ONLINE REVIEWS IN AN ESL LESSON
When we think about reading, we picture books, newspapers or magazines. However, your students probably read daily texts that are shorter, more about consumption and not (only) about entertainment or current affairs, and are more packed with information. Let me give you a simple example how to train them to find and read this type of texts in real life and some tasks to customize for your lesson, with the aim to improve reading for details. Use online reviews in your ESL lesson.
WHERE TO FIND AUTHENTIC ONLINE REVIEWS?
Choose an object that your students might use on a daily basis, my pick is a coffee machine.
As a lead-in, ask your students what is important for them in a coffee machine: colour, price, number of cups, brand, etc.
Then ask your students to go to amazon.co.uk and type in the chosen product name into the search field (HERE is my hit).
They can do this in pairs on their mobile phones. The task is to choose three favorite ones from the first page and give reasons why they have chosen these: e.g. because of their price range or their colour.
Now, ask your students to enter into details about these three products (by clicking onto them) and read their descriptions and some reviews about them. They can analyze them in pairs and decide which they would buy and why.
One of the couples could present their decision to the class, by giving reasons for their choice, too.
Finally, you might want to ask them:
– to repeat the task with the same product, considering a role, for example, which product would a university student/an Italian designer/a bank clerk/a primary school teacher/etc. buy and why? Which of these would be a perfect present for a friend/relative/etc.
– to repeat the task with a different product: anything from mobile phones to English course books.
– to browse other websites: exploit your students’ interests and consider any shopping websites or portals offering comparisons of different products.
– to make a decision about some service: a mobile phone package, a trip, an English course abroad, etc.
Important thing is that your students train to read texts filled with details and practise to make decisions based on factors that are relevant for them.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO NOW?