Can we use Group Activities to enhance Reading Comprehension?
Yes. We can and we should.
How can we do that?
Let's divide the class into groups of 4 – 6 students.
The group has to become a cooperative learning group. Each student in the group must assume responsibility and participate actively in the group's work.
How do we do that?
One student becomes the leader of his group and assigns roles to all the members of the group,
- Read different paragraphs or different texts.
- Sum up the paragraph in one sentence.
- Give a title to the paragraph.
- Can you predict what the whole text is about?
- Do you think your paragraph opens the text, appears somewhere in the middle or at the end? Can you explain why?
The position – leader of the group – will be assumed by a different member of the group in every activity. The decision can be made by the teacher at first until the students are ready to assume responsibility. After each member has completed his task (5-10 minutes), all the members of the group have to discuss the text, reflect upon their knowledge and explain their opinion to the other members. Then they have to read the questions or other tasks assigned and discuss probable answers.
Reading Comprehension Passage.
Hand out a text.
Read the following passage carefully and then answer the questions that follow. You may find that some information is missing.
Many people have begun to protest against the negative effects of certain television programs. Parents and Teachers Associations all over the world are putting pressure on television networks to ban movies and series containing violence. They claim that many of the programs have a harmful effect on children.
It is, however, difficult to measure the influence of violence on T.V. since different things may frighten different children and adults as well. Others won't even give it a second thought.
Some people, on the other hand, contend that that children should be exposed to real life situations and violence is simply one of them. It would be useless to remove violence from T.V. as long as it prevails in the cinema, in books and on the streets. Moreover, certain experts claim that violence on T.V. – the excitement, fear and anxiety it produces – may have a positive effect on viewers.
Extremely violent scenes should be removed and more programs stressing positive values should be introduced in order to create a proper balance. Some people claim that movies containing violence should be shown only at times when most children are already in bed, if at all. Parents should make certain that their children don't watch programs that are not suited to their age.
Working on the text.
Answer the following questions. Consult with the other members of the group and answer each question only after serious debate.
1. In each paragraph one sentence is missing. The following are the missing sentences. Put each sentence in the right place in the suitable paragraph. Explain why you think it belongs.
- The solution probably lies in a compromise.
- Some children may have nightmares after a thriller.
- They may even encourage juvenile delinquency*.
- It may relieve tension and help them relax.
2. Why are some people against certain T.V. programs?
3. It is difficult to measure the influence of violence on T.V. because
- most children have nightmares after thrillers.
- T.V. is not the only source of violence.
- people react to violence in different ways.
4. Copy the sentence from the text that says that children should not be protected from reality.
5. Complete the following sentence:
Certain experts claim that even if violence ———————————————————, it will not change the situation since ————————————————-
What is your opinion on the issue? Discuss!
*- עבריינות נוער
Suggestions for class discussion:
Should television stop showing programs full of violence? Bring examples of programs that may be considered too violent. Discuss.
If we were more polite, if we had better manners, things might be very different. Is this issue relevant when we refer to violence? Discuss.
Choose one of the following subjects and write 10 – 15 lines.
- Write a short letter to the Israeli Television Network asking for non-violent programs.
- Write a letter of complaint to the Israeli Television Network about a particularly violent T.V. series.
And that's all for today. More ideas and texts in my next post.