Buzz Reading

buzz-readingI use this technique to practice reading. It may involve a lot of re-reading, great for extra repetitions, but the students enjoy its game aspect. I call it Buzz Reading, but other names include Bell Reading. All you need is a traditional classroom bell or find a buzz maker sound on youtube.
Here’s what you need:

  1. A copy of a text for each student.
  2. Number the paragraphs on the reading.
  3. Explain in the target language that each student has to read one sentence and then the student next to them must continue. If there is a pause between the two people, the teacher rings the bell and the second person would have to start reading the story from the very beginning.
  4. Also, if a student read more than one sentence, the bell is rang , and that student had to start at the beginning of the story.

The goal for students is to get through the story from start to finish without the bell being rung. But each time the students have to restart at the beginning the classes is hearing extra repetitions of the story. Students are actively following along with the reading because they don’t want to be the one that makes the class restart. However, being typical students, you know that at some point, a student is going to lose track of where they are and… DING! Start again.

A good text might have a lot of semi-colons, dialogue, and interjections within a sentence. This leads to some students stopping too soon or reading too much. Ding! Start again.

Now, if the class is rather far along in the story, and you’ve already had a lot of dings and have repeated the first part of the story a lot, you can decide to “fast forward” and instruct the student to start reading at a farther paragraph. If you have a long text, you may want to implement this, if you have a shorter text, maybe not.


  1. Have the student call on the next person to read. This creates a bit more unpredictability rather than going down the line and keeps all students on their toes. Also allows for greater chance of dings.
    1. They have 2 seconds to call on a classmate, or- DING! Start again.
    2. They can’t call on someone whose already read, or- DING! Start again.
  2. Getting bored of having students read normally? Ring the bell and call out a new tone- read sarcastically, read sadly, read happily, read excitedly. Students not reading with proper tone? Ding! Start again.
  3. Throw in a little chance. As students as reading, use some type of spinner or dice to determine if they keep going or need to re-start. For example, on, click “Modify Wheel” and type in your own options, for example:

-Start from beginning of story
-Keep Reading
-Start from beginning of current paragraph
-Keep Reading
-Re-read last sentence
-Keep Reading
Then click to spin and let the spinner decide the fate!

Don’t have a classroom bell or buzzer? Find a youtube audio to play, such as Wrong Buzzer Sound Effect, or Ding sound effect.

Have other variations? Know of any other online ‘spinner’s?  Share in the comments below!

About SpanishPlans

Spanish Educator, with focus on acquisition Educator Enthusiast I love learning about and sharing culture.
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