Four ways to use the new Doctor Who Readers in class

New Doctor Who Readers activity

New adventures in time and space for English learners from Pearson and the BBC.

Since 1963, TV viewers around the world have enjoyed the thrilling adventures of the Doctor, as he travels through time and space, often saving the day. His incredible journeys can now be enjoyed by English learners all around the world in three exciting new readers.

Robot of Sherwood (level 2), Mummy on the Orient Express (level 3) and Flatline (level 3) are based on the television scripts from episodes in Series 8 of the popular BBC series, Doctor Who.

Students join this unconventional hero and his companion, Clara Oswald, as they travel through the universe in the TARDIS, the Doctor’s time machine. By reading and listening to these stories, students will improve their English whilst enjoying adventures filled with alien worlds, extraordinary characters, and terrifying enemies.

Retold with carefully-graded language, each reader is illustrated with full-colour photography taken from the TV show and designed to aid comprehension and motivation.

To maximize the benefit for students, teachers can also choose to use the MP3 audio, eBook and the class activities and projects included in the comprehensive Teacher’s Resources, thereby consolidating the language and skills learned in the reader.New Doctor Who Readers

Making the most of the readers in class

Although your students will have hours of fun reading about the Doctor’s adventures and completing the ready-made exercises at the end of the chapters, here are four more dynamic activities you can do before, during and after reading the books in class.

Before reading

What happened next: Predict the future or the past

Materials required: Opening paragraph from your chosen Doctor Who reader.

This activity is a great way to get your students excited about what they’re going to read.

1. Set the scene by introducing the class to the story. You can do this by reading the introduction aloud (see example below), dictating it to the students, projecting it on the board or getting them to read it together.

Introduction Doctor Who Reader2. Review any difficult vocabulary and check they’ve understood by asking concept-check questions (e.g. What is the TARDIS? How does the Doctor travel through time? Where is he going? Why?).

3. Put students in small groups and ask them to discuss what they think might happen in the rest of the story.

4. Get them to write a short text (3–5 sentences) about what they talked about. Depending on the language you want to focus on, you could ask them to use the past tense, for example:

‘I think they worked together with Robin Hood and defeated his enemies.’

The future tense:

I think they will work together with Robin Hood and defeat his enemies.’

Or modals of speculation:

‘I think they might work together with Robin Hood to defeat his enemies.’

5. Have one member of each group read out their ideas and get them to vote as a class for their favourite.

Fun fact: did you know the TARDIS can travel backwards and forwards in time? This makes it ideal to practice different verb tenses.

While reading

Backs to the board: Review key vocabulary

Materials required: 1x word list, two chairs and a whiteboard.

This is a fun way to recycle vocabulary at any time during the course.

1. Divide students into two groups. Put Team A on one side of the room and Team B on the other.

2. Place two chairs in front of the board.

3. Pick one student from each group and ask them to sit on the chair with their backs to the board, facing their group.

4. Using a word list (like the one below, which you’ll find at the end of each chapter), choose one of the words and write it on the board.

5. Each group then has to describe the word on the board to their teammate who then has to guess what it is. The first one to guess the word correctly gets a point for their team.

6. The team with the most points wins.

Bonus tip: If the students find it difficult to remember the words, give them a few minutes before you begin to review the word lists.

Circle reading: Keep learners’ attention

Materials required: 1x Doctor Who reader per student

This is the perfect way to keep your students paying attention while reading as a group.

There are three main rules:

  • Students may read as much or as little as they’d like.
  • When the student before them stops reading, the next one must continue without hesitation.
  • If they pause for too long, or are unsure where they are, they must go back to the beginning of the paragraph and start again.

1. Get the class to open their readers at the correct page.

2. Explain the rules (see above).

3. Ask for a volunteer to start reading.

4. If they pause or get lost, ask them to start again.

5. Repeat until they finish the paragraph or section.

Word of warning: it may take a while for them to complete the activity successfully (at least at first). However, once they’re focused, you’ll find the students will be concentrating on reading and not daydreaming.

After reading

Consequences: Plan a trip in the TARDIS

Materials required: 1 x Who’s Who page and a piece of paper per student/pair/group

This is an entertaining way to practice language related to the reader and round-off your Doctor Who themed projects or lessons.

1. Tell the class that they will be going on an exciting trip through space and time, just as the Doctor and Clara do in the stories.

2. Hand out a piece of paper to each student, pair or group.

3. Explain to them that you will ask them a question which they’ll have to answer at the top of the page using full sentences. They then must fold the page over and pass it to the student on their right, making sure their answer cannot be seen.

4. Ask them these questions in the following order. Note: they should receive a new piece of paper each time.

  • What year is it? (It is the year…)
  • Where are you traveling to? (I am traveling to…)
  • And who with? (With…)
  • What is it like? (It is…)
  • How do you feel? (I am…)
  • How long will you stay there? (I will stay there for…)
  • What will you do there? (We will…)
  • What will you miss about home? (I will miss…)

Change the questions depending on the language you want the learners to practice and the level of the class. Direct them to the Who’s Who page (see below) if they need more ideas.

The Doctor

5. When they have finished they should open the piece of paper and read the funny story to the rest of the class.

Extension: Get your students to write out the stories in their notebooks, adding extra information where appropriate. Go around and monitor and do error correction as a class.

Are you looking for more ways to get your learners interested in reading? Here are three super hero ideas using the Marvel Readers and our top tips for motivating reluctant readers.

Visit the Pearson English Readers catalogue and discover readers to suit all tastes, ages and abilities.

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