Bruce Quealy

Bruce Quealy

Last week I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation on reading skills as part of an EALD teachers’ professional development afternoon, in part arguing that improving the reading speeds of learners is perhaps the most critical skill development for improved reading and for building reading habits.


For those of you who participated, I would love to hear of your responses to the presentation, and in particular whether you are going to work on improving the reading speeds of your students.


For other readers of this post, it would be very good to hear from you on this topic.


As promised, I have listed some papers and resources on this issue.



1. Why Teachers Should Use Timed Reading in ESL Classes (Jeremy Browning)

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 6, June 2003

2. Does extensive reading promote reading speed? (Mu He)

The Reading Matrix © 2014 Volume 14, Number 1, April 2014

3. L2 Proficiency and L2 Reading: Consolidating the Linguistic Threshold Hypothesis

Yanping Cui, University of Victoria

4. Reading out loud (The British Council - James Houltby, Teacher, British Council, Portugal)


5. Using Choral Reading to Promote Language Learning for ESL Students

Joyce K. McCauley and Daniel S. McCauley

The Reading Teacher

Vol. 45, No. 7 (Mar., 1992), pp. 526-533


6. Practical Faster Reading (Mossberg and Mossberg)

This is an old text, but it is a great starting point for understanding ideas on faster reading skills. It is available in PDF form on the internet.

7. Speed Reading Activity for a Whole Class (By Jana Moore & Dan Ferreira)



These resources are just some of many. Hopefully, they are a starting point for teachers interested in developing the reading skills of their learners.


Please add comments!







Wednesday, 14 December 2016 20:54

Solitude in a crowded staffroom

Elsewhere on this blog Antony has penned some notes on solitude. That reflection arose through comments made at the book launch for Tom O’Donoghue, where teacher professional development was a consistent theme. Solitude is a wonderful opportunity to reflect and to improve, but even when time is available, that reflection can get pretty foggy and it may be hard to cut through to something meaningful.


But whatever its merits, solitude is about as elusive as quicksilver for the average ESL teacher amongst a sometimes roisterous teaching and admin schedule and the ever-crowded staffroom.


Professional development for most must be found elsewhere, and that somewhere should start with mentoring, PDs by experienced teachers, and, most of all, through teacher-teacher observations.


As a CELTA trainer, one of the main benefits to me from doing that work is the reflection that I am able to make on my own teaching through the observation and analysis of others. This is a luxury that most teachers do not have; the obvious solution is to build into the teaching program the opportunity to observe one’s peers.


PDs and workshops have their place and are valuable (this is not an either/or argument), but there is no substitute for seeing and doing.


Such observations do not have to be of experienced teachers only, and in fact experienced teachers would also benefit from watching new teachers, who bring thinking unencumbered by fatigue (it’s December, and I’m tired), bad habits,  fossilised teaching creeping in here and there…


A great thing about CELTA training is that I get inspired by the trainees, even through their mistakes when striving to push their boundaries, to go off and try some new idea or approach.


In sum, then, I think that observing others’ practice is the greatest resource we have for professional development, yet it is the least utilised. It may also be one of the best opportunities for productive solitude that many teachers will have.