Toby Witham Toby Witham

Lying about your age - Reading & Writing
Intermediate, B1 level


This lesson will focus on the main skill of reading. Students will skim for gist and scan for detail using a sample text about a woman who lied about her age to her younger boyfriend because she was ashamed. The productive skill of writing will be practised at the end of the lesson with a gallery reading task to finish off.


Abc Guess the title (Task 1 on handout)
Abc Blocking vocabulary definitions
Abc (Task 2 on the handout) - Scanning for detail: (True / False)
Abc Blocking vocabulary whiteboard words
Abc Write a script
Abc Photo of the woman
Abc Sample Text
Abc Example titles (stuck to whiteboard)

Main Aims

  • To provide gist and scan reading practice using a text about lying to cover your age

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide product writing practice of a story about a time you lied and how you felt about it.


Warmer/Lead-in (3-4 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Greet / welcome the students into the classroom. Ask how they are, aim for smiling students who are making eye contact. "OK, let's begin" Project the photo of the woman onto the whiteboard. "Who's this?" "What do you think her name is?" "How old do you think she is?" "Why do you think that?" Ask both men and women "Is it easy guessing someone's age?"

Pre-Reading (5-8 minutes) • Pre-teaching the blocking vocabulary in the sample text. Prepare students for the text and make it accessible.

Group work with whiteboard Match the words (on the whiteboard) with the definitions (one given to each group) Blocking vocabulary is: (traumatic), (convince), (ageist), (astonished), (harshly) Stick the words on the whiteboard Say: "OK, I want you to match the words with their definitions. Work in groups." Do a demonstration, sticking a definition under one of the words. (incorrectly) just to show them the process. Un-stick the definition. Repeat the instruction, "match the words with their definitions. Work in groups" Hand out definitions. Students will start the task. Groups who finish early will be encouraged to visit other groups and help them. When all students are finished, review their work, ask "is everyone happy with this?" Error correction - Provide the correct definitions.

While-Reading #1 (10-12 minutes) • To provide students with less challenging skimming for gist reading tasks

Students will be asked to guess the title of the text out of the available options stuck to the whiteboard. I will stick the titles on the whiteboard as I explain, using them to emphasise the instructions. They will be told they have three minutes to read the text and that they must read fast. They will be told NOT to use dictionaries or phones during the reading. They will be told to only start once I've said go! The sample text will be given out, facing down, they will be told not to turn it over until I say GO. "I want you to guess the title of this text. (Hold up the text on the coloured paper) What's its name?" Is it called (If I'd told him before) / (The problem with getting older) / (I'm a forty year old liar) / (Ageism turned me into a liar) : I will stick the selected titles on the whiteboard as I speak. Holding the sample text: "Please ignore the black marks, read past them. Read it all quickly!" Mime someone reading quickly while using my finger to show quick reading of the sample text. "When I say GO! You can turn the paper over and start reading. Do not start reading now, wait. No dictionaries, no phones. read alone. When I say GO, you can start reading." Give a sample text to every student face down. Gesture for them not to turn it over yet and to wait. Say "GO!" Students will turn the sample text over and start reading. Give out the task sheet while they are reading. After three minutes... Direct their attention to the task sheet and get them to circle which name they think is correct. For feedback: "OK, raise your hands (gesture) if you think it's ______________, " (point to the WB) repeat for all options. Tell students they can have one minute to talk about it in their groups. After 1 minute, ask each group what they thought. Give the correct answer, (cross out the wrong answers on the whiteboard and circle the correct) "Because she was honest and then she turned into a liar."

While-Reading #2 (14-16 minutes) • To provide students with more challenging scanning for detail reading tasks

Task 2 on the task sheet, (True / False) "OK, work alone / individually and read it again, this time answer true or false to the questions in task 2." (Point to task 2 on the handout) "Work alone / individually, read it again and answer true / false - You have 5 minutes. Task 2 a, b, c, d, e & f" Students read the questions in task 2 and read the text again, answering true or false on the handout. Write a - f = on the WB Monitor the students as they do this to keep track of timing. When the first students start to complete the task, walk to them and check their answers with the answer key, get a student to write the answer to a / b/ c on the WB. Check to see if the answers are right and correct any wrong ones. (a = true) (b = false) etc.

Post-Reading (Writing) (10-15 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

Task 3 on a seperate handout - write the dialogue for when the woman tells the man the truth. "OK, now find a partner, I want you to work in pairs" - Students will work in pairs. "Imagine the conversation between the woman and the man when she tells him the truth. You are going to write what they say. You have five minutes to down your ideas. Work in pairs and work quickly." Students will write down their ideas in pairs. Monitor the students as they do this and make a mental note of who's producing good content. After five minutes tell students to stop writing and pin their conversations up on the walls as a gallery reading. Tell the students to walk around and read each other's work. (They'll probably do this anyway) If there's time, choose a couple of good examples and write them on the whiteboard, depending on time, either write them out word for word and error correct on the whiteboard by eliciting from students or write them out making corrections as you go, (to save time) When there is only one minute left, play the recording to reveal the story. (It's quite funny and by this time students will want to know what happened in the end)

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