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Reading Lesson Plan

Overcoming the Fear of "Unknown" Vocabulary

Teacher: Maria Cummaudo
Date: November 7, 1996
Class: English as Foreign Language. Reading time.
Proficiency Level: Advanced
Ethno-Linguistic Composition of class: Italian learners of English
Estimated time: 10 minutes




Warm-up: and Introduction: (4 minutes)

Show the overhead on Clockwork Orange Divide students in group of two and ask them to come up with the meaning of the foreign words in the text. I won't give any feedback on the book to let them notice that they are able to understand the context. Also, besides not having the time, it is not my intention to talk about it. Ask each group to give their different definitions.

Practice: (2 minutes)

Tell the students that we are starting to read a novel and that we will do a pre-reading of the first page of the first chapter together. Give to each student a copy of the chapter. The text contains some deleted words to show them that they can still understand the content of it.

Evaluation: (2 minute) Ask the following two questions to see if they understood the text:

1. What did the senior partner study?
2. What was the position offered?

Ask the students to turn the page to see the missing words.

Assignement: (1 minute)

Ask the students to go home and read for next time the first 3 pages of the novel. I will put on the board the two questions they have to think about before reading:

1. What's the name of the person hired?
2. Which are some of his characteristics?

I will remind them that if a word recours often and they are not able to understand its meaning or if they like it particularly, they can go ahead and use the dictionary. It is not bad to use dictionaries. Unfortunately many times people do not know how to use it! However, I will remind them not to dependent upon it.


The lesson has been prepared as assignment for the 577 class (introduction to ESL methodology teaching). Therefore, the students are American who know their language well. Moreover, they may also know the novel The Firm from which I took the chapter. For this reason I won't mention the title and comment about it. In a real situation I would have made some brainstorming or pre-reading questions, starting by commenting on the title. I imagined this was the first day when students start reading the novel (a month after the beginning of the semester).


If the overhead does not work, or it is not available for some reasons, I will read it slowly and they will do a listening and comprehension exercise. In this case I may need to skip the second reading activity. I hope it won't happen. I timed the lesson--as well as the reading with an American student--and I should be able to cover everything. However, if for any reason I feel I won't have enough time, I will tell them to read only half of the page and ask one or two questions.


I was quite nervous (fear of not being understood because of my accent and also of having so many teachers in front of me). That ruined the smooth flow of my teaching affecting the rest of the lesson. In fact, I also spoke a little too fast because I was afraid of going overtime. If I had to reteach the lesson, I would make the following changes:

1. I would calm down allowing myself a better pace.

2. After the warm-up activity, I would ask someone to turn on the light. In fact, when I gave the second sheet of paper there was something wrong, but I could not identify on the spot that we needed more light. This also would have helped the students to be more awake and enthusiastic about the lesson.

3. Although I previously paced the reading with a friend of mine who took 50 seconds to read the page, I would ask the students to read only the first paragraph of the handout. In this way, I would feel more comfortable with the time limit and ask more questions in order to have more practice. I might ask to work in groups. They seemed to be uncomfortable in reading by themselves.

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1997 © Dr. Lynn E. Henrichsen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Saturday, June 7, 1997