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A reading for specific information activity

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Instructions for teachers

The moon

As any TEFL theory book will tell you. We need to help the students develop the many different reading skills and strategies such as gist reading, reading to confirm expectations, reading for communicative tasks etc. This is an example of scan reading or reading to extract specific information. In the real world you would do this to find a number in a telephone book or find out how deep the swimming pool is in a holiday brochure, what is on at the cinema etc. This text will hopefully give some practice in this type of reading. Go to student text

Suggested Procedure:

1. Spend 5 minutes pre-teaching some of the difficult vocabulary. eg tides, bulge, rises and sets, brightness, craters, steep, the moon's poles, counterclockwise, debris, footprints etc.

2. Hand out a photocopy of the text to all the students. Let them read it for 3 or 4 minutes or if you really want to develop scan reading don't let them read it at all.

3. It is best to use the cheap trick of having a competition to add some motivation. Divide the class into two teams. You ask questions on the text and the team who answer your questions correctly first get a point. Ask the questions from various parts of the text don't start at the top and go down.

Here are some ready made questions:

How often is there a Blue Moon on average? (once every three years) (7)
When did the Apollo missions start? (1969) (6)
What is the diameter of the moon? (3,476) km (1)
If you can jump 1 metre on Earth how far can you jump on the moon? (6 metres) (5)
How much water is there on the moon? (between 10 and 300 million tons) (4)
How high is the highest mountain on the moon? (7,800 m) (3)
Which way does the Moon go around the Earth? (a counterclockwise direction) (4)
What forms the craters on the moon? (asteroids and comets that hit the moon (3)
If something weighs 200kg on Earth how much does it weigh on the moon? (34 kg) (5)
Who was the last person on the Moon? (Gene Cernan) (6)
What is the temperature of the lunar equator at night? (173 degrees C) (3)
How much of the moon can we see from the Earth? (59 percent) (1)
How old is the Moon? (4.5 billion years) (1)
Who was the first person to walk on the Moon? (Neil Armstrong) (6)
What could you do if there was air on the Moon? (fly just using you arms) (5)
If the new moon rises at 6am when does the sun rise? (at approximately the same time) (2)
What does it mean if you are "over the Moon" (it means you are very happy) (6)

That should be enough.

More suggestions:

If this activity was a success there are other ways you can practice reading for specific information.
It is a good idea to find texts that the students might really have to read.

e.g.. Photocopy the accommodation flats for rent section from a newspaper and ask questions like how much is the bedsit in Acacia Avenue. Other sources could be :- Job adverts, brochures, TV and entertainment etc.


Go to student text

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