Teaching Tip 14: Reading before Writing

How:

  1. Tell the students to read the whole exercise first before writing anything. (This will be unbelievably hard for some students to do).

  2. Once they've read it all, let them begin doing the exercise.

Why:

  1. It's a good idea to read the whole exercise before starting to write anything because sometimes more than one answer is possible but, in the exercise the students are doing, only one answer is the right one.

    For example: (a gap fill with these possible answers: take photos buy souvenirs):
    I always _______________ when I am on holiday because they help me to remember it.
    (Could be either answer! But not if you've read the whole exercise first because you know that one of the later sentences is:
    I _____ a lot of _____ on my last holiday because I had a new camera.

    This is true not only for my worksheets but also for the Cambridge exams such as First Certificate and as a useful strategy in exams in general.

  2. Another reason is that the students can answer the questions they know the answer to and guess the rest (from a smaller selection because they've used some of the answers already and so have a higher percentage chance of guessing the right answer). A process of elimination.

Extra Info:

Exam students are strongly advised to read everything before putting pen to paper for the reasons stated above. Apart from anything else it gives them more context to help them.

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© Liz Regan 2003