Chris Herriage Chris Herriage

Unit 7B: Reading for gist and content
Intermediate level


In this lesson, the students will practice two reading skills: reading for gist, and reading for details. The subject of the reading is the account of a 110 year old woman, who is celebrating her birthday. Students will discuss birthday customs from their home countries, and give opinions about the life of the elderly woman. This is followed by activities that incude reading for gist and reading for specific content. Students will work as individuals, in pairs, and in groups answering questions about the text .


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Main Aims

  • To practice critical reading skills such as reading for gist and for specific content as individuals, in pairs and in groups.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To engage the students in conversation about cultural birthday practices as well as conversation about the text in order to further develop their reading skills.


Introduction • To introduce myself and recall the students' names

Simply greet the students, restate my name and nationality. Afterwards, try to remember the names of the students and their home countries.

Starter • To discuss life expectancy as well as the students' elderly acquaintances

Teacher asks Ss from the WC about the average life span of someone from the Ss home country. Also ask who/how old is the oldest person you know.

Preparation to Read • To redirect the topic from the students' lives to the subject of the text.

Explain to Ss that they are going to read about this topic for gist and content. What does it mean to read for gist and to read for content? Pass out HO Unit 7B Happy Birthday page 70. Look at it but don't read it! Ask individual Ss from the WC questions 1.1 and 1.2 while writing their answers on the WB.

Reading for Gist • To allow the students to practice reading for gist by searching for the answers to the previous exercise

Show the Ss the text and explain that they will have one minute to skim the text and find the answers. How can this be achieved? Elicit ideas from students. Explain how to skim. Set a timer and begin. After reading, take answers from Ss and compare with those on the WB.

Reading for Content • To test the Ss recollection of chronological events from the test and to reread the text searching for specific information.

Divide the class into two groups. Pass out the strips of paper containing subject headings for the article. Explain that the Ss task is to place the strips in chronological order. After, have the Ss reread the text to find out if their memories were correct.

Reading for Content pt. 2 • To have the Ss gather enough detailed info from the reading to answer questions.

Pass out each group's respective questions (p128 and p131) and have the Ss work on them as a group. Later, have one person from group A ask a question to a person from group B, and visa versa.

Further Discussion • To finish the lesson in casual conversation about being 110 years old

Thank the class for a good lesson, and ask individuals if they would or wouldn't like to live to be 110 years old.

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