How can graded reading appeal to students who are more interested in science than literature? What easy approaches can we try to engage learners who do not show much interest in fiction? Both fiction and non-fiction graded readers can inspire your students of all ages to read more, even if they are preparing to be biologists or doctors. For starters, they will most likely bring welcome new approaches to reading and interpretation to your reading lesson. A Maths, IT or Science class can always surprise you with their exciting analytical insight and great observation skills. Tell them to wear their ‘scientist’ glasses to read a short reader with you. The study, Extensive graded reading in the liberal arts and sciences, written by Joseph Poulshock and published in Reading in a Foreign Language in 2010, lists even more benefits of extensive graded reading in the liberal arts and sciences. Although he points out that students need and like to read non-fiction readers as well as fiction, the extensive reading of short stories does not only build their vocabulary and motivation, but it also improves their analytical and critical thinking skills (p. 316).
Grab some readers, take them to class and approach them from a practical, project-based point of view.
CLIL & SKILLS focus
Many of our Classic and Fiction titles offer great opportunities for specific language work and a scientific approach to reading. Here is a list of titles and project ideas:
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum: cyclones, natural disasters
- Next Door by Robert Campbell: astronomy, space
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle: scientific investigation, analytical thinking
- Holly, the Eco Warrior by Martyn Hobbs: trees, sustainable living, protests
- The Red-headed League by Arthur Conan Doyle: scientific investigation, analytical thinking
- The African Mask by Günter Gerngross: travel, the supernatural
- Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson: cartography, survival
- Zadie's Last Race by Martyn Hobbs: sports, first aid/emergency medicine
- Mr Football by Janet Olearski: sports management
- Operation Osprey by David A. Hill: bird protection, endangered species
- The Call of the Wild by Jack London: survival, natural habitats
- The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R. L. Stevenson: scientific experiments, ethics
- Red Water by Antoinette Moses: environment protection, carbon trade
Read like a scientist
Scientific experiments often require the same approach as reading tasks. Remind your students that these skills work well across subjects. Remind your students that they can apply these techniques when they are reading a short text in their course book or a longer graded reader for fun.
- Posing questions before reading
- Setting an objective
- Making predictions
- Checking on the reading process
- Annotating the text
- Finding connections
- Looking for strange elements: new words, interesting structures
- Analysing the structure of the text
- Following-up with discussions
- Finding evidence for our answers
If you try to build a project around a book, even your more pragmatic and scientific-minded students will find a purpose in reading fiction.