Usually the task, quite often a set of questions on the text, is set by the teacher or is already in the course book.

Who sets the questions?

I prefer to get my students to set their own questions.

Once we have either discussed the topic or perhaps they have done the reordering the headline activity, I ask the students what they want to discover about the text and I collect their questions on the board. I then hand out the text and ask them to find the answers to their questions if that information is present.

A variation on this is to get them to predict what the text says. So, for example with the ‘man who cooked wife’ text, they guess what is in the article. Very often their ideas are both imaginative and appropriate. For example:

he was very hungry
he chopped her up first
he was very angry with her

Then they read the text and check if they guessed correctly.

By getting the students to guess or set their own questions they are far more involved, use more language and are motivated to find out by reading the text. Notice that they don’t need to read every word – just as we don’t in our own language when reading newspaper articles.

Other ideas to help you encourage your students to read in class

Teenagers: Reading 1: Reading in class

Teenagers: Reading 3: Vary the tasks

Teenagers: Reading 4: Extensive reading