1. Choose a short passage that’s appropriate to the level of your students. The passage can come from any source, or you may write your own. Before bringing it to class, read it aloud to yourself at a normal pace to make sure it takes no more than one minute to read.
2. On the board, write the symbols that are on the buttons on a CD player. Include the symbols that mean “play," “pause," and “rewind." Ask the students what each of the symbols means to make sure they know those vocabulary words.
3. Explain that you will be a “human CD player." Tell the students that you are going to read a passage, and that they must write down everything you say. Explain that if they can’t keep up in writing, they will have to tell you to pause and to rewind to the last word they wrote.
4. Read the passage at normal speed (slightly slower for lower level students, and slightly faster for higher level students). Generally, students will only be able to write a few words before they need to tell you to go back and read it again. Continue reading the passage in this way until all of the students have written it down.
5. For higher level students, review the words for different punctuation marks before reading the passage. Tell the students they must use correct punctuation in their writing. As you read the passage, say the punctuation as you go. For example, the sentence, “David didn’t have any money, so he stayed home." will sound like, “David didn’t have any money comma so he stayed home period."
6. When all the students have copied down the passage, have them work with partners or in small groups to compare what they have written. Circulate through the groups to check their work and answer questions.
7. Call on different students to dictate what they have written to you, and write it on the board. Have the students read as quickly as they can, and tell them to pause and go back as necessary. Ask the students to check their work with what’s on the board. Make any necessary corrections and answer vocabulary questions. You can also ask some comprehension questions to check their understanding.
8. For a variation on this activity that will give students some pronunciation practice, begin reading the passage yourself to model how to be a “human CD player." Then call on students to continue reading the passage, with the other students telling them to pause and rewind as necessary.