WebQuests are a fun way for learners to develop their reading skills (skimming, scanning, reading for gist and detail) and become more digitally literate. With the explosion of mobile technology, learners are already doing a large percentage of their reading online, whether in their mother tongue or English. Their classroom reading should reflect this.
A WebQuest (a reading exercise based around a single or multiple websites) is one way to bring online reading into our classes. However, finding the right website for students to read is not easy. They must be age-appropriate, valid and, above all else, engaging. In this blog post I will provide links to some websites that I have used successfully in the past and others I would like to use in the future.
But before we turn to the websites, let’s look at the procedure for creating a WebQuest.
- The teacher looks through the chosen website, making sure it is age-appropriate, level-appropriate and suits the aims of their lesson.
- The teacher writes comprehension questions (graded to their learners’ level – remember:grade the task; not the text) and importantly keeps a note of the answers. These questions could be simple comprehension questions (multiple-choice, gap fill, cloze, true or false) or they could be more open-ended, encouraging reflection and digital literacy. For example, they could ask students to give their opinion on the layout of the website or to evaluate the validity and reliability of the information in the site.
- In class, students carry out the WebQuest on their own or in pairs to encourage communication and pool resources.
Below are 20 websites that I believe offer learners a fun, engaging and safe way to develop reading skills and digital literacy.
Animals and the environment
- http://blog.explore.org/ and http://explore.org/live-cams/player/african-animal-lookout-camera
Travel and tourism
If anyone has any other recommendations for good sites for WebQuests, I would love to hear them.
Until next time,
The Text Chat Teacher