Nigel J. Ross

News Reports: Walls of Building Blocks

Radio and TV news items are regularly used in the language classroom nowadays. Since they are such useful sources of lesson material, it is worth taking a closer look at them. Specific uses of tenses can be identified, particularly in the first sentences, and tense shifts can be noted as the items develop. The whole structure of a news item can be compared to a 'wall of building blocks' since a story is gradually 'built up', rather than following a linear or chronological order. The use of repetition, synonyms and explanations is a consequence of this kind of structure. Numerous examples are given of how this works in practice. Some brief suggestions of how to exploit news reports in the classroom conclude the article.

published in Modern English Teacher (Vol 3/3, July 1994), Macmillan, London.

   full article available online: News Reports - Walls of Building Blocks

Publisher's details

Modern English Teacher
(editor: Thérèse Tobin)
published by Pearson Education Ltd. and distributed by Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Modern English Teacher, PO Box 5141, London W4 2WQ, England
website: Online MET




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