A while ago I handed out a reading comprehension text on Viruses (from Reading Explorer 3, Cengage) because it linked in with the topic of diseases in Science Year 8. In EAL we do a lot of academic vocabulary building and normally they would have to highlight the academic words they have trouble understanding and translate them into their home language before moving on to the comprehension questions. The students were a bit bored doing this so I came up with the following activity.
First they had to read the text and identify the academic vocabulary which they translated into their L1. Next, they were to put the reading into a drawing and were also allowed to annotate their drawing with the translated academic words. They then had to come and present/retell a summarized version of the text to me, with the help of their drawing and translated words. The one goal of the exercise was for them to use correctly as many academic words as possible. I would count these words during their presentation and then give them a score for ACADEMIC WORD COUNT.
I didn’t grade the students, but set a target of how many words I would like to hear. This gave me the opportunity to differentiate according to the students’ abilities. My EAL learners had to read and understand the text in-depth to be able to pull it off and this took up two 50-minute lessons but it was well worth it and they all enjoyed the activity.