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Learn English with Dreamreader

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I learned a few days ago about Dreamreader.net, a very useful website for English language learners. The site was created by two EFL teachers who live and work in Japan, Neil Millington and Brad Smith. Several years ago they decided to create a site dedicated to offering students and teachers a free way to practice their English reading skills. I was curious about how the website came to be developed and read the post “The story behind the site.” where the teachers share their motivations for starting the site.

The site is a really great resource for EFL/ESL learners with a nice selection of activities/materials on a wide variety of topics. Not only does it offer academic English reading practice but it also features fun and easier content. There are five categories on the site: Easy English, Interesting English, Fun English, Practical English and Academic English. Most of the lessons across the sections have additional downloads such as worksheets (pdf) and audio for teachers/students to use. The website is very neat, easy to use, and it is updated regularly with new content.

You can learn more about the site by reading Michael Griffin’s latest interview on his wonderful blog where he spoke to Neil Millington, whom he met at a conference in Cambodia this year.

I also enjoyed reading the great post Dream Reader by Hana Ticha where she described her lesson and some lovely ideas she tried out with her students, and demonstrated how teachers can exploit the articles from the blog Dreamreader in a very effective way.

If you want to improve your English, go to dreamreader.net , explore the site and enjoy learning English on your own.

You can also follow dreamreader.net on Twitter.

I loved the suggestions in the post How to use a “dreamreader” lesson in 6 Easy Steps about how to take a lesson from the website and make it interesting and fun for your class.

I went to dreamreader.net and chose the article Jet Lag  as I found it really interesting and suitable for practicing Aviation English (Upper-Intermediate (B2) level).

I printed out the article by downloading the PDF from the webpage and downloaded the audio, too. The article has a very good vocabulary and inference questions to push for reading comprehension. I found the Vocabulary study worksheet(s) (pdf) very useful as they are designed to make students focus on a particular vocabulary set or feature (a single word, a phrase, a collocation etc.), and students are encouraged to add vocabulary they want to learn.

Then I spent some time reflecting on the lesson and thinking of: the questions that relate to the topic of the article, key vocabulary, how to help students with pronunciation of some hard-to-pronounce words, and how to have them discuss anything interesting they found in the article and carry out in pairs or small groups a small research project in order to find more about the topic.

Jet lag – Lesson plan

  1. Lead in: Ask students to find out in small groups (3-4 students):
  • who has flown before (Where/When……..?)
  • who has flown the most times (How many times…………?)
  • who has had the longest flight (How did you feel after the flight?)
  1. Give the students the article and ask them to answer the comprehension questions to make sure they understand it. Check the answers with the class.
  1. Play the audio and ask the students to listen to the recording for pronunciation of some hard-to-pronounce words (like:  the body is used to secreting hormones, their body gets out of synch, comfortably, schedule, caffeine, lethargic), and tell them to pay attention to intonation and connected speech.
  1. Students practice key vocabulary in pairs:

         – explain some useful phrases:

  • travelling long distances (e.g. intercontinental flights) = long-haul flights
  • there have been no delays or disruptions to flights = problems which have interrupted flights
  • new problem for travelers brought about by the jet age = new problem for travelers caused by the jet age
  • their body gets out of synch with their current location = unsynchronized; not occurring together, or having the same period or phase as their surroundings

         – collocations (write on the board the words in two columns and ask students to match the words that go together)

  • jet lag
  • internal clock
  • time zones
  • sleeping pills
  • smartphone app
  • discount tickets

–  Students write the words and phrases they learned into Vocabulary study worksheets.

  1. Follow-up: Students (in groups of four) decide on the topics they are interested in and will explore on the Internet, and create a presentation for the next class (e.g. find out something more about smartphone app called Entrain that gives lighting recommendations while traveling to help you adjust your body to the destination time zone…)

Thanks for reading the post and the Aviation English lesson I created by using the material from Dreamreader. I hope it was interesting. 🙂

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About ljiljana havran

English language teacher (General & Aviation English), passionate about learning and teaching. Curious, adventurous, a lifelong learner. Love: good books, music, lots of dance.

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