Noticing the news

Do you occasionally use news articles with your English language students?

sharinganewspaper by pingu1963

Do your prefer using newspapers or do you like searching for articles on-line?

I used to use the articles from the Guardian Weekly (about once a month there's a lesson or two enclosed) however, these days I tend to prefer the stuff that's on-line.

The BBC's Learning English site has lessons bundled together with vocabulary activities. Often the topics they've chosen aren't that interesting or, surprisingly, not that topical either!

There are also a couple of sites which utilize news stories to springboard more in-depth discussions and active conversations.

I recommend:
  • Languages Out There - materials which go way beyond just reading and looking at vocabulary. Challenging speaking activities - much different from the norm.
*if you'd like to recommend a site related to this theme, don't hesitate to add it below.
reading comics by ollie carfordHowever if you've checked through these and unfortunately haven't found what you're looking for or you're simply in the mood for putting together your own news lesson, then here's a quick techie-sort-of-tip for you below.

PREP (10-15mins):

  • Go to Google, look at the top bar and click NEWS.
Make sure your computer is set for (in English).
  • Look at the left-hand side of the screen where it reads Top Stories >World >US >Business >Entertainment etc.
  • Click on one or all of these and choose one article for each student you have. Choose stories you know are currently in the popular papers of their countries, if possible, or articles related to their professional fields. Print.

reading paperPRE-DISCUSSION
  • Hand out a news story to each member of your class.
  • Ask them to scan the article for content and also to highlight INTERESTING words and phrases. Make sure they understand that
  • they don't have to understand every word, they should focus on the story.
  • Stop them after a reasonable amount of time has passed.

  • Break your students up into small groups and get them to share each others' stories.
  • Encourage them to use the words and phrases they highlighted when paraphrasing.


  • Ask students to transfer the highlighted words and phrases that are useful to their lives/professions or interests into their notebooks.
  • Ask them to write new sentences using these.

Also read my blog posting on using
CNN student news

reading mangaUseful links related to this posting:


NewYorkTimes -LearningNetwork

Simple English News

Voice of America (listening)

A real-techie-TwIT-tip
Manga (good for lower levels, not really for business classes, not really news but you may find a cartoon or two that'll fit).

Useful book
on using newspapers and articles in the classroom

via Amazon, links

If you've got any other top tips, please do feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.


1 Response to “Noticing the news”

  • Eric says:
    January 17, 2009

    Thank you for creating and sharing another excellent lesson!

    The plane's safe landing on the river touched millions around the world, but I suspect that New Yorkers and ex-New Yorkers were especially touched. Partly because they understood just how unlikely - even miraculous, this happy ending is given the Manhattan skyline. Another factor, however, might be the sense of dread about another 9/11 and feeling that so many situations have turned out worse than they first appeared. Expect the worst is a common, cynical New York attitude.

    So this happy ending, just outside Manhattan, created exceptional waves of relief and optimism. Naturally, many observers and passengers credit the pilot's training and skill. His exceptional ability - under extreme stress - also demonstrates Americans can still do amazing feats.

    Who doubts this? Well, many Americans - after eight years of apparent incompetence and corruption in the White House - many Americans do. This safe landing has generated an exceptional number of conversations, renewing a sense of possibility and hope even in very difficult times. Americans are grateful for this wonderful sight.
    Enough said.

    As for your lesson, focusing on transitions is an excellent idea. Far too many English language learners speak and write in a choppy, awkward style because they often overlook the importance of establishing clear connections between sentences and within paragraphs. Listeners and readers need signals to effectively follow a story.

    Again, good job!


Visitors and Regular Readers


FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Communities of Practice

Directories, catalogs and Back Links

Adult Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

The EFL ESL Blog List - ESL/EFL/TEFL Teaching Jobs and Teacher Resumes

International Blogging Directory

Recent Posts

Simply Conversations

Pedagogically sound materials designed to get your students actively talking:

Free Samples
Conversation Control

General English
Business English

Learn more on why these work