Ways & How

how to teach a reading lesson

how to teach a reading lesson

Reading is a complex skill. A meaningful instruction should address vocabulary development, careful reading of texts, awareness of text structure and discourse organization, the use of graphic organizers to support comprehension, strategic reading, fluency development, extensive reading, student motivation, and integrated-skills tasks. While it is impossible to focus on all of these, a reading teacher can choose specific areas to focus on while not forgetting the primary means for reading development, which is extensive reading. Teaching reading, as with the teaching of other language skills, should be based on the assessment of the learners' current level.  A reading lesson should be tailored to the learners’ needs and learning preferences.  It must have clear learning objectives that reflect these. Select a reading text appropriate for their levels and suited to the learning goals. You can work with text through a pre-reading, during-reading and post-reading framework. The choice of reading material has an impact on the students’ motivation to read.  Reading texts should complement the students’ actual and potential cognitive level.



means it shouldn’t be too easy nor too difficult for the learners to read. A reading teacher must know how to select appropriate text materials and supporting resources to make a reading lesson meaningful for the learners. A teacher wanting to know how to teach a reading lesson can adapt the pre-, during- and post-reading frameworks. The act of reading is the heart of any reading lesson and the core of any reading lesson is a series of reading tasks, which are attuned to the instructional goals as follows:

  1. For pre-reading, the teacher can start with a warmer, an activity that hooks the students’ interests to the topic or theme of the reading text. The teacher may or may not give away at this point the theme of the reading text. The teacher must provide learners with background information that will help learners understand the text. This can be done by previewing the text, skimming the text or portions of the text, answering questions about information in the text, exploring key vocabulary and reflecting on or reviewing information from previously read texts in relation to the topic of the new text.

  2. For during-reading, the teacher asks students to read the text with scaffolding tasks to ensure their comprehension. After learners read the text, the teacher can ask them to outline or summarize key ideas, examine emotions and attitudes of key characters (in literary texts), determine sources of difficulty, look for answers to questions posed during pre-reading activities and write down predictions of what might come next in the text. The teacher may also suspend the reading of the ending of the text and ask students to predict it. The students may be grouped to brainstorm and later present their version in class.

  3. For post-reading, the teacher should be able to facilitate discussions that utilize information from the text. A list of post-reading questions may be provided. These should enable students to demonstrate their comprehension of the text, show how the concepts or insights can be applied to real life experience, give their critical stance on given information, and connect text information to personal experiences.  Students may be asked to reflect or critique on ideas presented through journal writing or blogging.

This framework can be easily adapted to different learning contexts. All three components can be integrated into a lesson. If the reading text is short, the pre-, during- and post-reading activities can be done in one single session. For longer texts, the during- or post-reading activities may be done in one class session.

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