–I watch TV series in English and I read news in English.
These are the most common answers that I hear when I ask my students what they do to improve their English. I think it is a good thing that they get familiar with the authentic language. However, both ways are not as helpful as they think. Because they aren’t ready to understand these authentic materials’ complexity.
Learners often try to process what they read piece by piece and this can greatly inhibit their efforts at getting even a general understanding of a newspaper article. They tend to read each sentence, two or three times to process it and this approach obviously increases in complexity as they continue reading the article. Each time they meet more information, it is added to what has already been read, and this brings about a re-structuring of the whole, which may require the student to return to something they have already read to clarify the new sentence.(Brendan Daly / the Internet TESL Journal, Vol. X, No. 7, July 2004)
To be honest, I’m not sure that my students reread those long news stories or find the unknown words to understand the story better. But, as a responsible teacher, I think I should make the things easier for them if they enjoy doing this activity. With this post, I’d like to suggest some news web sites and apps designed for English Language Learners.
Newsinlevels provides students of English with news articles in graded skill levels. Each article is available in three levels with audio resources. Possible unknown words are given below the article, which makes reading easier. Also, it has an application which can be used in both platforms. Google Play App store
VOA Learn English This news web page is a bit more serious than the first one. There are also three levels in here, but it doesn’t give the same story in different levels. There are different stories in each level. It is possible to watch video news with subtitles ready for learners and download audio files to listen later.
Newsmart can be really useful for learners at higher levels and Business English classes. It gives you points and badges as long as you keep reading and doing the exercises. Creators of Newsmart know how to use gamification, I think.Breaking News English This web page offers you more than reading. There are reading, vocabulary and grammar activities. You can do them online or download pdf and audio files. It is possible to read same story in different levels.
Here are some techniques for using newspaper articles and news videos in ESL/EFL classes;
How to Effectively Use News Articles in the EFL Classroom
Using CNN News Video in the EFL Classroom