Sarah McGuire Sarah McGuire

News and Weather: Reading and Listening
Intermediate level


In this lesson, students practice developing the receptive skills of reading and listening. The lesson begins with a lead in that creates interest and activates background knowledge regarding the topic of news and reporting. Difficult vocabulary is then pre-taught to assist in task completion. A gist task is then set that helps students to get an overall understanding of the text and to practice listening for gist, as well as discuss their understanding and interpretation of the reading and listening in pairs. Finally, students do a detailed task in which they answer T or F questions about specific information in the text and personalize ideas and opinions in less-controlled discussion.


Main Aims

  • To practice reading for specific and detailed comprehension of a story about The Watergate Scandal.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide listening for detailed comprehension practice on the topic of The Watergate Scandal.


Lead In and Engage • Introduce the topic and context of scandals and reporters and engage and activate students' schemata.

Put up the pictures of various celebrities/political figures on the whiteboard. Ask students: What do we call it when famous people do something bad or dishonest? Write this definition on the whiteboard. Elicit the answer from students: SCANDAL. Focus on use and pronunciation by writing a model sentence (elicit if possible) on the whiteboard and drilling pronunciation/conducting stress. Check comprehension using CCQs: Is it a scandal if someone famous does something wrong or bad? (Yes) Is it a scandal if the person does something honest? (No) Are celebrities often involved in scandals? (Yes) Gesture to the pictures and tell students that, in pairs, they will discuss how they think each person is related to or part of a scandal, as has been reported by the news, and how they heard about it. ICQs: Will you work in pairs? (Yes) Will you discuss the scandals the people have been involved in? (Yes) Will you discuss when you heard the news, or how you heard about it? (How)

Reading: Background Text • Introduce students to the background of the book "All the President's Men," from which they will be reading and analyzing an excerpt.

Show students the handout. Tell them it contains information about the book "All the President's Men" by Woodward and Bernstein, two reporters. Show them photographs of the two reporters. Give students the handout and instruct them that they have five minutes to read it. Advise students to skim the text to get the general idea. ICQs: How long do you have to read? (Five minutes). Post-reading, ask students if they know the story. Show students "The Watergate Scandal" handout; tell them to look at the pictures.

Pre-Teach Vocabulary • To help students understand the meaning of lexical items required to complete the reading/listening task.

Show students the cut out sentences with the bolded word. Tell students that in groups of 3, they will read the sentence and try to guess the meaning of the word from the meaning of the text around it. Show students the cut out definitions in the other hand. Instruct them that they will match the word in the sentence to its definition. Model this activity on the whiteboard. Example: When speaking, she EMPHASIZED the importance of eating healthy to avoid getting cancer. Clarify the two statements: The woman is speaking. It's important to eat healthy to avoid getting cancer. Put these statements together: emphasized means she pointed out, confirmed, made a big deal of. ICQs: Will you read the sentence and try to guess what the word means by the words around it? (Yes) Will you try to match the whole sentence with a definition? (No, just the word) Will you work in pairs or small groups? (Small groups) Monitor. Provide feedback in the form of an answer key.

Read and Listen for Gist • Students read and listen to the extract from Chapter 1 to get a general sense of the story.

Show students The Watergate Scandal: Chapter One handout. Tell them that they will listen to the teacher read the story and follow along using the handout. Pass the handout to students. Post-reading, write the vocabulary words on the board (arrest, burglary, Democratic party, editor, headquarters). Tell the students that, in pairs, they will take turns telling a partner what the story is about using the vocabulary words. Model this activity with a stronger student. ICQs: Are you going to give your opinion about this story? (No) Are you going to tell your partner what the story is about? (Yes) Will you use the new vocabulary words? (Yes) Does only one partner practice telling the story, or do both partners take turns? (Both) Monitor. Provide feedback/error correction if necessary.

Reading for Specific Information: True or False? • Students read the text again more intensively to answer the True/False questions.

Show students the handout. Instruct students, working alone, that they will use the text to determine if the answers are True or False. Write a model question on the whiteboard: Chapter one takes place on June 17, 1972. True or False? True. ICQs: Will you work with a partner? (No) Will you answer true or false? (Yes) Give students a timeline of five minutes to complete the questions. Monitor. Students can peer-check answers in pairs post-activity, then teacher will provide answer key.

Freer Practice Follow Task: Writing • Students are given the opportunity to respond to and personalize the text through a written task.

Write the question down on the whiteboard: Do you know any other stories or films in English or Turkish about reporters? What are they? Instruct students that they will work in pairs to discuss their ideas about this question. They will write down their answer. Provide students with whitepaper. Post-writing, have students attach their writing to various areas around the walls. In pairs, students should read each other's answers, moving from paper to paper until finished. Then, the class will vote on their favorite/most interesting answer. ICQs: Will you work in pairs? (Yes) Will you discuss the Watergate scandal, or will you discuss other stories and films about reporters that you know? (Other stories) Will you only discuss your answers? (No) NOTE: Students may struggle to identify films/stories about reporters. Allow students to discuss news items, news companies, news methods (ie. the internet) in general when identifying stories/films in Turkey or internationally. Will you write down your answers? (Yes) Monitor.

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