THE VALUE OF READING
Much research has been done on the importance of reading and all studies show the same results. Students who read fluently, frequently and with pleasure consistently gain higher test scores at school as well as in their further studies, not only in English, but across the whole curriculum. Reading and enjoying the stories on this website will help your students to learn to love reading, and this will benefit every aspect of their education.
Learning to read is important, but learning to love reading is even more important.
Here are ten reasons for encouraging your students to love reading:
- Reading improves language skills, vocabulary and grammar
- Reading strengthens brain connections
- Reading increases depth of knowledge
- Reading improves memory
- Reading helps develop a creative imagination
- Reading improves concentration
- Reading encourages self-discipline
- Reading increases confidence
- Reading relaxes the body and calms the mind
- Reading improves critical thinking
HOW TO USE THE EXERCISES
1. The pre-reading questions
Prediction is an important element in comprehension. Use the pre-reading questions to help the reader to grasp the theme of the story and understand its progression. The pre-reading questions will help the reader to guess correctly the meanings of words that they may not know.
- Before reading, make sure the students have any background information they may need.
- Encourage discussion around the topic of the story, presented in the pre-reading questions.
- Make sure they know key items of vocabulary.
2. Reading the story
Allow the students time to read the story themselves in silence. Be ready to help if they stumble over unfamiliar words.
3. The exercises
The exercises follow a progression. The first exercise, entitled How much did you understand?, encourages students to check their overall grasp of the story and its structure. This exercise may take the form of putting sentences in the correct order, or offering true/false choices, or filling in key words. Students may have to read the story through again quickly before they can complete this exercise.
The next exercise (or exercises) focuses in more detail. There are more specific questions about time, place, person, or types of sentence. Please note that the purpose of these questions is not to teach grammar or vocabulary. They are all aimed at helping students to increase their reading comprehension skills. Some concentrate on the comprehension of individual words. Some encourage open-ended replies.
In the What were they feeling? exercises, the reader focuses on the personal impact of the events in the story. These questions encourage empathy with the characters.
The next type of exercise (often entitled What do you think?) aims to help the student think more widely, to talk about their own ideas and responses to the story, and increase their confidence in expressing their own opinions.
Where it's appropriate, further activities are suggested, for example enacting the story as a play, thinking of a new title, looking at similar stories on this website, or retelling the story to friends.
One final word. We hope that you and the students will enjoy the stories.