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“Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever puts one down without the feeling of disappointment.”
The Easy English Times features eight pages of news stories, reader contributions and, my personal favorite–a Compelling Conversations excerpt and activity. In the June 2014 issue, my lesson on American holidays is featured on page 6, followed by a passage from Toni Aberson’s It’s a Breeze. In this way, The Easy English Times lets students practice not only their reading, but also their grammar and speaking through completion of the Compelling Conversations activities. As a whole, it very much does what regular newspapers should do–educate and enlighten. More advanced students may begin reading papers like the New York Times, but for the beginning and intermediate learners, the Easy English Times is a great starting place.
HELPING LOWER LEVER ESL STUDENTS READ NEWSPAPERS
Though spotlighting only a select few topics of exceptional interest for immigrants and adult education students, the Easy English Times provides a bridge for students who aspire to “graduate” to community newspapers, as the website says. The purpose introduces students to the world of newspapers, and not to only teach current events. The Easy English Times also features first-person stories by readers that share often poignant stories of significant successes their daily lives. We could call it the “Reader’s Digest” for English language learners living in the United States.
As an Easy English Times columnist of the “Instant Activity – Conversation” for over three years, I’m naturally biased. However, I’ve been using the paper since I first discovered it at a CATESOL conference, many moons ago. If you haven’t had a chance to see a copy, do yourself a favor and get a free sample from the homepage and check out my side page here. If you find that your students enjoy the mix of current events, personal stories from readers and the classroom activities, then perhaps you’ll consider ordering for the year. From my point of view as a former director of an adult education program and long-time community college instructor, it’s a wise investment if you teach adult learners whether in a church, community college, vocational center or literacy program.
How do you encourage your beginning and intermediate ESL students to read newspapers?
Ask More. Know More. Share More.
Create Compelling Conversations.