Writing by hand & reading the printed page - better than keyboards and screens?
Arlenne Fer posted five reasons why reading from the printed page might be more useful than from a screen on the Chilean Teachers of English FB page earlier this year. A couple of years ago, a fellow teacher argued long and hard that writing with pen and paper was cognitively more powerful than tapping away at a keyboard. In this post, I would like to look at these interrelated claims and examine their relevance to current practice in schools
Drop Everything and Read
'Drop Everything And Read' (DEAR, for short), Daily Independent Reading Time (or DIRT) and Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) are actually all describing much the same thing: school programmes which offer students, teachers, administrators, cleaning staff and visiting parents - in other words, literally everybody on the school premises - the chance to stop what they are doing and read
How reading and writing changed the lives of gang members in Long Beach, California
The 2007 film starring Hilary Swank, 'Freedom Writers’, was based on the real-life experiences of a young teacher given a class of bored, anti-social high school students. Shocked by the racial tensions between members of different gangs, the teacher, Erin Gruwell, complained that the ethnic stereotypes the students used reminded her of the Holocaust. Nobody knew what she was talking about. This post is the story of how she used reading and writing to change her students' perceptions of each other and to get them through high school.
How does Extensive Reading Develop Critical Thinking?
For many, many years now, the concept of students taking responsibility for their own language learning has been central to our thinking of how we master a foreign tongue. The idea of owning our learning is not only true of TEFL though: it is assuming ever-increasing importance in universities too, as they can no longer rely on students being interested in scholarship
High school remedial reading - teachers are key to success!
In the USA, the most developed country in the world but one with hugely disappointing disparities between the haves and the have-nots, six million high school students were estimated to have reading skills significantly below their grade level (Joftus & Maddox-Dolan, 2003). Of course, this has its effects on students' career aspirations, the likelihood of leaving school with a diploma or - if they make it that far - high levels of achievement at university
Improving your vocabulary through extensive reading
We built Read Listen Learn because we believe that reading is the best way to acquire a foreign language. But what's the evidence for this?
Students can help to guide other students on what to read
Our students face a challenge, especially if they haven't got the reading habit. They just don't know which books they're going to like. One way around this is to follow the example set by many leading bookshops. Get students to write very short reviews of their best-loved stories
What is a reading circle and how is it useful in the classroom?
A reading circle is basically a group of students reading a story or an article together and discussing its content. Of course, there's more to it than that though. This post goes into some of the detail
Flipped Classrooms: Reading to Enjoy Yourself and to Learn Better English!
In my last article, 'Context Makes Reading More Interesting and Lessons More Interactive', I mentioned 'flipped classrooms'. Since then, I've had quite a number of queries about this method of learning.
Context makes reading more interesting and lessons more interactive
Over the course of a long career in teaching, I have never ceased to be amazed at teachers forcing classics from English and American literature down the throats of students whose ages and linguistic levels mean they can’t possibly enjoy them. As an avid reader myself, I feel sorry for the bored students and also for the authors who, surely, would be horrified if they could see how their work is being tortured in school and even university curricula by those who should know better.
Interview with Mark Bartholomew for Teacher to Teacherpreneur
Patrice Palmer of Teacher to Teacherpreneur has interviewed Mark Bartholomew about how he came to set up Read Listen Learn, his experience of doing so and any advice he has for other teachers thinking of setting up their businesses...
How Reading Helps to Improve Students' Writing
At first sight, it may appear strange that increasing the number of writing assignments students complete does not materially affect the quality of their writing skills. More than one essay or letter a week would not seem to offer any benefit commensurate with the effort they put into it. By contrast, reading a lot and often does pay off.
New stories and articles for November
We've been busy since we last posted details of new stories and articles in October. We've welcomed nearly 1,000 students from BRAC University in Bangladesh and we've added some new title and audio recordings to our library.
Adding comments to stories on Read Listen Learn
Did you know that you can add comments to stories and articles on Read Listen Learn and that other people reading the same stories can do the same and reply to you?
Read Listen Learn welcomes BRAC University in Bangladesh
We're delighted to be working with BRAC University in Bangladesh who are using Read Listen Learn with students on their Savar Campus.
New audio on Read Listen Learn
We've added audio recordings to a number of titles in the last couple of weeks, have a look and see what's new...
More new titles and audio for September
We've added some new titles and some new audio during September. Hope you like them....!
Explore English with Russie
For those of you who have a good intermediate level of English or higher, there's a new e-magazine put together by a Bulgarian teacher, nicknamed Russie. She absolutely loves her adopted country and this shows through in her magazine, Explore English with Russie.
New stories and new audio
We've been busy over the last week and have added some brand new titles and some new audio to existing stories. They include the gruesome history of the development of anaesthesia and an unusual Dracula short story. Have a look and see what you think, they're all free...
Let kids read what they want
This article on reading by Mark Bartholomew one of the founders of www.readlistenlearn.net was published in the new Indian magazine, Parents' World this month....
New titles on Read Listen Learn
We've added 6 new titles in recent days. They range from a very short and quite serious story by Tolstoy through a more light hearted piece by Banjo Paterson to the story of Jack the Ripper, a serial killer from 19th century London
New stories on Read Listen Learn
We've added some great new articles and short stories to Read Listen Learn over the past week or so. There's a mixture of fiction and non-fiction titles including a classic ghost story and the history of the 'number' zero. They're all available free so why not take a look...
About a Dog Fight by Banjo Paterson - pre-intermediate graded reader
Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson was born in 1864 on a farm in the ‘outback’, a term Australians use for their wild countryside - this was the setting for many of his stories, songs and poems. He had a woman to teach him at home until he was old enough to ride a horse, when he could travel to school each day.
The Terrible Old Man by H. P. Lovecraft - pre-intermediate graded reader
H. P. Lovecraft is well-known for his horror stories although he was never successful while he was alive. In this very short story, he tells us about a strange old sea captain who lives alone and buys everything he needs with old gold coins. But when three thieves visit him one night, they get more than they expect
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin - pre-intermediate graded reader
This very short story by the American writer, Kate Chopin, tells us about a young, but sick, married woman, when she believes that her husband’s death in a train accident will allow her to live her own life
Improving your listening skills
If you are an intermediate learner or have even better English, you might ask yourself what the best ways are to improve your listening skills. There are two obvious ways that you can improve your listening. One is called 'extensive listening' by experts and the other is 'repeated listening'
Anton Chekhov graded readers on Read Listen learn
We've adapted the work of more than 50 great authors into digital graded readers and we're creating a series of pages about them and their stories on Read Listen Learn. The first of these is about Anton Chekhov, one of the greatest writers of short stories in world literature
Finding stories in Read Listen Learn
We've noticed that people might be having difficulty using the search tool on our find articles page so I thought I'd do a quick post about how to use it. The find articles page allows you to browse through all of our stories and articles using the controls at the bottom of the page but it also feature a search tool
We're offering free access to our digital graded readers
We're inviting people to come and use our reading service and our graded readers free of charge with no obligation. We're not asking for any credit card details or anything like that, we just want people to be able to use the readers and let us know what they think
Two new free graded readers on our homepage
We’ve added 2 new free graded readers to our homepage, we hope you enjoy them
New year new focus
Our objective for our product is to make high quality, digital graded readers available to everyone who would benefit from them. This means making them accessible and affordable for a wider range of people. We decided to focus on teachers and learners and to make the product viable for independent teachers working online, smaller schools and the learners themselves
Why listen to things that we find easy?
At school or university, our teachers almost always select passages for us to listen to that include new vocabulary or difficult grammar but if we listen to songs or stories that are easy for us to understand, we build up the speed with which we recognise words as they are spoken
The benefits of extensive reading for lower level learners
Reading basic English aloud helps learners to recognise words at a glance. The more they see a word, the faster they recognise it and glean its meaning. So, reading helps low level learners to increase the speed with which they recognise words
A simple guide to choosing reading texts with L2 students
Christine Nuttall in the third edition of her 'Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language' (Macmillan, 2005) has used an acronym to describe the best means of choosing appropriate texts for L2 students and one which we have tried to follow in the editing of stories and creation of articles for Read Listen Learn...
An illustration of how to use Reading Circles with students
As a follow up to our recent post about reading circles here's a suggestion of how to apply the process to a particular text and put together a reading circle in practice
What are Reading Circles and how do they work?
Reading circles can help to encourage EFL and ESOL students to read and to get more from the experience and we're developing resources to work alongside our graded readers with this mind. Here's some background about how Reading Circles developed and how they work
From IATEFL 2015 - Extensive Reading and Paul Nation's 4 strands of language learning
Last week I saw a presentation by Catherine Walter at the Extensive Reading Foundation's learner literature awards ceremony during the IATEFL Conference. It started off with a critique of research into the effectiveness of extensive reading (ER) and then moved onto how ER supports two of Paul Nations four strands of language learning
Making extensive reading projects work
There are a number of core principles that underpin extensive reading and successful reading projects. Here are four that we believe are most important
What is Extensive Reading?
'Extensive reading’ usually refers to reading done outside the classroom and outside an institution's ESL syllabus, although it can also include ‘free reading’ sessions in class time. The aim is to get students of English to read as widely as possible about topics that interest them
Using social media in language learning
One of our team recently took part in a course called 'Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching', which was developed by the University of Southampton and the British Council and hosted on the Futurelearn platform. It included a live panel discussion which provided an excellent round up of tools and techniques for using social media in language learning
When a war stopped for a football match
This post is taken from our Elementary graded reader about the famous 1914 Christmas truce that took place during the First World War. A war which was known at the time as the War to End All Wars. Of course it did no such thing and in fact sowed the seeds of a number of subsequent deadly conflicts. This story though is about ordinary soldiers playing football instead of shooting at each other
The paper versus e-book debate
There is an ongoing debate about the merits of paper versus ebooks in which some people seem to feel the need to establish an absolute winner at the expense of any merit on the part of the loser. Is this really necessary?
Reading what we like improves our reading skills
It is no surprise that we read more often, with more interest and for longer periods of time when we are interested in the subject we are reading. Too often though learners are told to read books from cover to cover, which they don't like
The Guardian's Live Q&A: What is the best way to learn a language?
Last week we took part in The Guardian's Live Q&A: What is the best way to learn a language? It was a fascinating two hours (and more) of live debate much of which was cross posted onto Twitter - see #languagesdebate. We asked the panel for their views on the contribution that reading for pleasure can make to learning a language and were delighted by the response.
Reading can help your EFL and ESOL students to learn new vocabulary
Nobody enjoys learning long lists of words. Not only is it one of the most boring exercises teachers ever ask students to do but it's also one of the least effective ways to enrich our vocabulary. Shockingly, when we think of all the hard work we put into memorising spellings and new words, they go out of our heads days, hours or even minutes after we have learnt them. So, if learning new vocabulary from lists is not an efficient way of expanding our vocabulary, then what is? The answer is, of course, reading
Can we really improve our writing by reading more?
Many people think that learning to write well is like learning to swim faster or to speak better English. In other words, they believe that writing better means writing more and writing more often. In fact, there is a lot of research to show that the quantity we write and the quality of our writing are not linked.
Today's Google doodle remembers Sheridan Le Fanu's 200th birthday - Madam Crowl's Ghost and more coming soon on Read Listen Learn
Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu, one of several exciting writers of ghost stories featured on Read Listen Learn, was born 200 years ago today. He was an Irish writer and played a central part in the development of the ghost-story genre during the Victorian era
We can help EFL/ESL teachers run extensive reading projects
Like many others, we know that extensive reading that is interesting and pleasurable helps people to learn English faster and more thoroughly and has significant long term benefits - we can help teachers run reading projects
The key features of the reading service that we're building for learners of English as a second language
Here we describe the key features of the reading service we're developing to help people who are learning English as a second language. We'll be doing another post soon that sets out how we want to help teachers, schools, colleges and other types of organisation who are teaching English as a second language
The Lusitania - Elementary reader coming soon on Read Listen Learn
Newly released secret Whitehall files contain a Ministry of Defence warning that "something startling" would be found during the operation to salvage the Lusitania. Here's an article about the sinking of the ship in May 1915 from our Elementary series of readers for people learning English...
Live trial starts May 2014...
Next month we start the first trial of our reading and listening service for people learning English with a college in Saudi Arabia. We're delighted and we're working hard to get everything ready...
Pi - Pre Intermediate reader coming soon on Read Listen Learn
The 14th March (3/14) was celebrated around the world as Pi Day. This article is from our forthcoming reading service for English language learners and is a piece at Pre Intermediate level all about Pi
Bacteria and Viruses - Elementary reader coming soon on Read Listen Learn
This week we learned that scientists have brought a bacteria back to life after it had been buried in the Siberian permafrost for 30,000 years. This article, from our forthcoming reading service for English language learners is a piece at Elementary level on bacteria and viruses
The 1919 Massacre at Amritsar
The storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar in India in 1984 has been in the news in the UK recently after revelations about apparent British Government involvement in the crisis caused anger in the UK's Sikh community. This article is about a massacre in Amritsar that took place in 1919 at the time of an important Sikh festival. It's from our forthcoming series of non-fiction graded readers and provides some historical insight into why this is such a sensitive issue.
Johannes Gutenberg - coming soon on Readlistenlearn...
Many people think we are in the midst or maybe just at the beginning of a revolution in publishing and that 2014 will see yet more changes in what has been a stable industry for such a long time. We believe they're right so maybe this is a good time to remember the man who started it all...
The impact of an Extensive Reading project on results and engagement
An Extensive Reading project in Jordan achieved an average of 17% improvement in grammar and vocabulary gap fills as well as a 14% increase in writing performance but what was perhaps more interesting was that the language came alive and assumed some importance outside the classroom
Charles Dickens - a Christmas biography
Charles Dickens has become part of Christmas in the UK. His story 'A Christmas Carol' is on TV every year and the character of Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas and the phrase "Bah humbug!" show no sign of losing their prominence at Christmas in our culture
Learning new words is easier when we read - here's the proof
In 1962, Anthony Burgess published a short book about the future. It was a nightmare novel about a frightening world where young people were extremely violent. The novel was unusual for another reason though. The young man telling the story used English mixed up with a dialect that was nonsense to us
Has the Internet made reading less popular or can it help people learning English to read more and get better?
There seems to be widespread belief, even panic, that reading is no longer as popular as it was before the Internet age and is in terminal decline. This is nothing new. In the 20th century, newspaper journalists wrote article after article telling their readers that, first, cinema and then television would mean the death of reading
Oxygen and Revolution - coming soon on Readlistenlearn
The discovery of oxygen is closely connected with revolution in late eighteenth century France and with two scientists, one British and the other French, both of whom are sometimes called the father of chemistry. They are Joseph Priestley and Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier. However, in actual fact, neither of them was the first to identify the element....
Coming soon on Readlistenlearn - Clarence Day
"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts..." Clarence Day 1874 to 1935
Finding reading resources for people learning English
About a year and a half ago, I was working in a Saudi university and wanted a wide range of books that students with different levels of ability could use to supplement their learning. There were many difficulties...
Welcome to our blog...
We're developing a new service to help people learn English through reading and listening for pleasure and sharing the experience with their friends and fellow learners