Teachers spend long time deciding which readings are most suitable for our students. We focus mainly on vocabulary and grammar structures, we are obsessed by “matching” everything together. Students are usually asked to read the text and answer some questions “using their own words”, which means that writing synonyms, opposite words or syntactic changes leads them to high marks.
English teachers at UribekostaHigh School have sometimes reflected on this topic, and we have also asked students about their opinion, and we all seem to agree that reading just to answer some comprehension questions is next to nothing, that is to say, as we see it, reading should just be a pretext to create a new text. A reading activity should give way to another activity: speaking (a debate), writing (a summary, a follow-up…), listening to something related to the topic.
What kind of texts should we choose then? It is undeniable that students’ interests should be our target, but how can we know what really interests them? We have all had the disappointing experience of bringing something to the class sure of its success, but it just turned out to be a disaster. But sometimes things work out. We would like to share with you an experience we had with a text titled PRE-TEEN BEAUTY QUEENS taken from Real English 3 by Burlington Books (page 52) , which we consider a good example of the above mentioned. We thought the topic would be interesting for our students, but we also felt as if something was missing.
Youtube is often a good solution for these cases, and after searching for a while, we came across some videos on this topic and we chose this one.
The reason we chose this one is because it is short and shocking: mothers speaking through their daughters´mouths, mothers treating their daughters like muppets. This controversial issue of parents bringing up their children to be winners is ideal for a successful follow-up debate.
We hope you´ll enjoy it and we wish you good luck with your reading activities.
Uribekosta High School English Department.