Using an Academic English Lesson in Class

If you’re looking for something simple and quick for your class to read, dreamreader is great because you can just download the PDF version of our articles and hand them out to your class.  But there’s so much more you can do with them then that.  Here are some ideas for extending the life span and usefulness of an Academic English lesson in your class.

1. Paragraph Scrambles:  You can always take our lessons and cut the individual paragraphs up.  Ask your students to work in pairs to reassemble the paragraphs in each lesson in a logical sequence.  This is great reading practice and teaches your students to look for and understand the use of transition words, linking ideas, and exposition.  You can also scramble up some of the sentences if you want to work at this level instead.

2. Reading and Listening for Detail:  One of the things I like to do sometimes is to take a paragraph and copy it into a Word document and then edit it to change some of the details.  I then put my students into pairs and hand the both versions of the article to them to read aloud to each other and find the differences.  The beauty of the activity is that it is really low stress and very simple but it gets the students engaging with the reading on a surface level, which is a great introduction to a reading.

3.  Make it Relevant:  Perhaps one of the best things you can do is to make the reading more relevant to the students’ lives by asking them to have a discussion or even prepare a presentation on a relevant theme.  For example, the “Curry” lesson in our High Intermediate Academic section talks about the history of curry and how it spread to other countries.  The students will probably be interested in the history of a dish they eat on a regular basis at their home.  Extending the reading activity into similar topics that students have an interest in will help them enjoy the reading process more than stand-alone reading activities.  Let the dreamreader lessons be the seed for a future class activity and you’ve got it made.

4. Find Someone Who:  I always like to pick out some key vocabulary from each reading and use it in a game of “Find Someone Who”.  Basically, I look at a reading like “Los Angeles” in our Beginner Academic section and pick out keywords from the article like “rare” and “sights”.  I then make a survey where the students have to ask other students questions that use the vocabulary.  For example, I might tell them to go around the room and ask them to “find someone who has a rare collectible” or “find someone who has seen the sights in (Paris/Madrid/Tokyo/etc.)”.  The key is to get the students using the vocabulary from the article as soon as they have finished reading it so that the words stick in their heads.

5. Make Your Own Questions:  I like to get students to engage with the material by asking them to make some of their own questions about it.  Once they finish writing one question each, I collect them at the end of class and find the 10 best questions.  I then hand out the reading next class with the new questions and let the students have another try at the reading.  This helps with review of vocabulary introduced in the last class and the students generally feel like they have collaborated on something together that has made it into “official” class materials, which tends to help with motivation.


  • ibrahim

    I’ve never tried N°5; to make my learners ask their own questions. it seems important & helpful. i’ll try it, newt time.