Two Techniques for Reading in ESP and Science Classes

Written by: Elka Goranova & Stefka Kitanova


Both techniques consist of three main stages which are the following:

  1. Arousing the interest
  2. Reading and follow-up activities
  3. Reflection

The texts used are extracts from “Biology! Bringing Science to Life”, J. H. Postlethwait et al., McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1991 (“Atoms and Molecules”) and “Atlas of Anatomy” introduced by T. Weston, MD, MRCGP, Marshal Cavendish, 1995 (“Cells and Chromosomes”, “Body Structure – Cavities”).

For Science classes the full original texts are used, whereas for the ESP classes they are appropriately adapted.

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First technique

Step one. Arousing the interest:

Chemistry 8 th (ESP)/9 th grade (Science)
Topic. The Nature of Matter: Atoms and Elements
Imagine you are an atom. Describe yourself in a few sentences.

Biology 8 th (ESP)/ 9 th grade (Science)
Topic. Cells and Chromosomes
What are the similarities (and differences – for 9 th grade)  among a country, a house, a body and a cell?

Step two. Reading:

Read the text and fill in the table:

I know I learned I disagree I want to know

Follow-up activities: the students are divided into foursomes. Within the group they discuss the table. After that they are invited to share with the class their opinions on each section of the table.

Step three. Reflection:

The students write a poem of five lines. The first line consists of one word – a noun summarising the topic. The second line consists of two adjectives describing the topic. The third line consists of three words presenting the topic in action (-ing form of the verbs). The fourth line consists of four words expressing the author’s emotions about the topic. The fifth line is again of one word which is a synonym of the first one.

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Second technique

Step one. Arousing the interest:

Chemistry 8 th (ESP)/9 th grade (Science)
Topic. Molecules: Atoms Linked with “Energy Glue”
You have four words from the text on the board. Write a few sentences trying to guess what the text is about.
8 th grade: groups, sharing, join, spend
9 th grade: push, glue, weak, salt

Biology 8 th (ESP)/9 th grade (Science)
Topic. Body Structure – Cavities
8 th grade: cage, sheet, stored, canal
9 th grade: jelly-like, chamber, squeeze, suck

Step two. Reading:

Each text has been cut into several parts beforehand by the teacher.

Read the text and fill in the table:

PART PRE-READING POST-READING
I think I know I want to know I learned
Part 1
Part 2
Part …
Final part

Follow-up activities: the students are split into groups and discuss the table. After the discussion a student from each group volunteers to present the group’s opinion in front of the class.

Step three. Reflection:

Finally the students compare their initial impressions of the topic based on the four words with their opinions after the reading and discussion. (You may rearrange the groups for this purpose).

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