This month the highlighted website is www.colorincolorado.org. Here I will focus on only a small section which will be devoted to language arts and vocabulary. I will discuss the overall layout of some of the sources, but I would encourage you to find your key interest and grade level then explore away!
Capitalizing on Similarities and Differences between Spanish and English
If you really want your Spanish-speaking students to grow in confidence in using English, spend time incorporating the use of cognates in your lessons. What does a cognate look like? Here are some examples: nacion/nation, biologia/biology, familia/family, radio/radio, clase/class, etc.
False cognates are also covered here such as: embarazada(pregnant)/embarrassed, sopa (soup)/soap, pie (foot)/pie, etc.
When you build on what they know, you build up self-confidence in learning a new language. By the way, cognates come from the Romance Language Family so your Portuguese, Italian, French students will also benefit from its use in class.
This site offers suggestions on how to implement their use within your lessons. I bring them into my lessons whenever I see them in the material I am using. I then have them copy them in the vocabulary section of their binders for their own reference both in class and when at home.
You will also find a list of very common cognates that you can download (PDF).
Reading 101 for English Language Learners
This article not only contains a definition of what reading is (and is not), but also why each component of the reading process is crucial to master so that reading can occur. The reading process must include PHONEMIC AWARENESS, PHONICS, VOCABULARY, FLUENCY, and COMPREHENSION.
Further, the article addresses challenges ELLs face along with strategies to address those challenges. Though you may be familiar with most of them, it is still a good refresher on what to watch for and address when it surfaces. This is the major reason why I go to conferences regularly and blog often to keep my finger on the pulse of what is new in this area since my ELLs come with major gaps in their educational backgrounds and I want to be in a position to strengthen their “academic experience foundation.”
Reading in Upper Elementary, Middle, and High School
What I like most about this link is that it offers lots of reading, literacy, and vocabulary tips for grades 6 and beyond. They would be ideal for teachers new to working with this population because they are written in teacher-friendly language which of course makes them easy to follow☺ Each block of information leads to other links (should you wish to go there---pick the ones that most interest you and check out the others when you see fit).
Check out very practical suggestions for motivating the most resistant reader to open a book in the following article:
Hooking Reluctant Readers
By: Bobbi Ciriza Houtchens (2000)
This site would be great for a new teacher struggling over what words to teach, how many words, and how to teach them. Too often, teachers just go to the boldface words in a text. They should read the text themselves and look for words your ELLs may not know OR may not be familiar with the intended meaning of the word within the context of the lesson that they are about to read.
I have had my beginners label things in my room and the labels stay up there all year since new students arrive throughout the year. I also only present vocabulary in context. After all, that is how all of us remember vocabulary words.
Reading in Second and Third Grades
In these grades, students are still trying to derive meaning from print. Though this is not a level I personally have ever taught, I have worked with teachers over many years who loved this level. Maybe it was the excitement their students exhibited about learning.
Teachers need to regularly assess ELLs in 4 areas here: basic decoding skills in English or in their primary language, word knowledge in English (vocabulary), prosody (their intonation, pronunciation of words, stress, pitch, and smoothness), and basic comprehension skills (rereading, self-correction, thinking about meaning). From Colorin Colorado. Again, this site supplies you with many assessment techniques, teaching strategies. Explore the many features of the site and share your findings with colleagues!
Reading in First Grade
If ELLs are to experience success with reading, they need to be able to distinguish between the different sounds of oral language to eventually be able to read words on the page. They need to know the alphabet, sound-symbol relationships, etc. Hopefully they are from homes where people read on a regular basis. If this is the case, they know that the printed word carries meaning. If not, the teacher must fill in the gaps.
If this is the grade level you teach, poke around and explore. I can’t begin to tell you how much information is here and I have been using it for at least 5 years!
Reading in Kindergarten
Pre-reading skills are addressed here. What do you cover? Vocabulary development, phonemic awareness, knowledge of the alphabet, letter-sound correlation, concepts of print, listening comprehension, decoding, and comprehension skills are the major skills that must be addressed. It may sound overwhelming, but surprisingly enough the ELD standards at this level are almost the same as the ELA ones. It seems that everyone is developing English at this grade.
Preparing ELLs to be 21st-Century Learners
Are you preparing your ELLs for the 21st century? Technology and reading must be showcased in the classroom in any way possible.
What will our ELLs face in their adult lives? Look at this YouTube video and be amazed!
This section applies across all grade levels. Ask yourself what you are doing to make technology available to your students in your day-to-day lessons? Where would you like to improve in delivering technology?
I started mine on email and Google Docs and it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I have a new action plan in the fall so that I don’t lose any time. What I did this semester was send all internet assignment links via email. It saved LOTS of time since kids didn’t have to type the links on their own.
Start simple and grow as ELLs master each step.
This was a new discovery for me. It offers web resources arranged alphabetically, by audience, by STATE (find your state and click on it), by topic, and by type of organization.
Teaching English Language Learners to Read
Colorin Colorado has quite a few incredible webcasts on ELL issues. I saved the best for last here. It is a webcast on Teaching English Language Learners to Read.
The academic discussion covers all aspects of the reading process and what teachers can do to facilitate the process.
You can print out the powerpoint as well as the transcript.
There are also free downloadable resources to go along with it.
The links of Recommended Resources offer additional support to assist teachers in the process. You can print them out or store them on your laptop.
I hope you enjoy this month’s pick:)
Denise, Cheryl, and Marnie