Post-Reading Activities for ESL Students

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  • 0:03 Post-Reading Activity…
  • 0:35 Re-Telling a Story
  • 1:49 Writing Story Summaries
  • 4:13 Using Art and Organizers
  • 5:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

This lesson will discuss the importance of post-reading strategies for English as a second language (ESL) students. The lesson will focus on different strategies you can use during instruction.

Post-Reading Activity Importance

For maximum comprehension of a text, it's important to fully engage before, during, and after reading. Post-reading strategies help readers summarize their learning, check for understanding, and organize their thoughts and ideas. English as a second language (ESL) students should also participate in post-reading strategies, but you'll want to make the content more comprehensible for them. Let's take a look at some effective post-reading strategies for ESL students.

Re-Telling a Story

When teaching native English speakers, you might assess students' comprehension by having them re-tell the story either verbally or in writing. For ESL students, try using a more visual approach. Two re-telling approaches for ESL students include picture dictation and comic strips.

Picture Dictation

Provide pairs of students with a series of images from the text and have them practice putting them into the correct sequence. For more advanced students, you can cut up sections of text that summarize a story and have them assemble the sections in the right order.

Comic Strips

You can also provide students with a blank comic strip with six to eight frames. Ask them to re-tell the story by illustrating the main plot points. To make this more manageable for ESL students, show them several examples of comic strips. Complete the first one or two frames together as a class to model the process for students.

Allow low-proficiency students to write the captions in their native language since you're assessing reading comprehension and not language proficiency. Have students re-tell the story with a partner using their comic strips as a guide.

Writing Story Summaries

Having students write a summary of the text is a good approach to check for reading comprehension. The same approach, with some modifications, is also ideal for ESL students.

Process Modeling

Many students might assume that a summary should include all of the little, unimportant details from a text. Show students that a summary should include the main plot points or key details of a text by allowing them to watch you modeling the process.

Sentence Frames

One of the most valuable tools to help build oral and written language skills is the use of sentence frames. Sentence frames are templates of sentences that students complete. They are ideal for ESL students because they allow them to focus on supplying the content rather than worrying about grammar or usage errors. They also demonstrate the proper way to write a complete sentence, so the more ESL students use them, the more likely they are to pick up those skills.

Some sentence frames that can be helpful for writing summaries include:

  • This story is about _____.
  • The main character's name is _____.
  • At the beginning of the story, _____.
  • In the middle of the story, _____.
  • At the end of the story, _____.

Word Banks

You can also provide students with word banks to help them write summaries that cover the main concepts from the text. For example, if students are writing a summary of ''The Three Little Pigs,'' you might write the following list of words and phrases on the board: first, second, third, house, straw, wood, brick. Tell students to write a five-sentence summary of the story, with one caveat: they must use all of the words on the board.

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