Using dreamreader in a writing class

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who is using dreamreader.net. I hope you are finding it useful. I use the lessons in many of my classes and over the next few weeks I will share how I use it in classes for different skills. This first post is using dreamreader in a writing class. This is just one example of how you could use it. I have chosen the topic of shopping, but you can follow the methods in this post for any of the readings on the site.

I begin each lesson with a warm-up speed chat. I ask the class to sit in two rows facing a partner. I then give them a series of questions or prompts based on the topic for this week. For this reading I put these three questions up on the board:

When was the last time you went shopping?

What is something you have bought recently that cost a lot of money?

What is something you have bought recently that was a bargain?

I give the students two or three minutes to talk with a partner and then they rotate to the next person and repeat the process. If you are interested in learning more about this activity, please check out my post for the British Council Magazine here.

The students then read a dreamreader article. For this lesson I chose the reading Shopping Benefits. I usually vary the way the students read the articles. In this lesson I asked them to do a pair reading. In this activity, the students work in pairs or in groups of three. They take it in turns to read a sentence each out loud. They keep doing this until they have finished the article. The pair or the group of three then work together to answer the questions.

Once they have completed the reading and the questions, I give them four or five questions to discuss with a partner that are related to the reading. In this lesson the questions were:

What shopping benefits did you learn?

What new words did you learn?

What is something you want to buy, but don’t have enough money to buy?

Where is your favorite place to go shopping?

The students spend a few minutes discussing the questions with their friends.

One the discussions are finished, I explain the writing task for that lesson. In this lesson I give the students two choices. The first is to write about something they have bought recently and the second is their favorite place to shop. The aim is for them to write a basic paragraph of between 150 and 200 words in a writing journal I have them keep. Bare in mind, I have already taught them the basic structure of a paragraph. They already know how to write a topic sentence, body sentences and a concluding sentence, so you might wat to pre-teach this before you use this lesson.

I give them time in class to write, and if they don’t finish it, it is assigned as homework. The final step is to do a quick peer check with their partner. To do this they exchange papers with a partner and do a general check for the structure of the paragraph and then they check for specific grammar points. These could include subject verb agreement, verb tense and pronoun agreement. Once again, I have pre-taught them how to do this, so you might want to consider doing this before getting them to do the peer check.

This lesson should take around 90 minutes and is probably most suitable for a lower intermediate or intermediate level class. However, you can follow the principles for any level. Just vary the difficulty of the reading you use and the discussion questions you make. I hope you found this useful. As always, please feel free to leave any comments in the box below. I’ll try to get back to as soon as possible.

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