Activities for using magazines in the classroom
Submitted by Anonymous on 2 December, 2011 - 08:58
Magazines are a
rich source of authentic materials and can be very motivating and
inspire a wide range of activities. You can bring whole magazines to
class to stimulate interest in British culture, to introduce the topic
of media and language or just to help students get to grips with
handling a whole publication in English. If possible, it's good to use
copies of teen magazines or language magazines. Her are some ideas and
tips to help you get the best from them.
- The cover
Use the cover image to brainstorm words associated with the picture (and probable topics to be found in the magazine).
Look at the headlines on the cover to predict the main topics featured
inside. Ask: Which would you read first? For higher levels: What types
of words are used to make you want to read?
the best cover from a selection of 4 magazines. Hold a class vote. Which
cover do you like best? Why? For higher levels: What makes a good
- Using a whole magazine
Set a time limit for these tasks to encourage students to skim through the publications.
Ask students in pairs to skim through their magazine and list the types
of topics covered. Encourage use of headlines and pictures to guess
topic types. Compare their topic list with the contents page.
Write the key headlines from all main feature articles on the board and
dictate a list of topics or themes. Ask students to match the topics to
the headlines on the board. Then check using the magazine.
- Provide quiz questions set to a time limit:
- Where can you read about dogs?
Where can you find out about British schools?
Where can you read about music?
For intermediate students or above, make questions and then get pairs
or groups to make their own questions using your examples:
- Which British pop singer is interviewed this week?
What’s the most popular sport in schools?
Which type of food is described in the eating section?
Can you find a new type of clothing in the magazine?
Can you find a flag on page 10?
- Choose what you like
Ask students to skim through and quickly select the article/page which
appeals to them most. They can tell their group or class why. This helps
you see what types of topic they are interested in for future planning
of conversation topics.
- Higher levels can choose a
short feature and read in their group. Each group then makes an oral
summary of the article to report back to the rest of the class.
The difficulty depends on the class level. Use graded language
magazines to do this with lower levels and authentic magazines for
intermediate level and up.
- Give them a list of
headlines from the magazine and a sentence/sub headings or short text
from each article. Can they match headlines to the extracts from
articles? Do this in pairs.
- Select one article or
give higher level students the choice. Students imagine they are the
journalist who wrote the article. Pairs think of 4 or 5 main questions
that the journalist asked to get his information. (works well with pop
star interviews or descriptions of events or a news story of something
Pool all the questions or put 2 pairs
in a group of 4 to pool their questions. Then ask student to role play
the conversation between the journalist and his interviewee, using their
invented questions and what they have learned from the article. Use
short articles for this activity.
- Magazine pictures
Even lower levels can do tasks describing pictures and finding pictures
in a magazine even if they are not yet proficient enough to read a real
- Students bring in a copy of
their favourite magazine and describe it to the rest of the class next
lesson, saying why they like it.