( as startled as = huge chest swelled up). I decided to include the clues, as a guide to understanding and as a prompt for students to return to the text. The open cloze was designed from an idea by Grellet (p.213 Developing Reading Skills) - it is a semi natural response to the event and appropriately tests their understanding.

Focus of the lesson
I decided the focus of the lesson based on my students' needs. When comparing exam texts (28th March), they said they find the narrative text the most difficult. After which we discussed the main problems with this type of text - this forms the basis of stage 2.
Equally understanding the message in the text from which is evident or implied is difficult. I feel it is skill which needs to be developed for students to read effectively outside the class. Therefore the focus of this lesson is also applicable to the new students, who could regularly read in English and attend classes to continue learning.

Links to past and future lessons
As this class is following a two-year preparation course we have been able to focus on improving their skills while still following he course-book. In the first term we focused on speaking then listening. Now the skills focus has been on reading (see attached timetable).
Over the past month, lessons have focused on developing their knowledge of text genre, developing their reading skill with reader response and combating their defective reading skills by introducing strategies to deal with complex sentences, defining vocabulary in context and identifying opinion within a text.
This lesson today will continue to develop their understanding of a text. Future lessons will continue the process of developing reading and we will soon focus on writing in detail, using their knowledge of text genre as a writing tool.

The lesson
The lesson has been planned as a process, with the text being the product that the students use throughout the lesson. Each stage builds on the next as students deepen their understanding of the text and them demonstrate their understanding of it (stage 6).
After discussing reading problems and possible strategies, I will introduce the text.
First I will ask students to identify the type and provide evidence to support this. I have included this because I believe it is important to develop their knowledge of text genre and their linguistic features.
Then students will read the text to confirm their expectations and answer exercise 1. I will set a 5-minute limit on this activity. As outlined in my Part 1 I have not included a pre-reading stage as I believe it develops false expectations as to the contents of the text.
Stage 4 allows the students to get an overall understanding of the text by summarising what they can infer about the characters. I have included this stage because I believe it is an important exam technique to develop both for the Reading and Use of English exam (Part B). It summarises their initial understanding of the text and helps them concentrate on the contents of the extract rather than thinking about what has happened before or will happen after.
After check their summaries in pairs, students will complete exercise 3 - developing their understanding of the text. As this exercise is difficult, I will ask students to work in pairs, allowing them to discuss the phrases as they work through the questions. I have included clues with line numbers to guide them and remind them to return to the text. I will monitor closely in this stage and provide an explanation if required. When they have completed the exercise, I will supply an answer key for them to check their answers. Then I will ask them about the pattern of the phrases throughout the text - that the writer uses the phrases to support other information presented in a different way and it's usefulness for reading. Students will then assess the usefulness of the activity and whether they think it is successful in developing their understanding of the text.
Stage 6 gives the students an opportunity to show their understanding by completing a letter from Martha, re-wording information from the text. They will then compare in pairs before assessing their performance against a model letter. I have chosen this type of activity because I believe it gives them an opportunity to use their own words, make their own language choices and as Martha it is a natural response to the text.
The final stage of the lesson allows the students to become the characters in a role-play. I have chosen to include this activity because it provides them with speaking practice and is a relaxed way to finish the lesson.
Throughout the lesson I will monitor and offer support and assistance when required. If necessary I'll provide explanations of vocabulary and a pronunciation model.
For homework I will ask the students to write a 50-word summary of Charlie's character using evidence from the text and what they can infer.

As with all my lessons I considered my students' needs and preferences as I planned this lesson. I planned it as a process - focusing on developing their understanding then using their knowledge to complete the open cloze letter. I hope that the lesson will be a positive step in developing their knowledge of narrative texts and perhaps encourage them to read outside the classroom.

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