This is a simple technique that can be used to introduce a topic: Find a book on Amazon that deals with the topic in question. Cover up the title on the book image with a blob (Use Microsoft Paintbrush, for example). Show it to students and ask them to guess what the title is by reading a synopsis of the book. To demonstrate the activity, I have chosen a book on health.
- Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
- Learner type: Mature teens; Adults
- Time: 15 minutes
- Activity: Collocations
- Topic: Health
- Language: Collocations
Lesson plan outline
For this activity, you will need two book cover images – one with the title covered and the other with the title in view. Download the above images and decide how you are going to display them (mobile device, tablet computer, laptop, projector, paper hard copies, etc.)
- Tell students that you have a puzzle for them. Show them the first image and ask them to guess what the missing title word is. Note that you might want to put students into pairs or small groups for this and ask them to write down all possible answers rather than shouting them out.
- Let students compare answers. Whether or not someone has guessed it correctly, point out (or dictate) the following:
- The title is a play on words. It has two meanings.
- The first meaning is: Issues and topics related to health
- The second meaning is: Health is important
- As far as book titles go, this one is a bit of a cliché. The same formula has been used for the titles of books on football, money, family, etc.
Perhaps the title could be described as a Part of Speech pun – the word ‘matters‘ can be comprehended as either a verb in the third person singular form or as a plural noun.
- Tell students that you are going to let them read a synopsis of the book which is taken from Amazon.com. Tell them that the book title appears twice. Give out copies of the synopsis which is included in the PDF lesson plan. Ask students if they can work out the missing word.
- If students still can’t work out the full title, play hangman with the missing word.
- Show students the second image – the one with the title uncovered.
Health _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is an innovative new book about lifestyle, disease risks, diseases and treatments covering a vast range of subjects from period pains to heart attacks; spots to skin cancer; itchy bums to sore heads; and big ears to big bellies. In this book, all is revealed. No subject is regarded as too trivial or too tragic. Health _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and as long as you’ve got yours, nothing else does.
This format can be used to introduce virtually any topic in the classroom:
- Use Amazon.com to find a book or DVD on the topic in question
- Download the image
- Use Microsoft Paintbrush (or a similar application) to cover up the title
- Give out copies of the synopsis of the book, film, etc. taken from Amazon.com
- Ask students to read the synopsis and guess the title.
Don’t feel that you have to limit yourself to the actual synopsis on Amazon.com. You can change it as much as you like to incorporate juicy target language that you want to introduce – health and body collocations, for example. Here is an example of one I made earlier: