Finding small mistakes in reading texts (Any unit, any grade/year)

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Name of Teacher: Chris Tempest

Class/Grade/Language Level: Any

Textbook and specific lesson: New Horizon but any Textbook is OK / Lessons with long text

Goal: To understand that small mistakes can make a big difference, notice them and to be careful about making them in the future.

Preparation: A scan of the passage from the text book.

Class time: 15-20 minutes

This activity is good for all levels but recommended for 2nd years and above as they have longer texts. I scanned a page or two from a reading section in the textbook. In the example, it was from the 2nd year textbook.

The students should already be familiar with the text and know it well. The aim of the activity is to get students to notice when I make small but important mistakes when I read the text. For example, the text reads ‘The minister said “Tsutomu, do you want to come and stay with us...”’ but I would replace ‘us’ with ‘me’. The students would notice the mistake, circle it and write the mistake on the right hand side of the page.

I usually have about 5 mistakes in each passage of text. The good thing about this activity is that all levels of students can find mistakes depending what kind you decide to make, really obvious ones for struggling students. E.g. Italian voice trainer – American voice trainer, and more subtle and difficult ones for more advance students, e.g. world – word or sang – sung.

This is not only a good reading exercise but also a good one for listening. We as native speakers pick up on really small mistakes, they stand out a lot. This exercise tries to put students in our shoes and shows that small mistakes, whilst understood, stand out and it’s these details they should be careful about.

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