Wednesday 13 February 2008

Prompting reading speeds

This is a really handy little tool which is doing the rounds at the moment. It's called CuePrompter and it's an online Teleprompter.

For those not in the know, a Teleprompter is a tool used by news readers, TV presenters etc to help them remember their lines. They read it from above the camera.

This one is very simple to use and you simply cut and paste your text into the field, choose screen size, text size and colours and click a button and you are off.

Once you have your text up on the screen you can then choose the speed that the text moves at and also do a few interesting things like having the text reverse or having the text as a mirror image!
How to use this with students
This could be really useful to push your students reading speed and gist reading. Many students find it very difficult not to focus on every word of a text and get stuck when words come up that they don't know. With a tool like this, you can literally force them to scan the text and keep moving.

To get the best from this in class you are going to need a data project or an interactive whiteboard (IWB).

Some possible tasks:
  • Paste in a news text and actually get your students to read it as it scrolls. You could repeat and gradually increase the speed.
  • Put students in pairs / groups to read out load the parts of plays or dialogues. With short dialogues you could get them to read through a few times and then play the mirror image and see if they can still remember and follow the dialogue.
  • Play the text through in it's mirrored inversion first and see how much Sts understand (make it a short text though and don't expect too much)
  • With short texts you could try to get students to read the text the write down what they have read. You'll need to re-show the text a number of times if you want them to get every word, or they could just summarise after a couple of times through.
  • Try playing your text through at high speed the first time and get students to try to guess what it's about and then gradually slow down the speed each time so they develop a better understanding.
  • To get students doing some TPR ( Total Physical Response), write a list of instructions and get the students to do them in the order they appear on the prompter. It might also be fun to gradually increase the speed of the text and see if the students can keep up!

If you decide to get students to read out loud from the text then I think it's handy to use texts that were designed to be read aloud such as plays, poems or the text from a news report. You could even get students to produce their own texts or texts for each other.

What I liked about this
  • It's free
  • It's really simple to use
  • You can create materials in seconds
  • It doesn't involve downloading anything or using loads of bandwidth
  • It gives the teacher control of the text
What I wasn't so sure about
  • It doesn't work so well in the Firefox browser, though it's fine in IE
  • It would be useful to be able to save and embed the texts into other pages
  • It gives the teacher control of the text
Hope you find this useful and if you have any other suggestions for tips or activities by all means add a comment below.




Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this 'cool tool', Nik. Your suggestions are great. I especially like the TPR idea.

eConnections said...

great tool!

right now i am experimenting with TV news ( Euronews, CNN and the like ) and the script of the news item which one can easily get at or

Berta said...

Thanks so much Nik for this and all the other posts in your so informative and educational blog. I have to tell you that I have applied some of the tools you have shared and I am really thankful not only for letting us know about them but also for the wonderful tutorials on how to use them, what you like or are not sure about them. You are definitely a colleague of a kind who does a wonderful job at sharing fantastic finds with all of us.

Thankfully, Berta
A quiet Webhead since 2005, lurker at many EVO sessions since then and at LwC too.

Nik Peachey said...

Thanks Berta,

Really nice of you to post that endorsement. The feedback really helps as I don't do much face to face teaching these days and often wonder if I have lost touch with the realities of the classroom. It's a real relief to know that the ideas do actually work and that people do use them. Like you I'm also a webhead, though I've yet to make it along to any of the EVO sessions. It's areal shame as they always sounds so interesting.

Thanks again.


chihuahua lady said...

Thanks a lot- I have been looking for something to assist students in developing skim reading skills as they prepare for university-
this will be great on the IWB!

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