Tara’s Lessons for ESL Students: Learning English with Books
Many of my students and I enjoy using different types of fictional and non-fictional texts during our classes. One of my favorites (and one of my students’ favorites as well) is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by the beloved British author Roald Dahl. Although considered a children’s book, it is a story that is fun for young and old readers and appeals to people from all over the world.
There are so many reasons why this novel is great for students of English! First of all, the vocabulary used in this book is interesting and very useful in everyday life. The new words and idiomatic phrases you learn are repeated throughout the story, and will STAY in your mind because you are reminded of them from start to finish. Also, there is lots of SPOKEN English used in this book, so you get an idea for how native speakers really talk to each other, and then hopefully go out and use it! Finally, this novel allows ESL students to have fun while accomplishing the goal of reading a complete book in English!
In today’s blog we will take a look at a typical lesson for this novel. I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 1 – Here Comes Charlie
1. Listen to the Audio Recording, read by me! (You can find the text online.)
2. Now take a look at the vocabulary words I have selected and their part of speech. Which words do you know? Which words are new? Can you use the words in a sentence? Go back and listen again, now that you understand all of the vocabulary.
Wooden (adjective), Edge (noun), Mattress (noun), Draught (noun), Cap (noun), Cabbage (noun), Tummy (noun), Slabs (noun), Greedily (adverb), Torture (noun), Nibble (noun), Tremendous (adjective), Marvelous (adjective), Enormous (adjective), Sniff (noun), Gorgeous (adjective), To look forward to sth (phrasal verb), To make your mouth water (idiomatic phrase), To long for (idiomatic phrasal verb)
3. Did you understand the text? Let’s do some comprehension/opinion questions:
- Tell me about your family.
- Describe your house.
- Tell me about your job.
- Tell me about the food you eat with your family.
- Describe some large building/attraction that stands out in your city.
- Tell me about something you long for more than anything, and why.
- Now, you invent, with your imagination. 2 new crazy sweets that Willy Wonka could make. What would it they taste like? What would they be made of?
Well, I hope you enjoyed listening to the first chapter in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It takes about 2 hours to finish a complete chapter and you can expect the schedule of the lesson to be as follows:
- Just Listen: You listen to the Audio recording of the chapter WITHOUT reading, once or twice. Then you explain the main idea or “gist” of the chapter. Tell me anything you remember hearing.
- Listen and Read: You listen to the Audio recording of the chapter AND read the text – for better understanding.
- Echo and Vocabulary: This is when we practice pronunciation and stress. I say a few words (or a sentence in you are more advanced) and then you REPEAT the same words/sentence trying to sound EXACTLY like me. When you listen to the Mp3 recording of our class, you will be able to hear the differences and then practice the words and stress that are hard for you. During the “echo” you have the chance to ask about all new vocabulary words and grammar structures.
- Practice makes Perfect: You listen to the Mp3 of our class AND the Audio of the chapter during your free time and practice your pronunciation and stress, trying to sound like me in the original recording.
- Speaking and Comprehension: After you practice on your own, you read the chapter out loud so that I can listen to you and your improvement. Then I ask you several questions about the chapter allowing you to show me that you fully understand. Finally, we discuss all the concepts that are presented in the chapter such as the “Role of the Media” or “Advertising to Children”.
- Written Work: Some students like to have a chance to practice their writing skills. Here I give you several options for writing assignments that we go over together during our next class. You have a chance to use the new vocabulary and grammar you learned.
So, if you are interested in reading this novel with me or would like more information about my classes, send me an email today and we can talk further about your goals for learning English. I hope you have a great day!