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Stages of a reading and listening skills ESL/EFL lesson

There are many ways to design a lesson plan for reading and listening skills. The stages presented here represent a general procedure and it should be seen as an example only. The stages are clearly delimited and according to my experience a lesson plan based on these stages works very well in an ESL/EFL classroom.

Stage 1 – Introduction and pre-reading/listening task

Discuss the topic with the whole class or in groups. The teacher can do that by asking students questions. Relate the questions to the students’ personal experience. At this first stage, the teacher can also generate interest in the topic of the lesson and excite comment by showing pictures, headlines etc.

Stage 2 – Vocabulary

The teacher teaches any vocabulary items that are essential for answering comprehension questions.

Stage 3 – Reading/ listening for gist

The teacher sets three or four questions that check general comprehension of the text (gist) or extract relevant information.
Play the recording once (students read the text). Students answer the questions while reading/listening.
Some students may not be able to answer the question at the first try. Replay the relevant part of the recording (reread the relevant part of the text). All students must understand the answers.

Stage 4 – Reading/listening for specific information

Set questions (or a task) aimed at checking more detailed understanding of the text. Replay the recording twice if it is necessary (give students time to reread the text) and answer the questions. Students compare their answers in pairs before the teacher giving the feedback to the whole class.
If it is necessary, repeat the last step from the stage 3 (replay relevant sections of the recording/reread relevant parts of the text).

Stage 5 – Post reading/listening task

Every lesson must end with a productive activity related to the topic. The productive activity can be either spoken or written. A good activity at this final stage can be: discussion, role-play, writing a letter etc. The activity done in pairs or groups is more effective.


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