Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

Recap on Reverse Reading

A few months ago I wrote an article (originally appearing in MET, July 2014 issue) outlining a conversation method I invented called Reverse Reading. It has had a few positive comments from people that have used it to excellent effect so I thought it was worth reposting in case anyone missed it. I should write a Conversation class resource book but the beauty of this method is it takes about 10 minutes to prep, once you’ve found a good text, and guarantees to fill your class and motivate your students, minimise reading in favour of max talking time and give support with vocab and lexis.

Thanks Nicola – just got a two-hour class out of the first ten questions! Steve


I tried it twice on Friday. Both times it worked just like you said. […] The first time was with my CAE class where I’d prepared questions based on the Reading task Part 5 in the textbook and had them talk. Assigned the reading task for hw. I explained why we were working this way. Second time my private student, we ran out of time. Thanks!:-) Kamila



Here’s the opening of the full post:


“Q: When is a conversation lesson not a conversation lesson?

A: When it’s actually a reading lesson with some discussion questions tacked on for the last ten minutes.

A common approach to conversation lessons is that the teacher, or students, brings in an article or text as a prompt. It makes for a lesson with more structure than just trying to chat for an hour, which is a challenge for long term classes, and provides a source of new vocabulary.

The bad news for falling back on a text as a prompt is reading and understanding the text ends up dominating the lesson. This dominance proliferates even though many of us would agree that students often ask for speaking practice above everything else. It’s not conversation about the topic that then follows, it’s responding to the text. That might mimic exams, but it doesn’t resemble real life. When was the last time you discussed something you’d read by answering a series of questions on it and then commenting at the end how much you agree?” … Read more

For a book with 10 ready-made no-prep conversation lessons based on the Reverse reading/Simple Speaking approach, click herestandard-issue-textbooks

Read on for the whole post and try it out! Let me know how you get on in the comments as it warms my heart to hear how helpful it is.


One comment on “Recap on Reverse Reading

  1. Pingback: Authentic Reading Materials: Editable Question Set – ESL Library Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on September 30, 2015 by in ELT, Teaching English and tagged , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: