Speed Sharing: ESL Game For Reading Comprehension

September 1, 2013

“Speed sharing” is a game I came up with inspired by speed dating. It is by far my student’s favorite game, and I use it in class at least once a week, usually more. It engages students and it is fun. Because we are constantly switching partners, students are convivial, laughing, and always on their toes. It really helps wake the class up, especially if you are teaching an evening ESL class and your students are falling asleep.

I use speed sharing for a variety of activities. It really gets students comfortable and more adept with speaking and listening. It also is great for comprehension checks. Here is how I generally use it in class for reading comprehension with SSR (Silent Sustained Reading).

After students have read their books for at least 20 minutes, I will have them answer 4-5 SSR questions in their reading journal, such as:

What is the story about?
Who are the main characters?
What words did you have trouble understanding?
What percentage of the story did you understand?
Is this an easy book to read?
Do you enjoy reading this story? Why/why not?

“Speed sharing” is much like speed dating. Students get 2-4 minutes with each other asking and sharing the journal writing. I always model with one of the students when introducing this game at the beginning of the year.

The teacher is the time keeper and will yell out “change” at the end of each 2-4 minute speed share. Sometimes there is really great conversations going on, and you may decide to keep the students in their places talking a little bit longer… I always sit at one end for half of the share, and then I sit at the other end for the other half of the speed share. This way, I’m able to listen to each student speaking and assess their comprehension.

I cannot tell you how much this game has helped with my student’s confidence. I use it in many different contexts throughout the year.