An ELT Glossary : Jumbled text activities

In a jumbled text activity, learners see sections of a text - eg the paragraphs or the individual sentences - out of order, and have to reconstruct it by putting the sections in a logical order, eg by noting indicators of cohesion and coherence, or by making logical inferences based on their knowledge of the world. For example, to reconstruct ...

  1. He sat down and picked up a magazine.
  2. John walked into the waiting room.
...they would need to understand :
  • that He refers anaphorically to John
  • that in the waiting room is elided but understood after He sat down, 
  • that John can sit down after walking in but not vice versa, 
  • that magazines  are often found in waiting rooms etc. 
so that sentence 2 must logically come before sentence 1.

Jumbled text activities can therefore be used in the classroom to practise various comprehension subskills.

NB : Not to be confused with Jigsaw Activities