While most students want to be able to read an authentic text such as a real newspaper article, even very advanced level learners can find reading it in the limited time given in class a challenge. Some students, therefore, wonder why the teacher doesn’t give difficult texts for homework when students have more time to read it slowly or just give easier texts. But reading slowly with a dictionary at home is not the best way of learning good reading skills. Even if your students don’t have a special reason to read in English, there are good reasons for using difficult authentic texts in class occasionally. Some of them are listed here.
Using a difficult real life English text in class can be a good way of training students to use special reading skills such as ignoring the parts that are not important, guessing the meaning of words from context, skimming and scanning quickly for the important parts, reading for general understanding, and increasing reading speed.
An achievement/ motivation
Finishing a difficult text for the first time can be a great way of showing students that their English has progressed and so giving them the confidence to move up to the next level.
Reading an authentic text can also show students how much they still have to learn in order to understand it more fully, and so push them to study harder to reach that level.
Some readings with difficult vocabulary can be much easier than students would think because they are about a story in the news that they know well already. These kinds of texts can also lead onto interesting classroom discussion, and make it easier for students to understand radio news on the same or similar stories.
If you can show students some sources of good English texts and also teach them how to read them in a way which makes reading easier and quicker, this should help motivate students to read English more frequently outside class.
Real life reading survival skills
If students will ever need to read real English texts for their studies, a visa application, to communicate with a pen friend or to read something on the internet that is not available in their own language, they will need preparation for this by using the reading skills you can show them in class.