TeachingEnglish
Jigsaw reading

This is an approach to reading that involves the students in speaking and summarising skills. It is very useful when working with short authentic texts such as newspaper articles.

Jigsaw reading can be done in two ways

  • Two separate stories
    • If you have two news stories that share a theme - for example two separate stories on crime - prepare comprehension questions for each story. Give one half of the class (Group A) one story, and the other half (Group B) the other. The students read their article, answer the questions and check understanding. Students then pair up with someone from the other group and tell them about their story, and listen to the other one. To help students remember their story you may get them to take notes. Alternatively, the students can keep the article with them to refer to. Be careful though, as lazier (or ingenious) students will either read the article aloud, or simply give it to their partner to read!!
  • One story split in two
    • Some stories can be clearly divided in two. Follow the same procedure as above, but giving each group only one half of the story. When the students are recounting their half of the article, make sure that the student with the opening half goes first.

 

Once the students have orally exchanged stories, they should then read the other person's article.

As a refinement, you can give student B questions to quiz student A about their article.

Jigsaw reading is a great way to introduce speaking into a reading lesson. It provides a real opportunity for genuine communication. In real life, we may tell people about a news article we have read, so this is a classroom activity that is fairly authentic.

Gareth Rees, teacher and materials writer, London Metropolitan University

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