Read what a teacher says about this activity:

‘Jigsaw reading is a great way to introduce speaking into a reading lesson. Each learner reads part of the text and then tells another about it. At the end they all have a complete text, just like a jigsaw puzzle.’ 

Stage 1: Prepare 

Choose a text that can be divided into two parts. For example:  

  • two paragraphs from a coursebook  
  • a newspaper article 
  • a story from a book 
  • a text you have written yourself. 

Write the two texts on either side of the board. Alternatively, you could make copies, or write on large paper/card. If you are using a coursebook, the learners can read from their books. 

Label one text A and the other B. 

Prepare a few comprehension questions for each part of the story. 

Stage 2: Introduce 

Say: ‘In this activity you will read part of a story. Your partner will read the other part. You will then share what you have read with each other. Think carefully about the key ideas in your part of the story.’ 

Stage 3: Model  

Write these strategies for finding key ideas on the board: 

1. Read the whole text. 

2. Ask yourself questions: 

  • Who is it about? 
  • What are they doing? 
  • Why are they doing it? 
  • Where is it happening? 
  • When is it happening? 

3. Underline the words that tell you the answers. 

To demonstrate this, write a short text on the board. Work with the learners to use these strategies to find the key words or ideas in the text. 

Say: ‘Let’s read the text together to get the main idea. Now let’s ask ourselves some questions. Who is the story about? Find the words in the story.’  

Select a learner to come and underline the answer. 

Ask the rest of the questions and underline the key ideas.  

Stage 4: Work in pairs 

Ask learners to find a partner. 

Say: ‘First you are going to work on your own. Find the key ideas.’ 

One learner reads text A and the other reads text B. Give them time to read their text and underline the key ideas. Circulate, monitor and help. 

Say: ‘Now work with your partner. Tell them about your part of the text and listen to them tell you about their part. Answer the questions together.’ 

Stage 5: Check and give feedback 

After the learners have shared their texts, they can read the other text. 

Ask: ‘Did you enjoy sharing the reading? Why/why not?’ 

Once learners have done this several times, you can divide the text into more than two parts. Each section can cover a different concept. 

Vary the lesson by giving learner B questions to ask learner A about their text and vice versa.


Circulate: Moving around the classroom to check what learners are doing, and if they need any help. 

Comprehension questions: Questions after a reading/listening exercise which show what the learners have understood about the text. 

Demonstrate: To show and explain how learners should do a task.  

Key ideas: The main/central ideas which are crucial for good understanding. 

Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task. 

Strategies: Ways of doing something.