Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > using native language and reading text aloud in the classroom    

using native language and reading text aloud in the classroom


using native language and reading text aloud in the classroom
Hi colleagues!
I īd like to ask you about two pedagogical issues.
The first is the use of native language (Arabic in my case) in teaching English as a second language. Our inspectors say that we shouldn īt use our native language to explain vocab or grammar no matter how difficult  it might be. They say use pictures, gestures but never speak in Arabic! Is it the same in your countries? I can īt see their rationale behind this? Why can īt we use our native language? It would be very helpful.
The second is in reading comprehension. After giving few minutes for students to read the text silently and answer the questions, our inspectors say never ask students to read the text aloud when you start correcting the questions. they say, just move directly to the questions because they are supposed to have read it silently. I also can īt understand why? some students are eager to read the text aloud. It encourages them to participate and it is also  an opportunity to correct some pronunciation mistakes. what do you think?
Thanks a lot  for sharing your opinions and experience.

2 Feb 2016      


for the first part, I do use their native language to explain grammar points. How do you want to explain kids about the way to form a sentence if they don īt understand the voc you īre using? The grammar parts of the lesson is always in French so they can understand. The rest of the time, I speak to them in English (slowly, they īre beginners), and ask whether they understood or not. I do gestures and then a student can explain to the class what he understood, in French. 

As for the second, I don īt use texts. It might change, but for now, I don īt know. Some kids might be bored while someone else reads the text aloud, but you can correct the pronounciation. I really don īt know. It also depends of the students you have I guess.

2 Feb 2016     

United States

I use the native language of my students if I have the chance. I speak some Russian and that helps me a lot with my Russian and Ukrainian students. The newest research shows that the skills developed through one language transfer to the new targeted language - on this one can see the works of Cummins  http://esl.fis.edu/teachers/support/cummin.htm  . The idea that languages should be separated from each other is considered older and not so effective in the US - at least this is what I learned in university. In fact, if the students have well developed first language, this helps them a lot when learning a new one - and I had the chance to really see that when I worked with an adult group of KaRen students who weren īt literate in their native language.
There was a time, probably up to some 20 year ago, when teachers in US were forbidding their students to use their native languages in school, so they learn English faster - now all this is rejected, and using of the native languages is considered one of the most effective language teaching strategies. My only regret is that I can īt speak more languages - I have such a hard time with my newcomers from Afghanistan....we can communicate only through gestures and pictures, and this is not very effective way of teaching, especially when you are trying to teach second and third graders.

2 Feb 2016     

nasreddine Sarsar

Hi there,

Well, as for using the native tongue in your classroom, I think that there īs no harm in that. However, you should not use it that often, for your students need to be exposed to English not to their mother tongue. If you think that explaining a task is easier to do in your students ī mother tongue, go for it. If you wanna explain a concept, by way of example, do it in their mother tongue. The students ī first language is a powerful tool that you can use in the language classroom. It saves time and helps students assimilate some language items. There īs nothing like do and don īt do. Each method has its cons and pros, and you īre the best one to judge the situation. Some supervisors ask you to do things, but unfortunately they cannot give you a sound reason.

As for the reading issue, students should read silently just because in real life we read silently. But for the sake of pronunciation, you can ask your students to read aloud after they īre done with the reading questions. I ask students to do īpop corn ī reading. One student would read one sentence only, and then he assigns one of his peers to read the second sentence. Such a reading technique would keep all the students on alert because nobody knows who īs gonna be called on to read the next sentence. It īs a lot of fun too.  

2 Feb 2016     

Antigua and Barbuda

Here in my country it is exactly the same..it is said using the l1 "mother tongue is quicker ..easier ..but not butter.It is true because our learners need to think in English before using it.for the loud reading it a complex process for the learners since they can īt fous on the structure the meaning and the pronunciation at the same time..they need to comprehend only at this stage.

3 Feb 2016     

United Kingdom

Hi Nizarsouth.
This kind of edict from on high makes my blood boil! As others have pointed out, this used to be the orthodoxy, but it never worked! It bamboozles kids who are not gifted linguists, for a start! It is crass stupidity to ignore and even try to forbid a fantastic language learning tool: L1, mother tongue. It is reassuring for students and also highly efficient. I have to teach in English all the time, because my students come from all over the world. That is a sad necessity, not a blessing. Nevertheless, I have a few Italian students (I can speak Italian) so every now and then, I will explain something in Italian. It makes sense.
If all your students speak the same language and you know that language, use it! Obviously, you want to expose them to as much English as possible and you don īt want to get lazy... But to say English 100% -  it īs unreasonable. 
It īs true that students don īt necessarily understand a text as they read it aloud. So, first, (or second, for that matter), they should have the opportunity for silent reading. However, this should not exclude reading aloud. Students love it and it does provide the opportunity for getting the accent and the intonation - stopping at full stops etc.. correct. I was going to mention īpopcorn reading ī but Nasreddine got there first! It īs brilliant. I have never seen a class not respond to this method. Each reads a sentence then shouts īPopcorn! ī and chooses another student to continue.  A variation on it - once you know your class - allow them to choose how much they read before handing over. Have a few rules - they must read at least three words and at most a short paragraph.
I hope you are in a position to explain some of these points to your inspectors.  

3 Feb 2016     

United Kingdom

I hardly ever use the native language of my students to teach. As I īm not bilingual in Spanish, it would be a mistake anyway. I find it works much better to stick to English and just build on what they know. If, once in a while, I throw in the odd translation for a basic noun, it īs not the end of the world. However, some things just don īt translate and it īs better to explain only in the target language. I have had students that sit and write down everything and then translate them but nothing makes sense to them once they īve done it. Those students tend not to do so well. My advice is tell your students that English is a game and should be treated as such. Most grammar can be explained pretty easily in English and then pratctised with activities or games. It īs more effective and more fun.

3 Feb 2016     


I totally agree with spinney. Try to use their language as little as possible. You are an asset to them. Most of the input of the second language is received from you in class. Furthermore,  there are zillions of ways to explain grammar or vocabulary although it is true that it  requires a bigger effort on your behalf. But  they get used to hear you and familirized with most common sounds. Although hard in the beginning I say "stick to English" you will see a great difference at the end.
As for the reading, when they read to themselves they understand better what is going on, but I think the best way is always to combine things that work for you and your students.

3 Feb 2016     


It is the same in Algeria. Not using the native language because our students will have a habit to translation, they will ask you to translate each word each time even the easy one,then they will never speak a word in English. So, our inspectors tell us to use native language when we have difficulty to explain the word or  when we need time to finish the lesson and so here you can use the native language. For reading, it is forbidden to read loudly because the lesson reading, we teach just reading, you have to focus on reading comprehension not teaching pronunciation because when you ask a student to read you have to correct its pronunciation each time. Then it will be a lesson of pronunciation

3 Feb 2016     

United Kingdom

innessoul, your argument is a bit slippery slope. You can train your students not to be asking for translations all the time. In England, we encourage students with the same language to help each other by translating and explaining in mother tongue.A couple of years ago, my colleague put a poster up in her classroom saying īIn here, we speak only English ī. I īll just say that she took it down pretty sharpish after an Ofsted inspection!
As for reading aloud, I wouldn īt be correcting pronunciation while the reader is reading. I may pick up one or 2 important errors and have a look at them later. I do get that point about reading aloud versus comprehension, but my point about reading aloud either in groups or as a whole class, is that kids enjoy it and the more reading practice, the better. 
Interesting discussion. I would just say that it īs a pity there has to be an order about it and that individual teachers have no say, they just have to do as they are told.
I guess I īm a member of the awkward squad. 

3 Feb 2016     


Time effectiveness! Consider that - if something takes a gazillion of time to expain in English and can easily be translated - I īd go for the latter and spend my time for other useful things - YES in English :-)

3 Feb 2016     

1    2    Next >