Guest post - 10 effective ways to make students read


Чтение _научнои ̆_литературыHaving fun while reading - It’s possible!

I am Marusya Hristova, an English teacher from Bulgaria, living in England.

I am into my 18th year of teaching English on a professional level and I love it. Currently I am teaching online and design a free monthly e-zine “Inspirational English” for passionate teachers who want to bring POSITIVITY into the classroom. You can find more info about my work and the e-zine here

We are all aware of the fact that most students find reading really boring nowadays. It is quite tedious to read a text and then answer a few questions, isn’t it? So these are a few reading activities that spark my pupils’ desire to read and be creative.

Story Dictation

I have to admit that I read about this activity in another blog a few months ago. Usually a teacher reads a story and the students have to draw it. But how about if the students find a story they like or a particular theme and dictate it to their classmates. The activity works best when the students are divided into small groups. The teacher should point out that the readers have to pay attention to their intonation and diction.

Reading your peers’ stories

Being an online teacher gives me the chance to tailor-make any lesson to my students’ needs. A while ago one of my pupils mentioned that he really wants to write a story in which he explores the world. That’s how the story “Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures” came about. Every week Frank and I continue the story with our adventures. So far we have “been” to quite a few places: Oxford, the city of Bath, Stonehenge, to name but a few. What Frank finds challenging is searching for the right information and then retelling it so that it is easily digested by intermediate students. After we started writing our stories, Frank doesn’t want to go back to using a course book. He has learnt so much about British culture and customs. Additionally, I share our story with the rest of the students at the same level and they find our adventures fascinating and always look forward to reading the next chapter.

You can find the story “Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures” in the e-zine “Inspirational English”.

Read and finish

Another popular activity in my lessons challenges my students’ imagination. I use a story or a piece of news which corresponds to the English level of my class. I copy only the beginning of the text, then the students have to read and finish it. At the end of the lesson we compare their versions and often vote for the best one. The activity is usually carried out in pairs or small groups. 


Find a text that the students have read recently and leave no spaces and punctuation. The learners work in pairs to edit the text and bring it back to the original.

Using newspapers and magazines

Find a story or an article which is suitable for the topic of your lesson. Cut it into strips and give one to each student. Everyone has to walk around and put the strips into the correct order.

If your class is too big, split it into two groups and prepare two separate texts.

Peer assessment

Find a text from a newspaper or a magazine at the right level for your students. Make enough photocopies and ask the pupils to cover a certain number of words with some correction fluid. Then they swap the texts and fill in the blanks. Point out that they should blank out words such as quantifiers, determiners, pronouns or articles.

What’s on guide

The students are asked to work in pairs and collect information about the main events taking place in cities, such as London, Cambridge or Brighton. They need to select the most important pieces of information, create a news bulletin and present it to the class.

To practise asking questions and speculating

This activity is suitable for higher levels. The students work in pairs and find an interesting story or article online. They read it, identify the main events and prepare questions to ask their classmates in order to predict what happens next or why the character may have done something. Once the students are ready, they take turns to read the stories to their classmates and ask the questions. It is important again to remind them that they should use the right intonation and diction.

Students recommend

Plan a regular lesson around your students’ favourite books. For example, every Friday a student has to tell the rest of the class about their favourite book or the one they are reading now. They should explain why they like the book, who their favourite character is and the plot. Students love to read what their peers enjoy, not what we teachers recommend.

What is your students’ favourite reading activity?

Happy reading!


There is a wide range of texts on many different subject areas are available free of charge on Read Listen Learn

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The image used above is by Юлия Евдокимовская (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons