more ESL exercises

M Shaik - ESL

Hello everyone,

My name is Meher Shaik, and I have been teaching ESL for 15 years. I teach advanced ESL, academic preparation, IELTS preparation (reading and listening), and TOEFL preparation.

Like most ESL teachers, I often advise my students to read widely in order to improve their reading comprehension skills, vocabulary, and grammar. However, I understand that this advice is very general and does not make students rush out and start reading voraciously.

One idea that I have been thinking about is to choose authentic reading material and make interactive reading and listening comprehension exercises. "Authentic material" here means something that was written for anyone and not specially for ESL readers. When I say interactive, I mean students would do an exercise and get some feedback, which is built into the exercise. Being a fairly serious reader of different genres, I often find articles which are suitable for building such exercises. What had held me back was that I simply did not know how to build an interactive exercise.


Enter Hot Potatoes!

A team of software experts at University of Victoria developed a software called Hot Potatoes and have generously made it available to the world. Hot Potatoes is now being used by people all over the world to build interactive exercises.

My problem was solved ... sort of. Being fairly technoplegic, I was afraid that I could not possibly learn how to use the software. This is where my spouse, Tim Dickinson, helped me. The proverbial learning curve was pretty much vertical, but I was able to put together a few grammar exercises and have so far (May 2016) built two units. I plan to develop more units.

The next step was to load the units onto a website. Again, thanks to Tim, I was able to do this. That, in a nutshell, is the history of this website.


Who can use the material in this website?

Anyone who wants to read, of course.

The material is not suitable for classroom use, but teachers can assign exercises as homework or as extra practice. Students can read the units of their choice and do some comprehension exercises.

Some exercises involve writing. If you do these exercises, please have a teacher read your writing and give you feedback.

My advice remains the same: read widely and listen to a range of materials. However, I am happy to provide a more focused reading of authentic material. You can use the exercises to assess yourself and get a tiny bit of feedback.

Please check this website periodically because I plan to add exercises and units.




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