One of my favorite reading activities is Jigsaw. It is a cooperative learning strategy that involves dividing a text into sections and assigning each section to a small group of students. Each student in the group becomes an “expert” on their assigned section, and then the group comes together to share their knowledge and put the story back together.
This strategy can be used to increase student engagement and comprehension of any given text, specially if they’re lengthly. Furthermore, it creates deep communication opportunities between students. Here are some ideas for implementing this wonderful strategy. You can mix and match to you liking, too.
Assign different sections of a text to each group, with each group responsible for reading and understanding their assigned section. You can also create questions for each section that they can discuss and answer as a group.
Have each group create a summary of their section, including key points and vocabulary, and present it to the other groups. Depending on the size of your classroom, you can have each group present their part to the whole class.
Assign roles for each group member, such as a facilitator, note-taker, or summarizer, to increase participation and accountability. If time is not a n issue, have each group have an inner team to create a visual representation of their section to share with the class.
Another thing I really like to do is to mix up the groups after each section so that students have the opportunity to work with different classmates and learn from different perspectives. This is really important if you tend to use reading activities throughout the semester.
Finally, have students reflect on the process and their learning afterwards in a diary that can be used as assessment for the activity and as a way to see what works with your students.
This kind of activity brings out the best of your students, as they can contribute to the group with the skills they’re good at, and learn about others. In my experience, no one jigsaw activity has been the same as the last one, so do not hesitate to try this in your second language classroom.