Guided Reading with Justin Bieber

Texts can come in many different forms: books, newspapers, magazines, film clips, animations and music. Giving children a mix can be a great way to improve a range of reading skills.

I have previously blogged about how music can be used to practise comprehension skills and you can read the blog here - http://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/more-guided-reading-through-music-dj.html

While I would encourage you to use these ideas and lessons, I think it is important to make sure you have a balance between these shorter texts and longer whole stories.

My work with John Murray has certainly inspired these posts, so please check his website out and also look at the READWRITEPERFORM resources for more of these ideas and strategies to teaching English.

So love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is one of the biggest stars on the planet, he has dominated the charts in 2016.

Having listened to his latest songs, I had some great ideas for developing comprehension skills. Unfortunately, out of the two songs: Let Me Love You and Cold Water, I am only going to focus on Let Me Love You. Although there is plenty to discuss in the song Cold Water, the first lyric 'Everybody gets high sometimes, you know,' is something that I wouldn't want to try and explain with my class 😬.

So is a lyric video to Let Me Love You:


Here are the lyrics with some suggested questions:

I used to believe
We were burnin' on the edge of somethin' beautiful
Somethin' beautiful
Selling a dream
Smoke and mirrors keep us waitin' on a miracle
On a miracle

  •  Who is Justin singing to? How do you know? His girlfriend (use of words like 'we') 
  • What is he trying to do by singing this song? Stop the girl from breaking up with him
  • Why do you think he has chosen the word burning? What could we infer about their relationship? Fiery, possible arguments
  • What do you think he means by 'something beautiful?' A perfect relationship
  • Why does he repeat that phrase? For emphasis and longing to have it.
  • Why does he say they were on the edge? To show how close they were to the perfect relationship.
  • What is the dream? The loving relationship he craves
  • Why does he use the verb selling? As it is something he has had to persuade and convince his partner with
  • What does the metaphor 'smoke and mirrors' mean? It is a phrase meaning to obscure the truth so lies and deceit are making things seem fine. 
  • Why has Justin chosen the word miracle? On a scale of 1-5, how powerful is this word choice? Miracles are very very rare so he is saying it is extremely unlikely the relationship can be saved.



Say, go through the darkest of days
Heaven's a heartbreak away
Never let you go, never let me down
Oh, it's been a hell of a ride
Driving the edge of a knife
Never let you go, never let me down
Don't you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won't give up, nah-nah-nah
Let me love you
Let me love you
Don't you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won't give up, nah-nah-nah
Let me love you
Let me love you
Oh baby, baby
  • What does Justin mean by going through the 'darkest of days'? He recognises that there will also be good times and bad in a relationship and that is normal.
  • What is Justin inferring when he says Heaven's a heartbreak away? That it would literally kill him if the relationship would end. 
  • How do you know Justin has enjoyed the relationship? He compares it to a ride, like a fairground ride which has ups and downs but is thrilling and enjoyable.
  • What does the idiom 'on a knife edge' mean? You are in a very difficult situation that could go either way.
  • What does Justin need from his partner? He is willing to keep the relationship going but needs her to commit too.
  • What effect does nah-nah-nah have? It is like saying no no no, I won't give up
  • Why does he repeat the chorus 'Let me love you?' For emphasis, almost begging to keep the relationship alive.


Don't fall asleep
At the wheel, we've got a million miles ahead of us
Miles ahead of us
All that we need
Is a rude awakening to know we're good enough
Know we're good enough
  • Why has Justin used an analogy of falling asleep at the wheel? When people do that it can be very dangerous and possibly cause the end of someone's life like it will cause the end of his relationship.
  • How long does Justin want to stay with his partner? A long time
  • How do you know? They have a million miles ahead of them.
  • Who is in control of the relationship? His partner
  • How do you know? She is driving, she is at the wheel
  • What does Justin need to happen? His partner to realise that the relationship is worth saving
  • Does Justin think it is worth saving? Yes, he repeats the phrase 'know we're good enough'

Say go through the darkest of days
Heaven's a heartbreak away
Never let you go, never let me down
Oh it's been a hell of a ride
Driving the edge of a knife
Never let you go, never let me down
Don't you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won't give up, nah-nah-nah
Let me love you
Let me love you
Don't you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won't give up, nah-nah-nah
Let me love you
Let me love you
Oh baby, baby
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go (oh no no no no)
Never let you go (yeah yeah)
I'll never let you go
Don't you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won't give up, nah-nah-nah
Let me love you
Let me love you
Don't you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won't give up, nah-nah-nah
Let me love you
Let me love you
The second half of the song is a repeat of the first, here you can talk about the impact of repetition, although with this amount of repetition, could this be seen more like desperation?

  •  Do you think this song works? 
  • Do you think he manages to convince his partner to carry on the relationship? Why?
I hope you find these ideas useful! If anything, it gives you the perfect excuse to listening to an absolute tune in the classroom! 

Comments

  1. Really interesting, it is great that you are using pop culture and alternative mediums to get students engaged with comprehension, not only does it help them focus but allows them to see the real world applications of what they are studying. It is so important to look at comprehension outside of just books to songs and news articles and particularly advertisements, they make up so much of our life and it is good to see how they shape our decisions, very interesting use of language and technology.

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