Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Jigsaw reading of newspapers

What is "jigsaw reading" really? It seems to be more of a general principle that can be applied to the teaching of reading, than merely jumbling and reordering texts (the definition given by this crib sheet). I looked in vain for a general definition. Let me hazard some possible definitions: 1) the verbal sharing of newspaper texts, 2) information gap speaking activities where each partner has a related piece of news that they have to paraphrase and share with the other partner. They have to ask the other student questions because: "any one student only has only a portion of the information needed to complete a task."

The general principle of jigsaw reading could make reading long newspaper articles manageable by cutting them into pieces assigned to individual students or groups of students.

A short British Council article suggests a pair of students explain articles on related theme to each other or two halves of one article.

The longer detailed article at Iteslj linked to above really takes a lot of concentration and acting out to understand but really helps you understand how to use this kind of activity with a class.

Here's a good example of the jigsaw principle used in a broad sort of way with with L1 students, each L1 speaker explaining an issue to the other students after they watch a film about animal rights.

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