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How might Covid-19 impact the world of education?

using hand sanitiser in the classroomAfter sinking or swimming in the virtual world of remote education, many teachers will probably look back at 2020 as when they learnt how to use most of the digital tools in the shortest of time. Some may look back and remember it as a time when they first recognised the English language ability of certain students that had previously gone unnoticed. Others might have concluded that completing the curriculum should not be their one and only goal and that their students also needed them for maintaining a level of wellbeing.

In fact, wellbeing has taken centre-stage for many people in 2020. Suddenly having to spend hours in front of their laptops; learning new tools; dealing with technical issues alone; working while sharing their home space; not wanting their students to see what their home looked like; experiencing lockdown, all heightened the need for wellbeing. An ELT friend of mine described it as being like “camping in a call centre”. Camping because he sat down with a flask of hot coffee (knowing he would not have time to prepare himself fresh cups), and a call centre because of the hours spent in front of his laptop talking via his headset.

There are clearly many lessons to be learnt and changes that educators and educational institutes can make to move forward in a positive way since remote learning is here to stay. We must ensure that our students’ and teachers’ emotional needs are met while considering the role our communities play in the future of education.

Building on lessons learnt

It has become clear that face-to-face education cannot simply be transferred online. If you used to teach 21 hours of English a week at your institution, it is important to analyse how much of that needs to be online. Do 100% of classes need to be face-to-face (physically or virtually)? How much can be blended, so that some things can be done by the learner after having received and understood instructions? Below are some suggestions on what can be done differently.

The educators:

  • How can we convey language virtually? The teacher is essential for the warm-up, lead-in activity to introduce the theme, topic or language, but s/he can support students to achieve the rest asynchronously.
  • Activities involving interaction can be done asynchronously with students working together online (recorded) or using a chat function which can be kept as a screenshot. This evidence of collaborative work can be sent to the teacher and used towards a portfolio of work. Tasks should incorporate creative skills, rather than only focus on knowledge or accuracy of language.
  • Later stages of the lesson can be recorded by the teacher for students to view at another time, to check answers or summarise what the learning points were. Monitoring could be done when students send in their group ideas – using audio or video from a Zoom, Microsoft Teams or a Google Doc that they have all contributed to.
  • Students who do not have the equipment or reliable connectivity to ‘meet’ their peers remotely still need the opportunity to learn collaboratively. When possible, provide opportunities for groups to come together at school in a safe manner (hand-washing, wearing masks, physically distant, etc). This would help those who have difficulty with remote education while allowing them to collaborate with the rest of their classmates online. This is becoming known as a ‘hybrid class’.
  • Last, but not least, don’t forget the textbook! If you are working with a set textbook your students should have it, so make use of it instead of recreating the wheel. But make sure that you provide open extension activities they can move forward with remotely so they can use some creativity while at home. Learning is not about simply learning knowledge and facts, there are other skills that students must develop, have fun with and discover they have.


The educational institutes and communities:

  • Physical teaching materials can be printed off by the school or institution and made available for the parents/students with connectivity issues that week (for whatever reason). The adults should then be able to visit the school reception and collect the relevant education materials for themselves / their child. These could be packaged in envelopes labelled with the name of the student and parent(s).
  • Smooth and regular communication between the institution, students, and parents is vital. A digital platform is the best and most reliable way of achieving this. Institutions should consult their teachers, students and parents when selecting a platform that will suit everybody’s needs. An unsuitable platform adds unjust pressures and additional workload to already time-deficient teachers!
  • Parents should be invited to practical demonstrations of how to access the platform so that they do not struggle alone with it – online demonstrations would save time and resources.
  • An institute needs to be mindful of the increased burden for the teacher in maintaining good communication with students/parents. – The time, electricity, mobile data, reliable internet are essential for remote teachers. Institutes are in a good position to negotiate packages with internet providers for their schools and teachers.
  • If teachers are expected to offer blended or remote learning, the institute should make sure they have the correct hardware/software to do so.
  • Partnering with a local radio or TV station, to transmit live classes to their students without digital connectivity would help institutions avoid the cost of platforms or dependence on unreliable internet connections.


Respecting and valuing wellbeing:

  • Local restrictions allowing, the teacher can use the connectivity and resources available in their institution, by delivering education online from the school classroom. – Students with connectivity issues are invited to join the teacher in a hybrid class (as described above). This can also solve some teachers’ problems with delivering remote classes from home.
  • Ask teachers if they prefer online or face-to-face education. There may be some who learnt to teach in a non-digital age and may struggle to deal with remote teaching. Thus delivering face-to-face classes could help to maintain their wellbeing. Those who particularly enjoy digital teaching could be assigned to teach purely remotely. Those who are somewhere in between the two could split their teaching hours between school and home. The most technically advanced teachers could provide professional development training for their colleagues on how to use certain educational digital tools efficiently, or suggest online professional courses to participate in. This also gives the teachers an opportunity to (physically distantly) meet and compare their experiences and thoughts on students’ progress.


The new normal for education:

We should therefore not be returning to business as usual, but taking the opportunity to innovate and allow our students to learn in different ways; at different paces; in a more autonomous manner. This can be done while respecting their social and emotional needs, harnessing the responsibilities of parents and communities, and ensuring the wellbeing of our teachers. Covid-19 has highlighted some inequalities, but it is up to us whether we now make the changes to even them out.


Are you ready to explore digital tools for teaching and learning?
Do you need help getting started with the digital tools in your Oxford course?
Are you looking for tips and ideas for using digital in your teaching?Move forward together



Zarina Subhan is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer. She has taught and delivered teacher training at all levels and in both private and government institutions in over fifteen different countries as well as in the UK. Early on in her career, Zarina specialised in EAP combining her scientific and educational qualifications. From this developed an interest in providing tailor-made materials, which later led to materials writing that was used in health training and governance projects in developing countries. Since 2000 she has been involved in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), materials writing, training trainers and teachers in facilitation techniques and teaching methodology. Zarina is published and has delivered training courses, presentations, spoken at conferences worldwide, and continues to be a freelance consultant teacher educator.


Teaching During The Pandemic: Postcards From Around The World

Postcard with the message "Wish you were here!"This year may have been difficult for everyone across the globe, but it has been especially challenging for teachers. They have had to transform their lessons into online sessions and adapt to rules and advice to keep their students safe and make sure they can continue learning. In this two-part blog series, we contacted this year’s Headway Scholars to find out more about their pandemic teaching experiences and any advice they have for our teaching community. Read their stories below!

Comments have been condensed and edited for clarity.

Dr. Ahmad Khalil Awad, Saudi Arabia

This pandemic has taught me to value everything we have; our families, friends, books, life, pets and countries. It has taught me a priceless lesson of not taking things for granted. Life is full of ups and downs, but there is no mountain too high nor is there an ocean too deep.

It has been really challenging to teach students during this time. Their fears and uncertainty around the situation overwhelmed their thoughts so we have had to help with this. Teaching online was new to all of us and it was difficult not being able to meet our students face-to-face.

TOP TIP: Sometimes, I felt like I was talking to myself and no one was participating in the online lesson. Using a flipped-classroom approach with tools such as Kahoot, Wordify, Padlet, and Oxford Learn are amazing in helping us achieve our teaching and learning outcomes.

“The pandemic has taught me to value everything we have.”

Fariha Haidary, Afghanistan

During the pandemic, I have been teaching English to business and journalist students at university. Although it was my first time teaching online, I received good feedback from my students and felt satisfied with my teaching. They said that they didn’t feel like they were online during my lessons as I made it feel like the usual classroom experience.

TOP TIP: WhatsApp has been very helpful during this time. I make sure to share the link for the online lesson and lesson recordings in our WhatsApp groups before and after our sessions. Google forms have also been useful for producing quick online quizzes for students.

Safa Abdul Razak, India

The most challenging part of online lessons in India was how many students were not able to participate because of a lack of technological know-how and poor internet connection. It was also difficult to get students to understand the importance of attending these sessions.

There have been many funny (meme-worthy) incidents over the last few months, where students were eating, watching television, conversing with their siblings, arguing with parents or generally distracted, while I carried on. However, on the bright side, since students have less school work, we have been able to explore new surroundings, talk about incidents that we would never have thought of until this lockdown, and spend a lot more time learning English.

TOP TIP: Connect with other teachers and students around the world! I started a pen-pal project with several schools in other countries and it yielded wonderful results. My students were able to learn about other students’ lifestyles and how the pandemic was affecting them.

“There have been many funny (meme-worthy) incidents over the last few months, where students were eating, watching television, conversing with their siblings, arguing with parents or generally distracted, while I carried on.”

Begoña Urruticoechea, Spain

Teaching during the pandemic has been very intense. Online lessons have been tailor-made to fit my students’ needs and this has been very demanding. Despite it being really tiring, it’s also been satisfying. Students’ good results are always gratifying for teachers, but to be told that they have enjoyed my lessons is equally delightful.

TOP TIP: Teachers should inspire students and the best way to do this is showing our enthusiasm for what we do. I make sure to establish a close connection with my students and get to know them and their needs. I then pick materials according to their interests and needs to help stimulate their learning process and help them become autonomous learners.

Santina Mandelli, Italy

My experience was challenging as I had never taught online lessons. It was also difficult to get students to attend and concentrate during these lessons. Some struggled with their internet connection and others did not have a laptop or tablet. I had to be very patient, but eventually more and more students were able to attend lessons. Does teaching online mean avoiding books? Of course not! Sharing the pages of Headway through video lessons was great because I could show pictures, texts and the corrections of the exercises straight to the students’ screens.

TOP TIP: I split the classes into small groups. Students seemed to attend more frequently and willingly because there were less of them and I was able to help and listen to them more carefully. This solution was quite difficult because I had to increase the number of sessions in our timetable, but it was more satisfying for me and my students.

“Students seemed to attend more frequently and willingly because there were less of them and I was able to help and listen to them more carefully.”


Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, this year’s Summer Seminar at Oxford University was cancelled. Instead, we are excited to welcome our winners to Oxford in 2021 and thank them for sharing their stories and advice.


How have you found teaching during the pandemic? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments!


Coming soon: For more stories from our Headway Scholars about teaching during the pandemic read Teaching During The Pandemic: Postcards From Around The World (part 2).

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Digital Divide: What Is It And How Can You Bridge The Gap?

woman sitting on the ground and working on her laptopWe can safely say that, through the difficulties of 2020, English language teachers have grown accustomed to delivering online classes and learning to use new digital tools. Some teachers may face many weeks ahead of continuing such classes if high Covid-19 cases see a resurgence, their new academic year does not start until 2021, or they have become ‘online teachers’ on a semi-permanent basis.

As a result, some teachers have found themselves dependent on the help of parents to ensure their children are online at designated times and able to access class materials. Parent support is especially important for younger students who perhaps did not originally have the necessary computing skills to act independently.
But what about our students who cannot access the internet from home, or do not have reliable electricity supplies? Not only is infrastructure an issue, but also the lack of digital equipment, e.g. when siblings and/or parents require the use of a laptop or computer simultaneously. Similarly, adult students may have to share their bandwidth and equipment with a partner, or family, who all need to work online.

These are examples of what the ‘digital divide’ is beginning to look like in many of our societies – those with an unproblematic ability to access the internet or digital equipment, versus those with regular difficulties to reliably access either the internet or the necessary equipment.

This article focuses on the two issues of lack of connectivity and dealing with the parents who have this problem.

Helping students with connectivity issues

Many teachers have had few options but to carry on delivering online classes, while being unable to meet the needs of those students who cannot get online when they are delivering their ‘live’ (synchronous) classes. Here are some practical solutions to help address some of these problems:

  1. Upload materials to your school or institution platform that allows students to be online to download materials then work with them offline. The same can be done with a video of a lesson that you delivered. This, however, depends on your institution having a digital platform.
  2. If you use a digital platform, don’t upload pdf documents because they require a lot of memory and can take up a lot of space on a smartphone, which may be the only device a parent can use to download learning materials for their child.
  3. Use G-suite (Google Docs, Sheets and Slides) or Microsoft’s One Drive. These can be used to upload learning materials which you can save so they are available offline. For this the teacher, if using G-suite, needs to use Google Chrome and be online at the time of saving the materials. By adjusting the Settings, you can turn on Offline Setting, then send it as normal. Students do not need to be online to access it via WhatsApp, nor do they need to download it. If using Microsoft’s One Drive set up One Drive to Sync, and you simply drag it into a file that you have shared with your students (or parents).
  4. While you give an online class, simultaneously record yourself so you can send the recording to your students who could not get online at the time. The mp4 recording can then be converted to an mp3, so that it is not such a large file and it will not require a student (or parent) to be online for hours, and therefore at great expense, simply to download materials. The same thing can be done with a Zoom recording to reduce memory, before making it available to students.
  5. While doing an online class live, you can use Google Docs Voice Typing. This simultaneously types what you say and allows you to save it as a Google Doc. This way you can allow students, who could not attend synchronously, to have a transcript of what was said during the lesson. Tip: You do need to speak very clearly, which may help you be mindful about your pronunciation and clarity when you speak to your students. It is worth doing, simply to see how clear the app thinks your voice is – this is a good reflective task for any ELT teacher!

Working with parents to solve connectivity problems

Being able to help students with connectivity issues, of course, depends on the teacher setting up an understanding relationship with the parents. They are the ones who have connectivity issues. But if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that remote learning for students below the age of 18 must be in collaboration with parents. Here are some ways to help such collaboration:

  1. Establish WhatsApp (or equivalent) contact with parents of students. You could set up a special group only for you and the parents of students with connectivity issues. Then, while you deliver an online class, call the group (but only using the audio function because it needs less bandwidth) so any parent can help their child hear the class and even participate.
  2. If you are distributing worksheets or planning to use one in a live online class, send a WhatsApp message or email to the parents with connectivity issues the day before.
  3. You can also print the worksheet or materials, photograph it, and send it to the WhatsApp group for parents who do not have email accounts.
  4. Similarly, if you used Google Docs Voice Typing to use as a transcript (as described above), or any Google Doc, Sheet, or Slides, it can be saved using the Offline Setting. Similarly with Microsoft’s One Drive. Which means that the parent does not lose valuable time (and money) online accessing your teaching materials. The parent does not even require a Gmail account to be able to access any of the Google applications.
  5. If, for some reason, you do not get on well with G-suite or Microsoft’s One Drive you could convert a document to a QR code and send the code to the WhatsApp group. (Please follow this link to a YouTube video showing you how to do this).

As we were thrust into digital teaching, there was an assumption that teachers must synchronously teach the same number of times as they had been doing face-to-face. But by doing things alternatively, as outlined above, that is not necessarily the case. I propose that this would improve the lives of not only teachers but also students and parents.

What have you found to be of help?

Feel free to use the comments section below to share your own experiences with our community of teachers!

  • What have you found most difficult about moving your teaching online?
  • What are your coping strategies?
  • Has your institution found a solution for students who cannot join online?


Are you ready to explore digital tools for teaching and learning?

Do you need help getting started with the digital tools in your Oxford course?

Are you looking for tips and ideas for using digital in your teaching?Move forward together



Zarina Subhan is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer. She has taught and delivered teacher training at all levels and in both private and government institutions in over fifteen different countries as well as in the UK. Early on in her career, Zarina specialised in EAP combining her scientific and educational qualifications. From this developed an interest in providing tailor-made materials, which later led to materials writing that was used in health training and governance projects in developing countries. Since 2000 she has been involved in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), materials writing, training trainers and teachers in facilitation techniques and teaching methodology. Zarina is published and has delivered training courses, presentations, spoken at conferences worldwide, and continues to be a freelance consultant teacher educator.


Digital Burnout – It’s Time To Take Back Control!

My escape and healing from digital burnout - Erika Osváth

My escape and healing from digital overload – Erika Osváth

As a teacher and teacher trainer, my life turned upside down under the pressures of Covid-19. I found myself spending most of my day sitting in front of my laptop, striving to pass on the kind of knowledge I used to do face-to-face. I would get messages from students and teacher colleagues in the afternoon and late in the evening and would feel obliged to respond as soon as I read them. I was cooking lunch, doing the washing up and all the rest during my breaks, while making sure my daughters are also “on task”, sitting in front of their devices following their teachers.

Are you experiencing digital burnout?

After a few weeks, my eyes started to get sore, I would get more and more easily irritated by minor things happening around me. It was getting more difficult to get out of bed and feel the morning start with the right kind of uplifting energy. The feeling of confinement and disconnection from people started to take over. All these feelings were a sign of digital burnout. As I have discovered after some research, these feelings may lead to a serious state of anxiety or even depression.

How can I get out of this? What is it that I do have control over, or I can regain control over? I asked myself. After some quiet, self-reflective occasions I came up with a few ideas for myself, and made a conscious effort to follow them trying to keep in mind the well-known Hungarian saying, which I personally relate to: “Help yourself and God will help you.” The kind of feedback I got from my family, my colleagues and my friends tell me that it has been a successful endeavour. If any of the above feelings resonate with you, here are some of the things I helped myself with and may work for you too.


1) Create a daily schedule

Create a daily schedule with the family and for yourself. Make sure you include the following things:

  1. Regular breaks between the online times.
  2. Small pleasures such as, making yourself a nice cup of tea or doing a quick 15-minute yoga or chi kung routine, instead of looking at Facebook posts or Instagram or anything online or involving a screen.
  3. Some kind of physical exercise.
  4. Silent moments to wind down excluding anything that involves a screen, such as video games or watching TV.

Top Tip – Involve your whole family in working out the daily schedule and get your children to make a poster out of it, something you can refer to during the day. Reflect on what has been achieved on a particular day with your family and at the end of the day, say, over dinner. These conversations may help you and others realize the control you have over your thinking, and things that happen to you or around you. Here are some reflective questions you can ask to help manage digital burnout:

  • Did I/we have regular breaks? What did I do during the breaks?
  • Did I do any physical exercise?
  • What was the beauty I saw/experienced today?
  • How do I feel now? Why do I feel in this way? What are some of the things that helped me feel this way? What are some of the things I can change?

2) Set boundaries

Be strict with yourself and your students about the times when you are online and ready to answer questions, offer support, etc. I told my students that I will not answer any questions after 5:00 p.m. Turning off the internet or mobile data services on your devices is a great way to protect yourself from digital burnout.

Conscious focus

1) Redirect your focus

It is a great idea to redirect your attention from a virtual superficial surface, which is the digital world, to things through which your senses – touch, smell, taste, seeing, hearing – can be activated in other ways. Make this a conscious practise until the habit is formed. For example, in break times, water your plants, touch the leaves, examine every single change you can observe from one day to another. Or make yourself a special cup of tea with refined aroma, one that you love, say a nice cup of Tulsi chai, and enjoy every sip of it.

Top Tip: It is key that you focus only on the thing that you redirect your attention to and shut out any other impressions that may want to intrude.

2) Arts and movement

Make a conscious choice of creating beauty in the form of any art and movement every day. For example, drawing, painting, handcraft, something close to your heart. You can also dance at home on your own to the music of your choice, something that makes your cells excited or follow a 5-rhythm pattern, or if possible, join a dance club, and learn a new dance, such as argentine tango, which is what I did 😊.

Top Tip – You do not have to be an expert in the arts. Use this as a means of connecting to something you find beautiful without having expectations towards yourself.

Self-love and joy

1) Start a diary

Build a friendship with yourself, through maintaining an inner dialogue answering self-discovery questions and writing about them in a beautiful paper diary with your favourite pen. Some of these questions may be: When I wake up in the morning how do I most want to feel? What do I need to let go of? etc. If you do an online search for “journaling questions for self-reflection” you will find a great number of guiding prompts and questions to build a better connection with yourself.

2) Connect with people

Instead of sending messages on digital devices phone your friends and family members every day and have quality connections with them. Communication through short messages is extremely limiting and shallow. Human voice and attention are given to the person you are speaking to add an extra dimension and quality to your connection. Hug your loved ones whenever you can. This is both physically and emotionally healing. It is well-known from research that hugs heal feelings of loneliness and isolation as well as build trust and a sense of safety.

3) Be of service to others

Be of service to others in whatever way it fits you. Find a good deed every day, a small act of kindness that you consciously look for and do without wanting anything in return. It can also be something bigger, such as volunteering. From time to time share these moments with your students, get them to come up with small acts of kindness they can offer to be of service to people around themselves, including listening to somebody with empathy. Encourage them to give something they possess, if not something material then their time and/or their attention to each other. Shifting the focus from “I” to “we” or “you” in this way is a great way to fill your life with joy.


Prioritise your wellbeing with our latest book, ‘Teacher Wellbeing’!

See our Practical Guide to Teacher Wellbeing


Erika Osváth, MEd in Maths, DTEFLA, is a freelance teacher, teacher trainer, materials writer and co-author of the European Language Award-winning 6-week eLearning programme for language exam preparation. Before becoming a freelance trainer in 2009, she worked for International House schools for 16 years in Eastern and Central Europe, where she worked as a YL co-ordinator, trainer on CELTA, LCCI,1-1, Business English, YL and VYL courses, and Director of Studies. She has extensive experience in teaching very young learners, young learners and teenagers.

Her main interests lie in these areas as well as making the best of technology in ELT. She regularly travels to different parts of Hungary and other parts of the world to teach demonstration lessons with local children, do workshops for teachers, and this is something she particularly enjoys doing as it allows her to delve into the human aspects of these experiences. Erika is co-author with Edmund Dudley of Mixed Ability Teaching (Into the Classroom series).

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12 Student-Pleasing Activities Using Graded Readers

children reading graded readersReading can be a challenge for students learning English. Therefore, starting with graded readers for extensive reading lessons can be a very good option. This way, the student will learn new vocabulary in a meaningful context and improve their language skills. Having an extensive reading program can also help students become independent readers.

A reading program may consist of three stages: pre-reading, while reading and post-reading. Here are some activities that you may find helpful in implementing graded readers in your lesson plans.


1. Word Detective

Before you begin reading any of the graded readers with your class, choose a sentence that can be a message for your students. This can be as simple as ‘Reading Is Fun.’ Find these words inside the books and note down the name of the book and the page that the word is on. Show students the sentence without the words, using only lines.

For example, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _.

Ask students to check their book(s), depending on how many graded readers you are going to read in class, and to try to find the words. You can help them by saying that ‘The second word is an auxiliary verb’, or ‘The first one starts with ‘R’.’ They can work in pairs, which will help them to work on their communication and collaboration skills. The students can also gain a general understanding of the book they are going to read. It will be even more fun when they come up with their own sentences.

2. Find the characters

Before you start reading your book, in order to generate curiosity, ask students to go through the pages of the book and search for proper names. How many can they find? Ask them to guess who these people might be. Ask them to take notes of the answers they give. When they finish reading the book, they can then see if they can guess who these characters are.

 3. Guess the title

Show the cover of the book to the students but hide the title. Ask them to guess the title of the book. Talk about the various answers they give and why they gave that answer.

 4. Match the title

Ask students how many types of book genres they know. If they are not ready to answer you can elicit. You can also ask them to search for different literary genres online before your lesson. You can say that Sherlock Holmes Short Stories belongs in the crime and mystery genre, Dracula is a horror story, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a classic fantasy story. They can add more to these examples. Talk about each genre to understand if each of them means the same to all. Write some examples of different genres on the board then write the titles of the graded readers that you are going to read and ask them to match with the genres. They need to try to guess the genre of the book just by looking at the title. After reading, you can discuss if they are right.

While reading

5. Take a selfie

When your students start reading their books, ask them to take a selfie while they are reading. They can get as creative as they want. Then, create a class, or even a school, exhibition and share the photos for everyone to see. Seeing other people’s photos in which they enjoy reading may be inspiring for those who do not find reading ‘cool enough’. You can also share these photos on a classroom blog or school website. If you are teaching online, every student can use the photo they take as their profile picture.

6. Word Clouds

Choose some words from the next chapter and add them to a word cloud tool online (there are many free online options, here is one example). Add some words that they will encounter in the next chapter and make a word cloud. Ask them to guess what might happen next. After they finish reading the chapter, they can see if they are right about the story that they come up with by only looking at the words in the word cloud.

 7. Horoscopes

Before moving on with the next chapter, students can write horoscopes for each character in the book and predict what will happen next. Since the students may not be familiar with horoscopes, you may need to clarify what a horoscope is first. You can share some examples of horoscopes that you can easily find online. They can think about what sign these characters are. You can divide the classroom into teams and give each team one character to write horoscopes for. They can then compare their tasks and, after reading the chapter, you can have a class discussion on which team is the closest to the correct answer.

 8. Tell me what you see

This activity is for the books that have illustrations in them. Ask students to work in pairs. One student will explain what they can see in the illustration for the chapter you are about to read, and the other will try to draw a picture while listening. They then try to guess what that chapter is about.


9. Write a play

After students finish reading the reader, in groups they can write a playscript of the book and act it for their classmates. They can revise the grammar structures you have been working on and add new characters if they want.

10. Act a scene

After you finish reading the book as a class, you can discuss what the best part was for the students and why. Ask the students to work in pairs or groups and choose a scene from the chapters and act that scene. You can differentiate this activity by asking the students to act the scene without speaking. They will only use gestures.

11. Pose the scene

For this activity, you need to describe some important scenes very briefly from the book on small pieces of paper. Divide the classroom into as many teams as the number of scenes you have written. Put the papers in a bag and ask each group to choose one. The students should decide quickly how to organize for the scene and pose like it as if somebody is taking a photo of it. The others will guess which scene it is and what happened. When everybody finishes posing, they can decide the order of the different scenes.

12. Roleplay

Ask students to write a brief description of one of the characters. You can also nominate a character to each student. The description may include age, occupation, Zodiac sign, hometown and anything that you think is relevant. Students then work in pairs and ask and answer questions according to the role-play cards. You can turn this into a kind of a gala event where all the characters meet each other and talk. There may be 2 or 3 of the same characters, which may add more fun!

Bonus! – Your students are more likely to develop a habit of reading when they see you reading. Read along with your students, carry the book that you are currently reading, talk about it with your students and you will see this will have a positive impact on them.


Aysu Şimşek is a passionate advocate of continuing professional development. After graduating from Istanbul University with joint honours in American Culture and Literature with Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy, she embarked on her own teaching career. She has a distinctive experience with young learners, and now in her role with Oxford University Press, Aysu meets and supports teachers from across Turkey and is an active member of a global community of dedicated educationalists. She has delivered training sessions for different types of ELT events, and co-written articles for Modern English Teacher magazine and TEA Online Magazine.