Using Reading Races in EAP/Test Prep Classes

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear “Academic Reading?” Personally, I have flashbacks from my undergrad days lugging around the 1,000 page plus Norton Anthology of English Literature.

When I ask my students, they typically use words like “boring, business” and/or “scientific” to describe what they have to read in their IEP/Test-Prep classes.

That the material they have to read is uninteresting or even boring doesn’t really surprise me: honestly, who really wants to read academic texts?

Does it really have to be like this?

However, just because the material is boring, it doesn’t mean the class has to be. Instead of just telling students to read and answer a list of questions, how about we make it a little more interactive, social, competitive and (gasp) fun? Continue reading “Using Reading Races in EAP/Test Prep Classes”


Reading with a Purpose: Teaching Skimming and Scanning

The first time I can remember telling a class skimming and scanning were important was about seven years ago. I was teaching TOEFL iBT prep in Hanoi, Vietnam and was trying to explain just how important it was for the students to be able to get the “gist” of what they reading (skimming) or find key words/details (scanning) in a passage. If I remember right, I even held up the sheet below in an attempt to “prove” I was right.

TOEFL iBT, Reading Skills, Speaking Skills, Writing Skills, EAP, IELTS, TOEIC
Click here to download.

Fast forward to last semester. I was teaching English 101 at University of Arizona and, as I had so many times before, was telling the students to “not read every word – scan for the main idea.” And then one of my students did something that had never happened before: she asked “How?” Continue reading “Reading with a Purpose: Teaching Skimming and Scanning”