Book stores (本屋、書店) are wonderful places; even in this age of electronic media, nothing can replace some quiet time spent browsing through books at your local book store. For me, I don’t think ebooks will ever replace the feeling of flipping through a book while relaxing on a sofa. Touching a panel just doesn’t feel the same.
On the topic of “bricks and mortar” book stores, I and my students at Smiths School of English Fuse are fortunate to have some very conveniently located book stores; both out here in Higashi Osaka and, of course, Namba and Umeda areas. (布施・東大阪 / 本屋・書店)
So, on to the point of the article…
A couple of weeks ago I read an interesting article here on the Smiths School of English Soapbox written by Tim in regards to the benefits of reading and how he has begun implementing this into his overall teaching by encouraging his students to read on their own outside of class. I couldn’t agree with him more and the timing was interesting as I had embarked on a special mission, with outside reading as homework, with a new Pink Level Man to Man Student at Smiths School of English Fuse. (布施・東大阪)
This particular young man is very motivated, taking double Man to Man Lessons, so I proposed the following challenge to him.
Go to your local book store, ask for the “graded readers” published by Oxford University Press, pick up a book and flip through it. If you find that there are more than 5 unique words or so which you don’t know, place it back and choose one from one level lower. I advised him that he should find a book which interests him, at a level at which he understands about 95% of the text, and choose that. (布施・東大阪 / 本屋・書店)
His assignment is this: After you have determined your level, read 6 books at that level, one per week. In addition, I informed him that I would like him to give me a presentation on each book after he has completed it. The presentation is in a narrative form with some element of personal reflection at the end. He would not be able to read the presentation but could use some keywords as helpers; no sentences though, words only.
Similar to the “L” shapes in our Smiths School of English routines.
At first, this assignment seemed daunting to him! I acknowledged, but assured him he could do it. I introduced this extensive reading element to him at his eighth lesson.
Well, I’m happy to say that he finished reading “Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp” in one week. Last night he came to class, we did the One Point at the beginning, and I gave him the green light to start his presentation.
Keep in mind; he is a Pink Level student. Of the 40 minutes remaining in the lesson, would you believe he spoke for 35 of those?! I was floored! He had prepared a well-thought out narrative of the story, using new vocabulary, and some of the reductions common in spoken English which I had taught him in earlier classes and I only interjected when he asked me to. I was so proud of him! He was quite proud of himself also!
We made some brief observations on maintaining verb tense in the story but that was it.
It’s not that important at this stage.
In closing, I asked him to reflect on his presentation and his request brought a smile to my face. He asked if he could “re-present” the story one more time since he now realized where his presentation seemed choppy so he wanted to focus on fluency next time.
Wow! Now, that’s motivation!
I encourage you to encourage your students to take a trip down to their local book store and pick up a few of these graded readers. They only cost a few hundred yen. (布施・東大阪 / 本屋・書店)
Be sure to advise them how to choose their appropriate level. Some students have the impression that the books must be difficult in order for them to “learn”. This is not the case for this type of learning and you as the teacher must let them know that. Then, ask them to set aside 10 to 15 minutes per day and read their book. Then, depending on your individual circumstances and the goals of your students, you can decide how/if to do follow-up activities. Man to Man students work well, but you can adapt it to other situations also.
Thanks again to Tim for bringing up this invaluable resource we have at our disposal.
The book store! (布施・東大阪 / 本屋・書店)
Alessandro “Alex” Stanciu
Smith’s School of English Fuse
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 布施 校