Gap-Fill

Preparation:

T or SS find a suitable text. Choose a text that is interesting for you and your students, and at a level that will challenge them, i.e. just above their current level. You might want to adapt the text, e.g. you could make it easier by changing harder words for synonyms and deleting harder sentences. The text could be:

  • from a real source of English, e.g. a newspaper, book, leaflet
  • one that a group has created, e.g. in a Mode 1 class
  • one that an individual SS has written
  • one that T has written

T chooses 10-15 keywords from the text – this is the target vocabulary.

T prepares a version of the text with numbered gaps where these words should be, e.g. 1. _______________

Method:

1. T drills the target keywords with the whole class. The class could discuss:

  • meaning, e.g. translate the words
  • no. of syllables
  • stressed syllable
  • stressed vowel sound
  • spelling patterns, e.g. any phonetic words or unusual spellings

2. T gives out a copy of the text with gaps to each SS. SS work in pairs or small groups and write the correct vocabulary word or phrase in each gap. T monitors, checks, and corrects.

3. Group feedback: T elicits answers from different SS as they read the text out loud. Or, T could quickly elicit the missing word or phrase for each gap.

4. If the text uses higher-level vocabulary T could ask SS to think of a lower-level word for each gap. This would help them to remember that in English there are various ways to say the same thing and SS should try to use higher-level vocabulary in their written work where possible. Or, SS could swap each of the words or phrases for a straightforward synonym, or the closest word possible.

Tips:

  • This is another way to introduce the text, while activating the new target vocabulary that SS have just encountered.
  • Variation #1: T gives out the gap-fill handouts first, before the vocabulary stage, and asks SS to write the most likely word they can think of in each gap. Group feedback – T elicits possible answers for each gap from different SS.
  • Variation #2: T finds the text, chooses the keywords (target vocabulary), replaces them in the text for easy words that mean the same thing, underlines them, gives out the text for SS who read (and possibly) translate it, then introduces the keywords on the board, as in Stage 1 (above). SS have to replace the easy synonyms with the higher-level keywords. It makes the same point that, often, SS could replace the easy words that they have chosen for their own writing with more ambitious, higher-level vocabulary – if they took the time to do it.

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